Making the Most Out of Your Mornings
Some of us are morning people, and others just aren’t. But regardless of whether this is your favourite – or least favourite – time of day, mornings are pivotal. How we approach our mornings has huge implications for our overall life satisfaction and ability to get things done.
Even if you’re the type to gleefully leap out of bed each morning, you might not be making the most of your early hours. To get you feeling more motivated and accomplished than ever, here are our top tips for getting each day off to the best start possible.
Go to sleep earlier
No surprises here; the prep for a more productive morning starts the night before. Studies indicate that the ideal sleep time for most adults lies somewhere between seven and nine hours. If you’re frequently falling that and get six hours sleep or less, there’s no doubt that this is affecting your morning productivity, and that means it’s time to overhaul your routine.
Gradually turn in a little earlier each night, until you’re in a cycle where you’ve enough time under the duvet to get your seven hours. If you find you have problems getting comfortable when you do head to bed, it might be time to consider a mattress topper or new pillows; particularly those suited to your usual sleeping position. You should also avoid staring at bright screens in the hour before bedtime, and steer clear of caffeine from the afternoon onwards.
Wake with natural light
You probably have that one friend who swears by leaving the blinds open and waking up naturally. And in their defence, the science tends to agree with them.
By getting sunlight first thing on a morning, your level of melatonin decreases while serotonin increases – the former reducing that ‘dazed and sleepy’ feeling while the latter improves mood and demeanour.
Of course, in our corner of the world, the time at which the sun rises varies greatly. That probably means you don’t want to be leaving your curtains open for an unwelcome 4am wake-up at the height of summer. Instead, simply make sure pulling open the curtains or raising the blinds is the first thing you do on a morning.
Don’t press snooze
Of course, this is so much easier said than done, but so long as you’ve got your eight hours, repeatedly hitting that snooze button isn’t doing anything for you. In fact, it’s squeezing the time you’ve got to get ready, trapping you in a cycle of constant rushing each morning. This is extremely counter-productive, and the stress that comes with this gets your mental state off to its worst possible start.
Instead, set your alarm for a time where you’ll get a good amount of sleep, but can take the AM routine at a much more manageable pace. The first time you hear that beep you’ll have to be strict with yourself – it’s not easy but it’s genuinely rewarding.
Ignore the news (for now)
It’s only natural to wake from your slumber and want to get straight back in the loop. We live an increasingly connected world, and not feeling up to date with what’s going on around us can feel very unusual nowadays.
But if you can, save the news for later in the day. The unfortunate reality is that much of what you’re likely to read on your phone first-thing won’t be positive. The first hour of the day is crucial when it comes to setting up a positive and motivational mindset, and reading any unsettling news could impede this.
Eat, exercise, or do both
It’s often said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Either way, breaking your fast is important for getting an energy boost, and a hungry person is almost never a happy one.
Everyone’s different, but usually it’s high-protein, high-fibre foods that make for the best breakfasts. How much you choose to eat depends on your appetite, and only you know how much you need to get yourself going for the day.
Similarly, exercising on a morning is the perfect way to prepare yourself for what lies ahead. We hardly need to explain the health benefits an extra 30 – 60 minute fitness session could bring if done three or four mornings a week, but the knock-on effects for mental wellbeing and motivation throughout the day are stark. And you don’t necessarily have to get out of breath; a 2014 study showed a simple walk can bolster creativity.
Boost your morning routine with a better night’s sleep, courtesy of Bensons for Beds, the nation’s favourite bed specialist.