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6 Simple Morning Routine Tweaks That Will Boost All-Day Energy

If you’re the type to roll out of bed, fumble through the dark for coffee, and immediately start your day, you’re in good company. That said…it’s a bad habit! 

It’s easy to get wrapped up in a go-go-go mindset, but a morning routine that lacks mindfulness sets you up for an energy crash before lunch. How you spend the first minutes after waking really does influence how you feel later in the day, which is why we tapped experts for simple morning routine tweaks that ensure all-day energy.

1. Drink Water Before Coffee

You’re likely dehydrated when you first wake up, and research suggests the caffeine in your morning cup of joe may cause further dehydration since it’s a diuretic (meaning it makes you pee). Plus, your brain, muscles, and joints require water to function properly, and a lack of water in the morning can lead to daytime fatigue, says family medicine physician Matthew Kulka, D.O.

Proper hydration also influences metabolism, digestion, satiety, mood, sleep quality, and immunity, so kickstart every morning with eight to 16 ounces of water, suggests The Vitamin Shoppe nutritionist Brittany Michels, M.S., R.D.N, L.D.N., C.P.T.

2. Eat Breakfast Within An Hour Of Waking Up

It’s normal not to feel hungry the second you open your eyes, but do your best to eat within an hour of waking up if you struggle with low energy throughout the day, suggests Patricia Kolesa, M.S., R.D.N., a registered dietitian and founder of Dietitian Dish. “Skipping breakfast is associated with lower focus and increased fatigue. Oftentimes, you might also find yourself hungrier later and overeat at lunch and dinner to make up for that missed meal,” she explains. Incorporating a balanced breakfast into your morning routine can also improve concentration, increase problem-solving skills, and reduce the risk of chronic illness like diabetes and cardiovascular disease, she adds. 

Read More: Tired After Eating? Here’s How To Prevent Food Coma

One of the reasons breakfast is so important? Your brain (and the rest of your body) relies on glucose as its primary energy source, according to Kulka. Without enough fuel coming in, your body might turn to your muscle tissue for energy, your blood sugar gets dysregulated, and more—all bad news for steady all-day energy and overall health.

That said, if you’re into intermittent fasting (which research suggests may work against inflammation, among other health benefits), keep doing you. Just make sure to hydrate well throughout your food-free morning, urges Michels. “Go for no-cal drinks such as water, tea, or electrolyte drinks,” she says. “Or, if muscle retention is a priority, opt for a BCAA or EAA drink.”

3. Swap Sugar Out For Protein

While sugary breakfast items like pastries, cereal, and muffins are considered breakfast staples, they spike—and then crash—your blood sugars, a rollercoaster that negatively influences cognitive function, satiety, energy levels, mood, and productivity, according to Michels. 

Give these foods the boot as much as possible and load up on protein, which will keep you fuller for longer and support brain functioning to get you through the day, Kolesa suggests. Go for eggs, cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, nut butter, or your favorite protein powder in a smoothie, mixed into yogurt, or shaken up with milk or water.

Ideally, your breakfast will combine protein with fiber and healthy fats (like omega-3s), says Kulka. That might look like a piece of whole-grain toast with an egg and smoked salmon, or oatmeal with a scoop of Greek yogurt, berries, and flaxseeds. “A nutritious breakfast supplies your brain and body with essential nutrients to start the day instead of running on empty,” he says. 

4. Avoid Your Phone For As Long As Possible

Jumping into texts, emails, and social media first thing in the morning can overwhelm your brain, increase stress, and reduce focus, so it’s best to try and spend the first hour of your morning away from screens, says Kulka. Bonus points for using that time to practice mindfulness, yoga, and/or gratitude journaling.

Read More: 6 Ways Stress Impacts Your Long-Term Health

“Stress is an energy zapper, so activities that reduce stress almost invariably increase energy,” he explains. You see, stress triggers the body’s fight-or-flight response, prompting the release of hormones like cortisol and epinephrine. “While these hormones can offer a momentary burst of energy, often perceived as nervous energy, this surge is typically short-lived and usually results in a feeling of depletion after that brief period.” By nipping that stress rollercoaster in the bud, you’re more likely to feel strong and steady all day long.

5. Get Some Sunlight

It’s easy to rush into the workday, but getting at least 15 minutes of natural sunlight first thing in the morning can decrease sleepiness and increase your energy levels, says Kulka. “Exposure to light decreases our brain’s melatonin production and increases serotonin and vitamin D levels, enhancing mood and general feelings of wellness,” he explains.

What’s more, sunlight sends signals to your brain letting it know it’s time to wake up and start the day, which is key for energizing both your body and mind, says Michels. “Going for an outdoor walk or drinking a big glass of water on your porch would help you bust out two healthy morning habits in one, but even opening your blackout curtains and flooding your bedroom with light will get those awakening signals going.” Think of it as reinforcing that internal clock that tells your body when it’s time to perk up.

6. Supplement with Energizing Herbs

By now, you’ve surely heard plenty of buzz around sleep-supporting supplements like magnesium glycinate and valerian root—and the right morning supplement lineup can be just as game-changing for feeling revved-up throughout the day. Consider rhodiola rosea, an herb long used to boost energy and stamina (by way of stimulating activity of cellular energy, a.k.a. ATP) or ashwagandha, a popular herb for upping energy and squashing stress by helping balance blood sugar and hormones. (And check out other supplements that can help you go-go-go—including iron and CoQ10—here.)

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