Get Up on The Right Side of the Bed
By Sean Smith, MA, LSW, LICDC-CS
Who got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning? Did you feel lethargic and grumpy? Are your obligations today daunting? Were you irritable, and saying to yourself that you would rather just stay in bed? Inevitably, we all have the experience at times of starting the day off with a negative outlook. While we often just accept that we are going to have a bad day and trudge forward with a dark outlook, there are some simple things that we can do to brighten things up.
Wake up on the first alarm. Despite how we feel when the alarm goes off in the morning, the snooze feature on our clock or phone is not really doing us any good. The 8 minutes of “sleep” you gain is actually not restful sleep. In fact, this extra sleep actually is harmful, as it disrupts your natural sleep cycles and can result in feeling groggy throughout the day and leads to less productivity. The best way to get that extra little bit of sleep – go to bed 30 minutes earlier the night before. Tacking on the extra sleep at the beginning of your sleep cycle will result in feeling more rested in the morning.
Skip the morning cup of coffee. Coffee, for many, is essential to the morning routine. And yes, it does create a wonderful aroma and gives a boost of caffeine energy that we often rely on. But, a morning cup of coffee may actually be counterproductive. Our bodies create a naturally energy burst in the morning, through a hormone called cortisol. This hormone is part of our circadian clock, which helps wake us up in the morning and wind us down at night. Cortisol, which typically spikes three times a day, is at his highest production in the morning hours. Drinking caffeine during the morning spike tends to interfere with the production, and over time our body then produces less of the hormone and relies more on the caffeine. Instead, try warm lemon water. It has far less sugar and calories than coffee. It boosts our immune system, provides a huge amount of Vitamin C, and helps with digestion. Caffeine acts as a diuretic, while lemon water hydrates us.
Eat breakfast. We have all heard that this is the most important meal of the day, but so often we skip this meal. Eating a healthy breakfast, foods containing protein and whole grains, is the foundation of many benefits. We consume essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, we experience more strength and endurance, we lower our cholesterol levels, and we have improved concentration throughout the day. Studies show that eating a healthy breakfast actually promotes weight loss by boosting our metabolism which leads to burning more calories during the day. And, eating a healthy breakfast improves our mood and energy level.
So get rid of the grumpy, negative, sleepy-eyed morning. Instead, make these few simple changes and not only will you start your day out from the right side of the bed, you may surprise yourself with longer-lasting, unexpected benefits that improve your overall health and wealth. Now that is worth waking up excited for!