We’ve all has those mornings, you wake up a little groggy, stumble your way to the kitchen and just can’t seem to shake off the bugs. Well, don’t worry. With a little help from neuroscience, you can get yourself out of the funk and supercharge your brain for the day ahead. No matter if you wake up at 4:00 am or get up whenever you darn well please. These 3 tips will get your morning off to the right start.
1. Drink water.
Yep, just good old-fashioned water. You see, after sleeping all night your body is dehydrated. Not middle of the desert kind of dehydrated but nonetheless we human beings are up to 60 percent water and we need it. The cells in your body are mostly water too, and your brain? It’s over 73% water. And water does a lot. It helps flush away waste, regulates your temperature and helps the cells of your body and brain grow and survive. Water is also necessary for things like making neurotransmitters and hormone, which influence everything your brain does. Research has confirmed that if you don’t drink enough water it can impair both short and long-term memory, as well as attention.1
And not everyone’s water requirements are the same. But on average, somewhere between 12 and 20 ounces is a good place to start. A good way to tell if your body is well hydrated is by looking at the color of your urine. If you’re getting enough water, it’s usually a lighter color if you’re not then your urine will be a darker yellow color. If you're urine is completely clear, you're probably drinking more than enough and can probably cut back.
If you don’t like the idea of drinking water in the morning, the good news is, coffee still does the trick.2 Although it can have a mild diuretic effect, it’s not enough to increase your risk of dehydration, especially if you drink decaf, and the water used to make coffee still counts toward your total fluid intake.3
2. Get some light.
Light is a crucial factor in regulating your circadian rhythm. When the light hits your eyes, it activates nerve pathways that from your retina to a specific part of your brain. Once it hits your brain, it then starts to spread to other areas to then regulate your temperature, your hormones and other factors that help you wake up.
If you have access to it, natural light it best but if you get up before sunrise then you can use a light-based alarm clock. These types of alarms gradually start to glow and brighten your room slowly to naturally wake you up like the sunrise.
3. Do light exercise.
You don’t have to do anything too crazy here but increasing blood flow first thing in the morning is a great way to shake out the bugs in your brain. The increase in heart rate helps to circulate oxygen to the brain and gets your mind working better.
Something as simple as a brisk walk outside or on a treadmill, or a quick dog walk or even a few jumping jacks will do.
Anything that gets you moving for between 15-30 minutes will do the trick.