Better Ways for Better Days

By Deanna Bonaparte

The alarm rings; you take a scan for the clock – 7am. Once again, you are reminded of the Excel spreadsheets that await you and the deadlines that are one day closer. You wish you were raring to go, but the staccato images of the previous day leave you wondering the same thing you did the previous – if not every other - morning: How do I keep alert and energised throughout the day when, at this point, I feel anything but?

Mornings do not necessarily have to disgruntle you, and a few little steps can go a long way in reviving your stamina. Here are some small (but mighty) ways to shake off the morning blues!

Switch Off Electronic Devices before Bed
Regardless of whether you're watching the latest episode of US drama series CSI or responding to email messages before bedtime, being exposed to light-emitting devices (e.g. your phones, laptops, TV screens) can disrupt your sleep patterns and significantly impact how you feel the next morning.

When exposed to artificial light, your body gets fooled into being wide awake. "The light is accepted as sunlight, so the brain is not ready for melatonin; it’s not ready to go to sleep," says Dr Kenneth Weeks, a Sleep Medicine specialist based in North Carolina, US. This disruption, compounded with delayed sleeping, could amount to an unceremonious, lackluster kickoff the next day.

This means that you shouldn't indulge the technological geek in you - at least not for half an hour before you sleep. Instead, you can read a book, or listen to some soothing classical music (or punk rock, if that fits your muse).

Triumph over the Snooze Button
As tempting as it is to hit Mr Snooze, this can be a very bad morning habit . 'Five more minutes wouldn't hurt', you would say to yourself. Before you know it, you have surrendered another 15 minutes to sleep.

In reality, hitting Mr Snooze is confusing – if not ruining – the entire waking process. If you do manage to snooze off, you are plunging your brain back into the beginning of the sleep cycle, which is the hardest point to wake up from. This fragmented sleep means you wake up feeling even more tired than you should.

Set your alarm at the intended time, and stick to a regular sleep schedule. Take it as a daily test of discipline; if you can get through the first hurdle of the day, you can get through anything. Don’t lose to the snooze!

Water Up!
Even when you're sleeping, your cells burn fuel and you'll probably wake up dehydrated, given that this requires plenty of water. Hydrating yourself first thing in the morning increases the rate of your cell production which arouses the healthy flow of oxygen, leaving you alert and energised.

But if you're disinclined to gulp down water while you're still drowsy, here’s a new spin on an old favourite: You could make that glass of water more interesting with an added squeeze of lemon - it'll assure you an added boost to kick-start your day and break the disarrayed fluster of the morning too!

In addition, the vitamin C in your humble lemon will also help keep any stress and anxiety in the day ahead at bay. Double the zest, double the zeal! At the end of the day, the age-old rule remains: Head to bed early. As they say, "Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise."

What is your art to a better start? Share with us in the comment box below!

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