Three experts offer advice on how to get the day off to a good start and make the often difficult transition from asleep to awake a whole lot easier.
“Morning people” relish popping out of bed to take on the day; for others, waking up is a dreadful chore. Regardless of where you fall on the morning spectrum, your first waking moments prepare you physically, mentally, and emotionally for the coming day. The right combination of sleep, sunlight, exercise, and diet can help mornings go smoothly. Here, three experts offer top ways to transition from fast asleep to wide-awake.
Dietitian, Rebecca Mohning, RD, LD, Expert Nutrition, Washington, D.C.
Water and carbs.
Start your day with about 16 ounces of water, which will hydrate and energize you after a night’s sleep. If you are going to exercise, don’t eat a full meal right away. Instead, have about six ounces of juice, half a banana, toast, or another food that amounts to 15 grams of carbohydrates (the equivalent of 60 calories). After exercising, eat food both rich in carbohydrates and loaded with fiber, such as whole-grain cold cereal or oatmeal with fruit.
Remember the protein.
If you exercise, the recovery meal should include 4 grams of carbohydrates to 1 gram of protein. Thus, a good recovery beverage is chocolate milk. At breakfast include a protein food like Greek yogurt, eggs, peanut butter, or tofu.
Don’t take supplements with coffee.
Vitamin and mineral supplements are effective at any time of the day when taken with food. However, coffee and tea, which you might drink in the morning, contain tannins that can block absorption of some nutrients, so avoid taking supplements with those beverages.
Yoga expert, Vaidya Mishra, founder and Ayurvedic educator, Adishakti LLC, Chatsworth, Calif.
Wake up an hour and a half before sunrise.
Nature’s energy is uplifting about 90 minutes before the sun comes up, according to ancient Ayurvedic texts. The Sanskrit name for this time of day is “Brahma murat,” meaning “the auspicious time when creative energy flows.” Connect with this predawn energy and meditate, write, or prepare for the day.
Exercise (but not too vigorously).
Tailor your morning workout to how you feel that day, as opposed to exercising for a specific length of time or number of repetitions. Be sure you can breathe through your nose while exercising. If you have to use your mouth, the exercise is probably too vigorous for the morning.
Practice good personal care.
At night, toxins deposit on the tongue. Scraping the tongue helps to enhance the taste buds, refresh the mouth, and even boost mental clarity. Also be sure to brush with toothpaste made with 100 percent edible material. Before morning exercise, apply natural oils, such as calamus, lavender, clove leaf, or sweet basil, to your skin. After exercise, a warm shower or bath is refreshing and helps wash away excess body oils and toxins.
Sleep expert, Michael Breus, PhD, Diplomate of the American Board of Sleep Medicine, Arrowhead Health, Glendale, Ariz.
Don’t hit “snooze.”
The snooze button may allow you to get a few minutes of extra sleep, but it will be poor quality sleep. You are better off setting the alarm for the latest possible time, increasing the amount of deeper, good quality sleep you get. If you tend to ignore the alarm, try placing the clock across the room or enlisting a companion’s help to wake up.
Get out of bed slowly.
When you wake up, swing your feet over and sit up, but don’t stand right away. Take five or six deep breaths to revitalize the respiratory and central nervous systems. You can also lose balance and risk falling if you hop out of bed too quickly.
Keep a regular sleep schedule.
Following a schedule is a critical component in a healthy lifestyle. If you go to sleep and wake up consistently at the same times, it will become easier and easier to wake up.