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Things You Do In The Morning That May Be Ruining Your Life

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Don’t go for that morning cup of Joe

Serious caffeine addicts lumber out of bed and weave their way straight to the bitter bean. This behavior plays havoc with your cortisol levels claims Steven L. Miller, Ph.D; a post-doctoral fellow at Dartmouth. Miller relates this theory to the circadian rhythm of cortisol production that says your morning cortisol level peaks between 8am and 9am. Since cortisol is directly related to alertness, holding out for that first cup at 9am may be advantageous.

Don’t get up late

In his Harvard Business Review article entitled “The Early Bird Really Does Get The Worm”, Biologist Christoph Randler stated that “People whose performance peaks in the morning are better positioned for career success, because they’re more proactive than people who are at their best in the evening.”

Getting up earlier may well help you achieve better life balance as well.  It’s hard to make time for yourself when the world is demanding things from you.  Mornings can be a time of mental clarity with minimal stress that is conducive for creative work, as well as a time for you that is essential to your mental health.

Don’t hit the snooze button

The snooze button was created in the 1950s but technology has long since disrupted the old-school world of alarm clocks.  It’s now commonplace for people to use their cell phone as their primary alarm.

The concept of the snooze button is controversial.  Dr. Robert S Rosenberg was quoted in an interview with CNN as saying “When you hit the snooze button repeatedly, you’re doing two negative things to yourself.  First, you’re fragmenting what little extra sleep you’re getting so it is of poor quality. Second, you’re starting to put yourself through a new sleep cycle that you aren’t giving yourself enough time to finish. This can result in persistent grogginess throughout the day.”

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There is little doubt that the snooze button disrupts your circadian cycle and makes it harder for you to feel awake in the day. Following these instructions from sleepjunkies.com can help you break this disruptive habit.

Don’t leave without a real breakfast

There are endless theories on breakfast. Should I drink a whey shake, a high protein smoothy, or eat only whole grains?  The short answer is that it doesn’t matter all that much.  Just eat something.

According to the American Heart Association men who skip breakfast have a 27% higher risk of coronary heart disease compared with men who do not.  An article in the International Journal of Food and Nutrition extended upon these thoughts with the finding that individuals who consumed a cereal breakfast each day were less depressed, less emotionally distressed and had lower levels of perceived stress than those who did not eat breakfast each day.

Buckle up and eat your cereal.

Don’t jump straight on the cell

Roughly one third of us wake up thinking about our cell phones. They are, after all, one of our major sources of communication with our family, work, and friends.

The new normal is to reach for your phone the minute you climb out of bed. Flipping through your messages, Facebook, and calendar may appear to reduce your stress, but the reality is you are interrupting one of the most important times of the day for relaxation.

The race for the phone is driven by addictive behaviors that come from tapping a small screen and gaining an immediate response.  The iPhone presents a conditional stimulus that is not at all unlike the one given by Pavlov to his famous dogs.

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Try putting the cell down until after your breakfast and allow your morning to be a time of mental preparation for the day.  After all, most messages can wait.

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Featured photo credit: picjumbo via picjumbo.imgix.net

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