Nurses and other medical professionals are always reminding us of the importance of a good night’s sleep. There’s simply no substitute for the deep physical and mental refreshment that comes with 7 to 8 hours of quality rest. However, what about waking up in the morning? The reality is, getting a good night’s sleep is only one aspect of starting your day on a healthy note. What we do after we wake up is also important. Here are five morning habits that have real and documented health benefits that will stay with you throughout the day.
1. Get up right away
We all know how tempting it can be to hit that snooze button just one more time. However, recent research has shown that snoozing may not actually be good for us. Instead of sending our bodies a clear message that it’s time to wake up, we linger in a sleepy state. This sends our brains back into the sleep cycle, and makes us feel much more groggy when we do finally get out of bed.
2. Drink a glass of water
There are many great health benefits to making water your first and beverage of choice in the morning. After a good night’s rest, a tall glass of good drinking water will cleanse your body’s internal organs and lymphatic system. It will help your digestive system eliminate toxins, cleanse your skin, boost metabolism, and stimulate the circulatory system to create new blood cells. Translation? You’ll feel tangibly better throughout the day if you drink a tall 16 ounce glass of water soon after waking.
If you get a good night’s sleep, your body’s muscles have been dormant for 7-8 hours. As we all know, this can lead to some stiffness and soreness in the morning. Many people are so eager to get on with their daily routine that they neglect to take care of their muscles and prepare them for the day’s activity. Taking a few minutes to do some stretches, and even some light exercise (such as rebounding or jumping jacks) to boost circulation will pay off big as the day progresses. You’ll feel more balanced, relaxed, and better able to focus on the various tasks in front of you.
4. Limit your caffeine intake
There’s nothing like a fresh cup of coffee in the morning, or a good strong cup of tea. However, drinking caffeine too soon upon waking, or drinking too much of it, can actually interfere with the body’s ability to wake up naturally. There is a natural stress hormone called cortisol, which helps us shift into the daylight hours, and a quick shot of caffeine in the morning can lower the body’s production of cortisol and cause to become more dependent on the caffeine rush. Coffee in particular can also have a dehydrating and anxiety inducing effect. That’s not to say you shouldn’t have your coffee or tea in the morning, but do so in moderation, and only after you’ve allowed yourself to wake up naturally.
Getting a better start to your day
It’s difficult to say how many visits to urgent care centers and other medical facilities could be avoided if we put more focus on getting a healthy start to each new day. By putting these four habits into practice, you’ll improve your overall health and wellness. Many people also report a decrease in stress levels and an increase in productivity once they change up their morning routine.