Morning Essentials to Start Your Day

Morning Essentials to Start Your Day

By: Paige Brettingen

Wake During Light Sleep
How you wake up (or, more specifically, when) is crucial to how your day starts. “During sleep, your body goes through 90-minute sleep cycles starting with light sleep, progressing into deep sleep, and then back into light sleep or REM sleep,” says Dr. Jo Lichten, a PhD nutritionist, registered dietitian, and author of "Reboot: How to Power Up Your Energy, Focus, and Productivity." “If you wake up during REM or dream state, you will feel more refreshed. If you wake up during deep sleep, you’re more likely to feel sleep inertia that could last minutes or hours.” To ensure you wake during REM sleep, go to sleep earlier and use a sleep app designed to wake you during a light cycle, such as Azumio.

Start with Magnesium
According to Dr. Carolyn Dean, MD, ND, and a medical advisory board member for the Nutritional Magnesium Association, replace your morning caffeine with a glass of water mixed with a powdered magnesium citrate, and you’ll be amazed by the energy you feel. “The mineral is required in six of the eight steps in the production of ATP, the energy molecule,” says Dean. “Magnesium is one of the key electrolytes and is an excellent example of an energy nutrient since it activates enzymes that control digestion, absorption and the utilization of proteins, fats and carbohydrates.”

Feed Your Brain
To fully shake your brain of its morning grogginess, consider supplementing with citicoline, a natural substance vital to brain health, says Dr. Yurgelun-Todd. “Citicoline can help to increase brain energy and function. And in a study conducted by The Brain Institute at the University of Utah, it resulted in increased memory and concentration in participants,” she says. Additionally, she suggests incorporating Omega-3 fatty acids, monounsaturated fatty acids, antioxidants and B vitamins into your breakfast, which can help deliver more nutrients to your brain.

Prioritize Protein
We’ve all heard breakfast is essential, but protein at breakfast is extra essential. “Protein at every meal is very important, yet often ignored or downplayed during breakfast. Since the body can use just 20 to 30 grams of protein at one time to incorporate into the body, it’s critical to eat this much at each meal,” says Lichten. A few of Lichten’s suggestions to achieve those 20 to 30 grams every morning include: 2 eggs and an ounce of cheese, or a whole grain English muffin with peanut butter and a glass of milk, or a fruit smoothie with a scoop of protein powder.

Release Negativity
Set a timer for five minutes and write down whatever comes to mind in a journal, suggests Jaime Pfeffer, author of “Uplift: Amazingly Powerful Secrets to Conquer Stress, Boost Happiness and Create an Extraordinary Life.” “Most people aren't taught strategies to ‘work out their minds,’ but it's just as important as working out your physical body,” says Pfeffer. She also notes that freeing up any negative thoughts by writing them down first thing in the morning is especially important. If you start the day harboring any negativity, it will only grow as the day goes on.


Become a member of P&G everyday and get exclusive offers!

Become a member

Count Your Blessings
After your journaling exercise, use the same notebook to jot down three things you’re grateful for. “Research shows people who wrote down three gratitude items once a week were 10 to 25 percent happier than those who didn’t,” says Pfeffer. It’s also a great way to keep the day in perspective. Is it really worth missing your daughter’s recital for that board meeting? Probably not.

One Task at a Time
If your mornings consist of a harried blur of multitasking, it’s time to refocus your attention, says Pfeffer. “It is mentally impossible to do two things at once. What actually happens is you switch back and forth between the two things and end up not being fully present for either,” she says. Rather than multitask, focus on one thing at a time. “Doing this makes you more present, and when you're more present, you also reduce the tendency to misplace things, which is a huge time-waster.” Another benefit: Focusing your attention, or mindfulness as it’s often called, is scientifically proven to improve well-being as well as physical and mental health, Pfeffer says.

RELATED: Quick and Healthy Breakfasts for 2015

RELATED: Creating a Morning Routine: New Mom 101

RELATED: Hacks for Moms Who Suck at Mornings

Brought to you by:

Complete your personal information

Please fill in the information marked with an asterisk to proceed; if you want to get tailored offers and content, don't forget to fill in the optional fields.