Tips to do mornings better

Six ways to do mornings better

Words: Melanie Dimmitt

Not everyone is a morning person. In fact, there’s a strong argument from the science community that we are biologically engineered not to rise and shine. Our stress hormone, cortisol, peaks between 7 and 8am, while a little something called ‘negative bias’ also likes to kick in come the early hours – causing us to dwell on our looming commute, unfinished tasks or that god-awful thing we wish we hadn’t promised to do – making mornings prime time to feel anxious. Done right, however, our morning routine can set us in darn good stead for the hours ahead and do wonders for our general wellbeing. Ready to seize the day? Here are six sure-fire ways to take back your mornings.

  1. GET ORGANISED

Decision-making is stressful, so see that your next day’s outfit (and ironing, if required) is sorted the night before. The same goes for breakfast and lunch preparation – have it all bought, packed and ready to go. Then try and hit the pillow at around the same time each night. This keeps your circadian rhythm in check and, according to a recent UK study, is likely to make you healthier and more successful, too.

  1. DON’T SNOOZE

Sorry… but those extra ten minutes will cost you. Sending yourself back to sleep only to be jolted awake causes sleep inertia – or brain fog – which can linger into your day for two to four hours. Try beating your alarm to the punch by going to sleep with your curtains or blinds partially open. Sunlight tells your brain to slow its production of melatonin and up its production of adrenaline, naturally signalling that it’s time to wake up.

  1. START SCREEN-FREE

… for at least the first few minutes of your day. Thrive Global founder Arianna Huffington recommends putting your phone ‘to bed’ in a separate room and investing in a good old-fashioned alarm clock – and even once you’re up and at ‘em, it’s best to leave your stress-inducing news and social feeds for later in the day. Put your head in a positive space by meditating or turning over a few pages of a real, paper-and-ink book (remember those?).

  1. CUDDLE YOUR BELOVEDS

Believe it or not, snuggling up with your significant others has mutual psychological benefits. The secret lies in the human touch itself, with research showing that our intimate exchanges are associated with a drop in cortisol and the release of oxytocin – those warm, fuzzy feels. Flying solo? It might be time to invest in a furry friend. Cuddling with a pet has been shown to have much the same effect.

  1. EAT BREAKFAST

At the risk of sounding like your mother, it’s the most important meal of the day for a reason. Eating immediately raises your body’s energy stores and returns your blood glucose level to normal after fasting overnight, whereas skipping meals causes exhaustion, which brings on anxiety and a bunch of other health gripes. Time poor, you say? It takes mere minutes to smear something on toast (hint: avocados are a natural stress reliever).

  1. DO SOME EXERCISE

Why not put those peaking hormones to use and get moving in the morning? Starting the day with exercise is proven to make you more productive (just ask Vogue editor Anna Wintour, who hits the tennis court at 6am sharp). You’ll also sleep better than evening exercisers – and you get to go about your day in the smug knowledge that you’ve done something good for yourself. Well done you.