Our alarm goes off and we hit the snooze button. That happens a few more times. Then with no time to waste, we leap out of bed, dash into the shower, fly out of the house wearing a wrinkled shirt and grab a quick coffee on our way to work. Basically, we live every morning as if it were “Groundhog Day,” always promising ourselves we’ll do it differently tomorrow.
Though this kind of morning routine affords a couple of extra blinks of sleep, many in the medical field insist that beginning the day under such stress is just not healthy. It sets a chaotic tone, inviting further stress as the hours progress, and completely undermines any good the extra rest may have provided.
But there are a number of things we can learn from those of us who have our stuff together to rewrite our morning routine almost entirely. We partnered with Tropicana to bring you the healthy person’s guide to starting the day right.
1. They set a sleep schedule and stick to it
Eradicate some of the chaos by setting a bedtime and sticking to it. It may seem like a funny thing for adults, but it’s incredibly important. Our bodies get out of whack if we go to sleep at 10 p.m. one night and midnight another. It’s an energy-drainer, so set a bedtime and do your best to stick with it. It’s surprising how quickly a new routine will stick.
2. They wake up early -- as early as 6 a.m. Provide yourself with enough time to accomplish your morning goals and this will change the entire rhythm of your day. And knocking out a few small, easy things in the morning -- like making your bed as soon as you get up -- helps to build your momentum to accomplish things throughout the day.
3. They drink a lot of water
You haven’t had anything to drink since last night, so it’s good to rehydrate yourself. The water fires up your metabolism.
“You never want your pee to be dark yellow,” says personal trainer and marathon runner Angie Knudson, 34. “That means you’re dehydrated. Water helps to regulate sodium levels in the body.”
4. They exercise before the day gets going Morning exercise will provide a reliable boost of energy, and even a light workout delivers a sense of accomplishment. “Things accumulate,” says Alfred Gallegos, 28, a personal trainer based in California In the morning, there’s no excuses, and you don’t have the same energy level for exercise at the end of the day.”
5. They eat a hearty, balanced breakfast Give your body the energy it needs to get through an active day. “I eat eight egg whites with spinach, kale, tomato and avocado,” says Michael Dreishpoon, 50, who hits the gym six days a week. “There’s tons of protein in that, and good fats in the avocado.” Later, Dreishpoon will turn to a bowl of oatmeal with blueberries and grapes for carbohydrates and natural sugars.
6. They meditate There are various forms of meditation, but the morning -- just after waking up or exercising -- is the ideal time for it. Stephen Sullivan, 37, an actor in Los Angeles, engages in transcendental meditation for 20 minutes each morning. “It helps ground me, and center my emotions,” he says. “I feel a greater sense of gratitude for the day and my life in general.”
7. They read Reading in the morning can have a number of benefits, from creating space for yourself to relieving stress to even getting your brain into work mode. “It’s important to have time for yourself,” says Christian Addison, 39, a police sergeant in New York who wakes up 90 minutes before his kids do and incorporates reading into his morning routine. “It helps you take on the day.”
8. They write in a journal (really!) There are a number of benefits to keeping a journal, but writing in one each morning will help spark your creativity, while strengthening your self-discipline and confidence, which you can take with you throughout the day.
9. They listen to music Music lights up the brain. Get your mind into a positive place with something upbeat and uplifting on the way to work.
10. They tell someone “I love you” Showing your gratitude and telling someone you love them daily can have powerful health benefits. Not to mention the fact that a little love, whether romantic or even just between friends, helps to ease stress and put the rest of the day on the right path.