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8 Alternatives to Coffee to Start Your Day

8 Alternatives to Coffee to Start Your Day

Sleep is important. Getting enough of it is essential. If you are getting enough sleep, you shouldn’t have too much trouble waking up in the morning. But if you do have trouble, there are ways you can feel invigorated and ready for your day without a cup of coffee, or three!

Drinking coffee first thing in the morning is a comforting ritual, but if you find that you are jittery or unfocused, are having health issues that could be related to overconsumption of coffee, or are just plain addicted, here are a few different ways to wake up in the morning that are caffeine-free.

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1. Music

No, I don’t mean blare music at yourself to wake up. But music can help you get in a good mood in the morning. I bake bread for a farmers’ market every Saturday. This means I have to wake up very early on Saturday morning to get all of the bread baked and ready. While I do make coffee, I realized that I wasn’t drinking it because I was too busy doing my work. Instead, I play music that I enjoy on my phone. This gets me singing and in a good mood, despite the fact that it’s 3:30 in the morning.

2. Drink Water

Drink a glass of cold water or two first thing in the morning. Besides the icy feeling enlivening your senses, we all wake up dehydrated according to Susan Kleiner, a dietitian and author of “The Good Mood Diet” (Springboard Press). All of our thinking and metabolic processes depend on us having water, so get hydrated and feel more awake sooner.

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3. Wash Your Face

Get in the bathroom and use cold water and a scented soap or essential oil like mint or lavender to wake yourself up. Mints and lavenders awaken your senses and the cold water can help you get the sleep off your face — making you feel more ready for your day.

4. Go Outside.

This may seem impractical, but go outside first thing in the morning. A breath of fresh air will make you feel more awake and ready for your day — even if you’re still in your slippers. Just getting up and moving around will get your blood moving and help you accomplish more in your day.

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5. Eat.

Eat a good breakfast, like oatmeal or bacon and eggs. Something that your body can really work on and that will give you lasting energy. Studies have shown that eating breakfast helps kids concentrate more and remember things better than their breakfast-skipping peers. Eat a good breakfast and be ready for whatever the day throws at you.

6. Engage Your Brain.

Do your most brain-intensive activity first. I usually do my writing first thing in the morning as that is when I feel my most active and ready to take on more difficult tasks. Try and save email (if you can) or other correspondence for later in the day when you need a bit of a brain break, unless your correspondence is essential to your job. Lifestyle author Scott Young says, “Start your day with work that actively uses your mind. Creative activities like writing, drawing, programming or designing work better than passive activities like reading. By focusing your mind early you can stay focused and brush off any unwanted drowsiness.”

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7. Drink a Smoothie

A healthy, green smoothie gives you a boost first thing in the morning. Try this recipe:

  • 1 1/4 cups orange juice, preferably calcium-fortified
  • 1 banana
  • 1 1/4 cups frozen berries, such as raspberries, blackberries, blueberries and/or strawberries
  • 1/2 cup low-fat silken tofu, or low-fat plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Handful chopped kale or spinach

This smoothie tastes great and gives you the vitamins and minerals you need to be on point for your day.

8. Oil Pulling

Place a little coconut oil in your mouth and let it dissolve. Don’t swallow it. Instead, swish it around in your mouth for 10 minutes or so. This takes practice but oil pulling is a method used by many to prevent tooth decay and pull toxins out of your body. Just the effort involved can wake you up! Oil pulling with coconut oil can help you sleep better, boost your energy and has many other benefits from clearing skin to sinuses.

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Michelle Kennedy Hogan

Michelle is an explorer, editor, author of 15 books, and mom of eight.

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Last Updated on January 11, 2021

11 Hidden Benefits of Using Oil Diffusers

11 Hidden Benefits of Using Oil Diffusers

Affordable, relaxing, and healthy, oil diffusers are gaining popularity with people everywhere due to their extensive benefits. Oil diffusers work through the simple process of oil diffusion, which uses heat to turn oil into a vapor that is then spread around a living space. Diffused oil can have several relaxation and health-related benefits, including safe scent-dispersion, mosquito and mold defense, stress relief, and more!

Read on for 11 hidden benefits of using oil diffusers.

1. Safe Scents That Make Sense

Unlike candles or air fresheners, oil diffusers release cleansing molecules into your air that work to purify it, not overload it with unhealthy chemicals. Electronic diffusers also do not pose the fire risk that candles do. Plus, they contain the added feature of interchangeability, which means you change oil types for different scents and health benefits.

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2. Stress Relief

Several lab studies have confirmed that diffusing essential oils like lavender have been shown to reduce stress and help relieve anxiety in medical patients. Preliminary studies have also shown that oil diffusers can help alleviate symptoms of depression.

3. Improved Sleep

Diffused oil has relaxing properties that can help people of all ages fall asleep quicker and sleep more soundly. Electronic diffusers not only have the option to mix and match different oil blends (Try a lavender, Bulgarian rose, and Roman chamomile blend to help with insomnia), they also run at a gentle hum that helps relax an agitated mind. Many also come with an auto shut-off feature to help conserve oils once you have fallen asleep.

4. Appetite Control

Much like gum, oil diffusers can help stimulate the senses in a way that works to curb appetite. New research has shown that diffused peppermint oil can help curb appetite by inducing a satiety response within the body. Diffused peppermint oil has also been shown to increase energy.

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5. Bacteria and Mold Killing

When essential oils are diffused in the air, they break down free radicals that contribute to the growth of harmful bacteria. Eucalyptus, thyme, and tea tree oils are especially good for this purpose. Diffused oil is also highly effective when it comes to combating fungal yeast threats, as the oil help makes the air inhospitable for yeasts such as mold. Pine and red thyme essential oils are best for combating mold.

6. Decongestion and Mucus Control

Ever tried Vick’s Vapo-Rub? Its decongesting powers come from active ingredients made from the eucalyptus tree. In principle, oil diffusers work the same way as Vapo-Rub, except they diffuse their decongesting vapor all around the room, not just on your chest or neck. Oil diffusers have been known to cure pneumonia in lab mice.

7. Mosquito Repellant

Nobody likes mosquitoes — but when the trade-off means using repellants full of DEET, a toxic chemical that can be especially harmful to children, mosquito control can often seem like a lose-lose. However, scientists have shown that oil diffusers can be used as a safe and highly effective mosquito repellant. Studies have shown that a diffused oil mixture containing clove essential oil and lemongrass essential oil repelled one type of Zika-carrying mosquito, the Aedes aegypti mosquito, at a rate of 100%.

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8. Pain Relief

While applying oils directly to areas of your body may be the most effective way to alleviate pain, diffusing essential oils can also be an effective means of pain relief. When we inhale healthy essential oils, they enter our blood stream and can help internally relieve persistent pain from headaches, overworked muscles, and sore joints.

9. The New Anti-Viral

Research into the anti-viral effects of oil diffusion is now just gaining steam. A recent study showed that star anise essential oil was proven in medical experiments to destroy the herpes simplex virus in contained areas at a rate of 99%. Another study showed the popular DoTerra oil blend OnGuard to have highly-effective influenza-combating powers.

10. Improved Cognitive Function

Diffusing essential oils has also been shown to improve cognitive function. Many essential oils have adaptogenic qualities, which can work twofold in soothing us when we’re stressed, and giving our bodies a pick-me-up when we’re feeling down or sluggish. By working to level out an imbalanced mood, diffused oils also help us to focus. There are also several essential oils which have been shown to help balance the body’s hormones. With prolonged use, these oils can work to repair the underlying causes responsible for hindering cognitive function.

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11. Money Saving

With ten clear benefits of oil diffusers already outlined, there is one more that should now be obvious: using an oil diffuser will help you to save money. As an anti-viral, bug repelling, and stress-relief solution rolled into one safe product, an oil diffuser used with the proper oils will save you money on products you might otherwise be buying to help cure those pesky headaches or get your kids to fall asleep on time. If you’re wondering just how affordable oil diffusers can be, check the buyer’s guide to the best oil diffusers — you’ll be sure to find one that fits your budget!

Featured photo credit: Jopeel Quimpo via unsplash.com

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