You’ve said it before: “I’m just not a morning person.”
We know because we’ve said it before. But trading a few extra minutes (or hours) of sleep can give you a few perks, including a relaxed start to your day without the rush of getting ready because you’re running suuuuuuper late.
Getting up at or before sunrise isn’t easy for everyone, though. We’ve got a few tips for early morning habits that can set you up for success throughout the day — without robbing you of too much sleep.
The Best Part of Waking Up
What you do upon waking up can set the tone for the rest of your day, so make sure you’re not stressing. If you find that you’re always rushing in the morning to get ready for work or school, try setting your alarm 10 or 20 minutes earlier. Use the extra time to do something relaxing that you enjoy, like exercising, reading or writing. Yes, you’ll get less sleep, but you’ll likely feel less drained throughout your day because you’ve had time to unwind and focus your energy.
Coffee Isn’t Everything.
Yes, coffee is amazing. Yes, coffee is delicious. Yes, coffee is usually part of our balanced breakfast. But, research suggests that starting your day with stimulants like caffeine can actually inhibit your productivity later on. So, first thing, opt for drinks that will energize and refresh you, such as vitamin C-rich orange juice or a protein shake. You can always enjoy a late morning or afternoon coffee. (And, if you feel like you still need that caffeine jolt in the early hours, make sure to also drink plenty of water to avoid getting dehydrated.)
Have Some (Healthy) Protein.
Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day, and it’s even more important that you eat the right thing for breakfast. Donuts are tempting, but we recommend a protein-rich menu. No, this isn’t an excuse for a burger first thing in the morning! Adding some healthy protein to your breakfast (such as eggs or nuts) will help regulate your blood sugar levels and fuel your mind the right way. You’re also less likely to give in to unhealthy eating habits throughout the rest of the day if you start your morning off with healthy eating choices.
Set Daily Goals.
Instead of scrolling through your social media feeds during breakfast, take advantage of those quiet few minutes by making a short list of the things you most want to accomplish each day. Stick to three major tasks that are nonnegotiable — such as finishing a chapter from a class textbook, submitting an essay or applying for an internship — and then create a longer list of tasks you can finish later on in the week in case you can’t get to them that day.
Traffic is Inevitable.
In a city as big as Houston, chances are your morning probably involves some time spent sitting in traffic or walking across campus. Rather than letting the extra time frustrate or bore you, take advantage of it to learn something new. Listen to an audiobook on a subject you might not have any extra free time to learn about. Not only will you have acquired a wealth of new information in a matter of days, but you’ll also start your morning off by stimulating your mind, which will help keep you sharp for whatever else your day might bring.
Toughest Tasks Come First.
Research shows we’re at our most alert before lunchtime, which means working on your hardest projects and most intense studying will be most effective in the mornings. Getting the most difficult parts of your day out of the way first will also help you avoid procrastinating on them, and we know how gratifying it is to check items off your to-do list.
By Priscilla Aceves