With summer coming to a close and back to school/work around the corner, most of us are starting to think about how we can get back into a routine AND start to catch up on the sleep we lost over the fun summer months. Lucky for you, we’ve got your back. We’ve teamed up with the gang from Well.ca to share 5 tactical tips for catching more zzz’s and becoming that morning person you always strived to be.
In an ideal world, we would all be morning people. We would wake up (without an alarm, of course) and start the day feeling refreshed, energized, calm and ready to tackle the day ahead. Unfortunately—with all the stress, anxiety, lack of quality sleep, and work and stimulant (hello, caffeine!) overloads—most of us go to bed way to late, sleep restlessly, and wake up in a fog of fatigue, while hitting snooze repeatedly. Not the perfect set up to a productive day!!
We all know the awesome advantages that waking up early has—maybe we get more accomplished earlier in the day, maybe we fit in our daily workout or morning meditation before the kids rise, maybe we clear a few things off our TO DO list before 8 am, or maybe we simply have an hour of quiet “me time.” Not only does waking up early enable us to be more productive—but it starts our day off on the right foot—so we’re more likely to go through our day making positive choices.
Now, although some people are blessed with being a morning person naturally, some of you night owls might need to work at developing this skill. The good news? Becoming a morning person is actually quite attainable! But you’ll need to make some simple changes and you’ll need to practice, just like any other habit or skill you’re trying to develop.
By following a few tactical tips, you too can find yourself waking up even before your alarm shrieks or without the feeling the need to hit snooze…
Start your morning mindfully and with gratitude
A mindfulness practice is anything that helps create balance and a sense of calm, while helping foster a connection to our inner selves. We like to begin our morning in a mindful manner. For us, this means:
- Engaging in a short meditation and doing some mindful breathing exercises before we get out of bed;
- Engaging in some simple stretches or yoga postures as we get out of bed; and
- Taking 5 minutes to write down 5 things we’re grateful for (all the while not peeking at our smartphones).
We’re not going to lie—for the first few mornings, this may take some dedication and willpower but over time, you will crave this morning ritual.
We’ve seen it and heard it a thousand times—the truth is, being grateful for the things that we have can make a huge difference in how we feel and our overall level of happiness. Being thankful for the things in our life, little or big, helps to bring more of these things back into our lives. We suggest that you take 10 minutes each morning to introduce one of these practices into your daily routine. We promise that the benefits you’ll experience will trump those last 10 minutes of snoozing.
Too much sugar not only wreaks havoc on our weight, our skin and our hormones, but it can mess with our ability to get a good night sleep. And when your sleep suffers, you can bet you’re not going to wake up feeling refreshed and ready to tackle your day with a positive attitude.
Our advice? Start a food journal and begin taking a serious look at what foods you consume that are a) over processed, b) loaded with sugar, and c) full of chemicals and/or toxins. Then, slowly start to add more whole, real, unprocessed foods into your diet (think fresh low-glycemic fruits, colourful veggies, healthy fats like nuts, seeds, avocado and coconut oil, organic and free-range fish and proteins, and whole unprocessed grains).
The more real whole food you add to your diet, the less you crave sugar. We call this “crowding out.” Add loads of good stuff, crowd out the bad stuff.
Start your morning with a glass of warm lemon water, followed by a healthy breakfast
We all know that staying hydrated is one of the most important things we can do to keep our bodies and our minds working at their best. Drinking a large glass of lemon water in the morning—after you wake up and before you eat any other food—has so many health benefits, it’s silly not to engage in this super-simple morning habit.
Lemon not only detoxifies us, but it helps set up our digestive tract for the day of eating and gives us a vitamin C and antioxidant boost. Allow the lemon water to work its magic, then fill your tummy with a nutrient dense breakfast. We like to forgo the traditional cereal with milk or toast with butter and think outside the box when it comes to breakfast. There really are no rules! Why not make a power smoothie with berries, spinach, a plant-based protein powder, hemp seeds and unsweetened almond milk? Or try hard-boiled eggs with spinach & sliced avocado. Our top tip? Make sure you have a balance of healthy fat, veggies or fruits, and high-quality, easily digestible protein.
Set a night-time routine and stick to it
We all know how we feel if we binge watch Netflix until 2am and then try to shut our minds off and fall asleep in a snap…it ain’t going to happen. One of our fave tips is to create a night-time routine that will not only help you sleep well, but enable you to wake feeling refreshed, energized and clear (hello, morning person!). Over time, your body will get used to this routine and know when it is time to shut down and go to sleep.
Take your environment into consideration when planning your routine. It should be calming, relaxing, and peaceful. We dim the lights, switch off all devices (at least an hour before lights out), turn on our diffuser with lavender essential oils, and spend a few minutes doing a bedtime meditation or reading before lights out.
Use positive affirmations
Positive affirmations have the power to boost your overall health and wellbeing, and they are an awesome way to start your day off on the right foot. By repeating positive and empowering statements, for example, “I am healthy and filled with vitality and energy” or “My body and my mind are in perfect harmony,” you can actually re-train the way your brain thinks and you will feel happier and more positive overall. We also love to end our day with positive affirmations before bed.
Essential oils can be your new BFF
The use of essential oils has been gaining in popularity over the last few years—and for good reason! The health and therapeutic benefits of using high-quality essential oils is enormous. We like to use calming, relaxing and sleep-inducing essential oils (like lavender) to help us wind down before bed, and rejuvenating, energizing and balancing essential oils when we are getting ready to start our day (like peppermint, lemon and frankincense).
Lindsay Evans and Danielle McGrath are co-founders of Nourish Live Flow, a holistic health, and wellness company operating in Toronto and the GTA. They are integrative nutrition health coaches trained through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and are currently in training to become meditation and mindfulness coaches. Their mission is to enhance the health and wellness of women, men, and children everywhere and empower people to take responsibility for their health and wellbeing. They whole-heartedly believe that reducing our toxic overload is essential in achieving optimal wellness. They have become ambassadors for 3 companies who share this belief, Beautycounter, dōTERRA and Juice Plus. Learn more about their health coaching practice at www.nourishliveflow.com.