Mornings can be rough for everyone in the family: waking up, preparing for work, getting the kids ready for school, and all while making enough time to squeeze in a healthy breakfast. As a parent, you need to make sure your children are ready and alert for a full day of school while giving yourself enough energy to take care of your work, as well as the needs of your entire family.
While getting quality sleep at night is always the first step to a good morning, here are a few additional tips to wake up fresh and ready to take on the day:
1. Get Some Sunshine
Your body is biologically programmed to respond to sunlight, making it the ideal alarm to wake up to in the morning. Sunshine naturally stimulates your circadian rhythm to shift from a sleep to wake cycle, enhancing your mental alertness. In fact, studies have shown that participants who sat near a sunlit window versus an artificially lit room reported feeling more awake for up to an hour. Leave the curtains open to get your dose of sunshine first thing in the morning, and walk your kids to the bus or school if you have the time.
2. Prepare a Protein-Packed Breakfast
You’ve heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and for good reason. Eating a good breakfast kicks your metabolism into gear and gives you the energy you need to power through your morning. Swap out the sugary cereals and carbs for a proper protein-packed breakfast. Not only is protein more filling, but it avoids the spikes and dips in blood sugar levels caused by carbs that leave you feeling crashed and lethargic in the afternoon.
Protein doesn’t necessarily mean meat: a little peanut butter or yogurt are quick and can go a long way in staving off hunger. Complement this with high fiber meals like a hearty bowl of oatmeal, and you’ll be feeling full and energized well throughout the day.
3. Boost Your Morning Mood
It’s no secret that the mind and body are deeply connected, and your mood has a strong influence over your energy levels and overall health. With that said, make your mornings something you look forward to rather than dread. Give yourself something to wake up to: a “good morning” playlist to sing along to, or enough time to take a nature stroll with the dog. Maybe it’s listening to an inspiring podcast while you eat breakfast, or a daily yoga routine. Whatever lifts your spirits boosts your energy for the moment and the rest of the day.
4. Drink Plenty of Water
We associate a good morning with a freshly-brewed cup of coffee, but easily forget just how dehydrating coffee actually is. While caffeine is helpful in small doses, it’s important to drink plenty of water to counteract its dehydrating effects. Dehydration causes mental and physical fatigue, which will only exacerbate your morning grogginess and post-caffeine crash. Sip water continuously throughout the day to keep yourself fresh and alert.
5. Take Advantage of the Night Before
A smooth morning is a happy morning. Take advantage of the night before to complete any early morning prep: preparing breakfast and lunch, packing bags and suitcases, laying out the day’s outfits, showering, etc., will make the next morning peaceful and stress-free. This gives you the time to enjoy the morning moments with your family in good spirits, and eliminates any unnecessary anxiety that drains you before the day has even begun.
6. Add Some Exercise
Take an early exercise class, go for a morning stroll, or do some yoga in the comfort of your bedroom. No matter what kind of exercise you enjoy, physical activity gets the blood pumping and your endorphins going, which boosts energy and happiness levels for the day.
7. Caffeine in Doses
Caffeine is the unchallenged champion when it comes to boosting morning alertness, but it comes at the cost of that dreaded midday crash. Caffeine is best taken in small doses spread throughout the day. Either sip about 2 ounces of coffee every hour up until the late afternoon, or better yet, try some antioxidant-rich green or white tea.
Green tea has the highest levels of L-Theanine, a beneficial amino acid contained in tea. When L-Theanine is combined with caffeine, you’ll find your energy, attention, and even memory benefit.