From David Cameron to Mark Zuckerberg to Miranda Kerr, some of the world’s most successful people follow morning rituals that motivate them. Barack Obama jumps right into strength training. Arianna Huffington starts with meditation. Chris Hemsworth just wants to catch the sunrise.
As these great minds know, establishing healthy morning habits can help make sure you wake up on the right side of the bed. A morning routine creates the tone for the rest of the day and can help you feel more organised, intentional, and ready to take on the day ahead.
To help you choreograph a morning routine that empowers productivity, we’ve shared seven expert-backed morning rituals that generate focused, calm, successful days.
There are all kinds of sayings about waking up early (“The early bird gets the worm,” “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise,” etc.). But these sayings are oft-quoted for a reason: Rising early comes with a host of proven advantages. Waking up early promotes productivity, as our brains tend to be most alert and focused in the mornings. It guarantees uninterrupted time for yourself before the chaos of the day begins. And waking up early ensures you have sufficient time so you can start your day feeling calm and ahead of the game.
Giving in to the temptation to hit that snooze button sends a subconscious message to yourself: “A few minutes of extra sleep is more important than my goals.” On the other hand, getting up with your alarm sends the message, “It’s time to work on my goals because they are what’s most important”.
Plus, sneaking an extra ten minutes after your alarm goes off doesn’t actually do much for your energy levels. Quality, restful REM sleep doesn’t typically happen until 90 minutes after you fall asleep.
Waiting until after breakfast to check your phone protects your brain from texts, emails, and other stimuli demanding your attention, allowing you no time to start your day with a clear head. The morning is a great time to train your brain to be stronger at simpler but more beneficial tasks like reading, meditating, and journaling.
After eight hours of not drinking water, you can quickly become dehydrated in the morning. Starting your day with a big glass of water not only prevents morning dehydration but makes it easier to stay hydrated all day long by jumpstarting the whole process. To remind yourself to drink water in the morning, try setting out a glass of water next to your bedside before you go to sleep every night.
Sunlight wakes up your body by suppressing the production of melatonin, a sleep hormone that the body releases at night. When daylight tells your brain to stop producing melatonin, the brain generates wakeful neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine. That means early-morning sunlight not only helps you feel more energised but also happier.
There has been a bunch of research on gratitude and its many benefits on your overall health and well-being. Regularly practising gratitude has been linked to improved mood and reduced depression. Feeling grateful even plays a role in your physical health, helping you sleep better and boosting your immune system.
You can start your day with a positive outlook by practising gratitude first thing in the morning. Need ideas for practising gratitude? Experts suggest writing in a gratitude journal or performing gratitude meditation.
Making your bed is a simple but powerful way to generate a sense of achievement and pride. Psychologically, when you complete any task—no matter how small—your brain releases endorphins that make you feel empowered. After tackling this seemingly minor accomplishment, you’ll encourage yourself to take on more accomplishments throughout the day. (And if you use bedsmade tailored sheets, you can achieve the sense of accomplishment that comes with a perfectly made bed.)