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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.