Sleep and Morning Practices
“I’m an active morning person, so a lot of these practices come naturally to me. For those of you that need a little pick-me-up when the sun is coming up, slowly implementing one at a time can make your mornings bearable…. Perhaps even enjoyable!”
The Center for Optimal Health
9 Health Mistakes You Make in the Morning
By Annie Hauser
Published Dec 16 2014 11:41 AM EST | weather.com
What Not to Do Before 9 a.m.
The time of year can have a dramatic impact on your health, not necessarily because of warmer or colder temperatures (though those matter), but largely because of your daily expsosure to sunlight.
Why? Early-morning rays hugely affect your health, to the point that morning people are more likely to say they’re happy with their lives, according to a University of Toronto survey.
Bright morning light can even make you thinner, according to a recent study from Northwestern Medicine in Chicago.
But if you’re like most Americans, you have at least one bad habit sabotaging all this morning joy and well-being. Read on to find out which mistake you’re making — and what to do instead.
You Hit Snooze
Resist the urge to shut up that alarm for just 10 more minutes, Michael Terman, Ph.D., the author of Reset Your Inner Clock and a professor of psychiatry at Columbia University, told weather.com. When you rely on your snooze button, you’re doing more harm than good to your sleep cycle because you’re fragmenting what’s left of your sleep and starting a new sleep cycle — without giving your body time to finish.
Add these factors together, and those extra minutes of ZZZs could actually be making you more tired throughout the day.
A tip: Keep your alarm out of arm’s reach. Once your feet hit the floor to go turn it off, you’re up for the day.
You Shut the Shades Tight
Getting lots of light through your windows — or turning the lights up if the sun isn’t out — is the one of the best ways to wake your body up, Terman said. Morning sun stops your body’s production of the sleep hormone melatonin, signaling that it is time to be alert and awake. Doing this at the same time, seven days a week, can really get you on a healthy sleep cycle, Terman said.
You Roll Over, and Check Your Email
In one recent survey, 78 percent of adults reported using an electronic device just before bed. But the blue light emitted by your phone disrupts your sleep cycle, Terman warned.
Waking up with your phone can be disruptive, too.
Many successful people report that they actively do not check their email first thing in the morning. Author and business consultant Julie Morgenstern, who wrote a book called Never Check Email In The Morning, told The Huffington Post that if you start your day off by responding to emails, “you’ll never recover.” She added: “Those requests and those interruptions and those unexpected surprises and those reminders and problems are endless … there is very little that cannot wait a minimum of 59 minutes.”
You Jump Out of Bed
We know, there’s a lot to do in the morning. But if you jump up without taking the time to stretch slowly — for even just a minute — you can hurt your muscles. Stretching improves your circulation and helps your muscles ease back into action after a long night of immobility. A quick stretch can also help guard your body and mind against morning stress.
You Don’t Drink Water
After seven hours of sleep or so, your body is dehydrated. Get into the habit of drinking a glass of water once you wake up in the morning to combat sluggishness, Seattle sports dietician Kim Larson, R.D.N., a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, told weather.com.
If it’s not thirst that drives you, drink water for its brain benefit — adequate hydration can help perk you up in the early a.m. “Your body will function better when you’re going to work, getting in the car, driving in traffic,” Larson said. “You’ll be able to think better and be more awake.”
You Immediately Exercise
If you exercise in the morning, that’s great. You’re more likely to stick with a workout routine than night owls, according to a new study published by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
But rolling out of bed and straight on to your local jogging path might not be the best for your body. The general consensus among nutritionists now (and this is an ongoing debate) is that having a little something before you sweat revs your metabolism and gives your brain the carbs it needs to power a solid workout, Larson said. “If you can’t tolerate a regular breakfast, like a bowl of oatmeal or yogurt and fruit, just have a little something,” Larson suggested. A banana or bit of cereal should do the trick.
You Miss Out on ‘Me’ Time
Instead of rushing out the door, set aside 10 minutes for a little time for yourself. Whether you use that time to stop by your favorite coffee shop, go for a walk, or read the paper it doesn’t matter, as long as it’s enjoyable to you. This can help you start the workday off happier and more positive toward stressful situations, one survey found.
You might also use this time to pick up around the house. One study found that getting a small task at home out of the way before you leave for the day can start you off with a positive, accomplished feeling. (Plus, there’s one less thing to do when you get home.)
You Skip Breakfast
You’ve heard it 1,000 times, but breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. “Distribute your fuel throughout the day to distribute your energy,” Larson said. “You’ll feel good and energetic.”
She added that recent studies have shown that it’s a myth that breakfast eaters end up consuming more calories than those who skip it. “In all my years of experience, [breakfast] does control calories later on,” she said. “People get hungrier at night if they skip breakfast.”
You Don’t Eat Protein
One last word on your day’s most important meal: Add a little protein to it. “To maintain lean muscle mass, we have to distribute protein throughout the day,” Larson said. “I suggest 20 and even sometimes 30 grams of protein at breakfast time.” Nut butters, eggs, cottage cheese and yogurt can help you get there.
This habit might be even more important as you age, Larson said, because protein helps prevent the muscle mass losses associated with aging.
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