Give your morning routine a makeover by incorporating these eight habits to enliven your day.
Some people have the remarkable ability to hop out of bed before sunrise perky and ready to conquer the day. For the vast majority, however, waking up without repeatedly hitting the snooze button seems like an impossible feat.
If you fall into the latter category of veterinarians who consider putting on matching shoes before leaving the house a victory, then it might be time for a morning routine makeover.
Infusing some of the eight tips below into your routine won’t require a complete overhaul of your day — and you won’t need to wake up that much earlier — but they’ll likely put more pep in your step as you prepare to meet with your first few patients.
1. Don’t drink caffeine right away.
This seems drastic, but consider the science behind this suggestion before dismissing it entirely. Research has concluded that caffeine interferes with the production of cortisol, a hormone that is a key component of the body’s natural circadian rhythm — the internal biological clock that tells your body when to wake up.
Let your body cycle through its peak release of cortisol, which happens within the first 30 to 60 minutes of being awake, and then use caffeine as an additional boost of energy.
2. Track your routine.
If you find yourself rushing to brush your teeth moments before racing out of the door most mornings, your chaotic start to the day could simply be due to poor time management. This frenzied feeling could then easily spill over into the rest of your day.
Instead, vow to spend a few days next week tracking how long it really takes for you to get ready in the morning and then plan accordingly.
3. Let in the light.
Exposure to sunlight in the morning improves alertness and energy levels. Sunlight can also affect your circadian rhythm by sending a cue that it’s time to wake up. So go ahead, open your blinds in the morning to let a bit of sunlight pour in while you get ready. Better yet, take a short walk around the block for the perfect combination of sunlight and simple exercise (see tip Number 4).
4. Get moving.
You don’t have to be the first one at spin class, but moderate physical activity in the morning could set you up for a successful day. Increasing your heart for even 15 minutes improves blood circulation and raises energy levels.
5. Plan the night before.
Eliminate decision making in the morning by creating a schedule or to-do list the night before. Take it a step further by packing your lunch and choosing the next day’s outfit before heading to bed.
You’ll find that not having to make these small decisions — like what to wear — early in the morning allows your routine to be much smoother and your mind to be much clearer so you can focus on more important tasks, such as prescribing the right treatment for your first patient.
6. Eat protein.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but only if you’re choosing the right foods. If your day begins with sugar-laden breakfast bars, this could be contributing to your feelings of lethargy or grogginess.
Instead, swap artificial preservatives for simple meals packed with proteins, such as eggs or Greek yogurt. Protein-rich foods are shown to provide a natural boost of energy and keep you feeling full longer.
7. Download the right app.
There are countless free and low-cost smartphone apps designed specifically for enhancing a typical morning routine, from recipes and to-do lists to alarm clocks and meal trackers. Here are a few to try:
8. Don’t snooze.
This may be the hardest habit to break, but it could have the most substantial impact. By hitting the snooze button when your alarm goes off you’re allowing your body to start a new sleep cycle. This causes a huge issue.
It takes approximately 90 minutes to complete the sleep cycle, but because you hit that snooze button, your alarm will go off again in 9 minutes. Many sleep experts say these interruptions will cause you to be far more tired than if you had initially woken up after the first alarm.