Weekday wakeups can be tough. With such busy schedules, most of us are skimping on sleep to make our lives work. And that can take a toll on our get-up-and-go mentality to greet the day. While a solid seven to eight hours a night of uninterrupted sleep can go a long way to putting a bounce in your morning step, try some of these seven easy ways to boost your early morning energy.
1. Take five mindful minutes
Instead of bounding out of bed, try sitting on the side of your bed and spend a few minutes to connect your mind and body. Think about how all parts of your body feel, moving your thoughts from head to toe. And take a minute to think of all the things in your life you are happy and grateful for.
2. Drink a glass of water
Everyone is a little dehydrated in the morning. It makes sense--you’ve been fluid free for hours! And even slight water deprivation can make you feel sluggish. Drink eight to 10 ounces of plain water upon awakening to rehydrate – before coffee, tea, or any other beverage.
3. Pre-plan your outfit
Nothing depletes mental energy like standing in front of your closet and debating what to wear. Maintain your morning momentum by pre-selecting your outfit and accessories.
4. Make a checklist of "must-dos"
Even the best multi-taskers have a limit. Make a list of the activities you “need” to accomplish in a day, and those you “want” to achieve. A structured plan provides energizing focus to seize the day!
5. Enjoy your morning coffee
Caffeine is one of nature’s best energy boosters, but only when it’s used sparingly. The less you consume, the better it works. A large mug of coffee (or a large coffee house size) has about 300 mg of caffeine, the daily recommended limit for healthy caffeine intake. And enjoy is the key word – avoid gulping it down, and savor the taste, smell, and warmth of your morning coffee.
6. Get in some family time
Whether in-person or remotely – connect with family or friends. A three to five minute chat, phone call, or text exchange can go a long way to feeling connected – and boosting your mental energy to put a bounce in your step all day long.
7. Eat breakfast
If you’re a breakfast-lover, eat a multi-nutrient meal with a mix of lean protein, fiber-rich carbohydrates, and heart healthy fat before you leave the house. If you’re not hungry, eat a morning meal within about two hours of waking up. Whether hard boiled eggs and toast, or a plain yogurt and fruit, refueling in the morning boosts energy, and helps you avoid overeating for lunch. And grab-and-go options like a low-sugar protein shake or smoothie, or a large skim milk latte do the trick just as well.
Dr. Fernstrom is an award-winning clinician, scientist, health journalist and author. She is a national media expert in the field of health and wellness with a particular focus on mindful living. Dr. Fernstrom is also serves as NBC News' health and nutrition editor.