Don’t use your phone as an alarm clock
More than half of us use smartphones to wake us up, but reaching for them first thing usually means we start our day checking emails and messages. While seemingly harmless, this can raise our alertness and stress levels with spikes in cortisol and adrenaline. This can reduce our daytime energy. Having a period of detachment from phones can be a healthy thing. Leave yours in another room and invest in an old-fashioned alarm clock for a less stressful morning.
Lose the snooze
Do you set your alarm for half an hour earlier than you need to, then hit snooze three times before finally getting up? Bad idea. You end up cheating yourself of 30 minutes of restorative sleep as you slip in and out of light and poor quality sleep. As a result, you’ll end up feeling more tired in the day.
Set your alarm clock for when you need to wake up and pop the clock on the other side of the room so you have to get up to turn it off. Chances are you won’t sneak back into bed after that.
Don’t use toothpaste
A trial published in The Journal of the American Dental Association found that volunteers who first brushed their teeth with a dry toothbrush (followed by a session with toothpaste) had a 63 per cent reduction in plaque and a 55 per cent reduction in bleeding gums. “Bristles tend to be stiffer when dry and hence they remove more plaque,” explains dentist Dr Stephen Pitt. Plus, you’re more likely to keep brushing for longer with a dry brush because you can feel when teeth surfaces are clean with your tongue. When you use toothpaste, your mouth feels minty quickly, so you may stop brushing before plaque is removed. With a dry brush, you’re not restricted to the bathroom, so you can spend longer brushing as you do other morning activities. But use toothpaste for fluoride protection.
Stretch in the shower
Don’t just stand in the shower – stretch. This improves circulation and gets your lymphatic system moving – which helps get rid of toxins. The warmth of the water will help your muscles move with more ease. First, lean down and try to touch your toes. Hold for 30 seconds. Lift your arms over your head and push towards the sky. This lengthens your spine and can help improve posture.
Wake up to warm water
Drinking coffee on an empty stomach can cause heartburn, indigestion and blood sugar fluctuations which can make us irritable. What’s more, a morning coffee might not have the wake-up effect you crave.
Between 8-9 AM, our levels of cortisol (a hormone that makes us feel awake) are at a peak. Scientists have found that drinking coffee during peak periods of cortisol production diminishes the effect of caffeine and means you build up a greater tolerance to it (meaning you need more and more to feel awake in the future).
See the light
Fling open the curtains and eat your breakfast by the window. A US study found people who were exposed to even moderately bright light in the morning had a lower Body Mass Index (BMI) than those who were exposed to light later in the day. The study said not enough light in the morning may de-synchronise your internal body clock which can affect metabolism and lead to weight gain.
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