If we could, many of us would choose to lie in bed most of the morning and have an easy, breezy start to the day. But life doesn’t exactly work like that. We’ve got work, education, kids, or chores to take care of when the day begins.
It’s not fun, however, to start the day feeling groggy, hungry, sore, and generally a bit grouchy.
You’ll have to make a few necessary changes in order to begin your morning on the right note. Otherwise, the cycle just keeps getting worse and worse.
There are several easy methods, backed by science, that can help give us a pep in our step when we wake up and ensure we don’t spend the entire day feeling sleepy and unmotivated. Use these five morning hacks for the best productivity:
Top 5 Morning Hacks
1. Plan your next day before you sleep
Going to bed with at least a few things already solved will help your mind relax while you sleep. It’s also the first one of the morning hacks that will ensure a productive day tomorrow.
These could be simple steps such as tidying up the trash and any dishes, preparing lunch for you and your family if necessary, ensuring you’ve selected your outfit already, and even getting your gym gear ready so that it’s easier to feel motivated.
It’s also worth trying to relax your body and mind before bed, such as doing some yoga stretches and meditation.
Avoid reading the news on your phone or checking social media, as it’s better to read a book or listen to a podcast, for example. Make sure your eyes are avoiding light from a computer, laptop, or smartphone screen.
This is because technology before sleeping is a bad habit, as it makes your head start more engaged and active, suppresses melatonin (the chemical that helps you fall asleep) because of the blue light emitted from the screen, and generally postpones a fitful REM sleep.
2. Wake up your body with stretches
Many of us believe a brisk walk to the coffee machine and the bathroom is good enough for a morning exercise after waking up, but our bodies need much more to work effectively throughout the day.
Anyone with a dog has a big advantage of getting that great morning walk (other than the unwavering love and affection from a canine) before your day officially starts. This assists with warming up our muscles and awakening our minds before the use of any caffeine drinks. But really, anything that gets us out of the house is helpful.
Ideally, before breakfast, try to perform some light stretches and yoga poses. That will help your body realign and loosen muscles, move body fluid into the right positions, improve the blood flow and generally decrease stress before the daily tasks.
Physical therapist, Nicholas Licameli, explains the role and importance of stretching in the morning:
“Stretching can be a great way to center and prepare yourself physically and mentally before the rush of the day,” he says. “We wake up, jump out of bed, rush to the shower, frantically get dressed, and grab a cup of coffee as we run out the door. Add in a stressful commute, sandwiching a hectic work day, and we can see how it is so easy to neglect rest and recovery.”
3. Make your bathroom time feel special
Anyone who takes a shower every morning knows that this is a blissful time in the day, and certainly one that should ideally last much longer!
You’re all alone, free from distractions, and have just your own thoughts for a while.
It’s no coincidence that shower time is when we come up with good ideas and make decisions we’ve been wrestling with. That’s because a nice shower can release dopamine and initiate creative sections of our brains.
Some prefer cold showers – one of the ultimate morning hacks – to help them wake up even more. They are also said to help reduce dry skin, increase circulation, and reduce muscle soreness.
It’s fair to say that hot shower is often preferred, but a minute of cold water at the end of your shower is a decent compromise! This should also be your time to feel pampered and have a spa-like experience.
Use these brief minutes to awaken your senses and revitalize yourself for the day ahead: Get a soap with a mountain fresh scent that makes you feel clean and reinvigorated, grab a fluffy towel when you get out, and play calming music to really get the most out of a morning shower.
4. Give your body the right fuel
If you’re the type of person who grabs a cup of coffee and a few biscuits for breakfast before flying out the door, then you’re not giving yourself a good start to the morning.
Your body needs the right nutrition for the day. But even if you can’t get into the idea of cereal or toast in the morning, try a fruit or veggie smoothie.
These are packed full of vitamins and minerals that will help you think better, improve your mood and energy, and stave off hunger pains later in the day so you’re not always relying on sugary snacks and caffeine drinks to power you through.
Eating in the morning has so many advantages that are backed by research, so get something healthy and filling so that your body and mind receive the benefits later on.
5. Something to focus on in the evening
Life is always better when you’ve got something to look forward to. A lot of research has been done on how anticipation creates strong emotions and helps us get through tough situations.
If you know you have a lot of difficult tasks in the day, it’s somehow more manageable if there’s a fancy dinner, cinema date, concert, etc. to look forward to in the evening.
So the last one of the morning hacks on our list is to create more plans for yourself. Even if it’s just having your favorite meal or continuing a TV series, as the mind needs something good to see in the future.
Complete all those morning hacks and you should have great productivity and a good mood every day.