Published: 11 October 2021.
Whether you’re a shift worker, a nine to fiver or a part timer, morning routines differ from person to person, just as our routines also tend to change as the seasons do.
In autumn when the mornings become colder and the days get shorter, it can be a real challenge to feel motivated when waking up in the morning. Dr Anushka Patchava, Deputy Chief Medical Officer and GP, Vitality shares that “while some may be looking forward to the extra hour in bed as the clocks go back, significant changes to our regular routines can leave us feeling out of balance and may affect anything from our health and mood to energy levels.”
“For those that are worried about feeling less alert in the morning as autumn draws in, there are a number of steps they can take to feel more energised and motivated.”
Here are Dr Anushka Patchava’s top tips for feeling your best in the morning:
Maintain your sleep and wake-up routine
It’s important to try and keep your sleeping pattern the same, so that you go to bed and wake up at the same times as usual.
You should always aim to get between 7-9 hours’ sleep every night, and it is important to get the pre-sleep routine right to have a good quality sleep: Try having a warm bath before bed to unwind (just make sure it’s not too hot!) and avoid electronics an hour before your bedtime, as exposure to blue light from smart phones, computers and TV screens suppresses the production of the sleep hormone melatonin.
However tempting it may be, don’t hit snooze on your alarm as this can confuse your brain and risk sleep inertia – making it even harder to get up. Waking up to natural light is a really good way to help you stop pressing the snooze button and start your day off properly.
To help reduce stress in the morning, prepare your clothes and whatever you need the night before to ensure your morning is as relaxed as possible.
Eat a healthy breakfast
Eating a well-balanced breakfast sets you up for the day, so try and incorporate fibre, protein, fruit and dairy, or a dairy alternative, into your morning meal. It is important to include good levels of protein in your meal and try to reduce your sugar intake.
We all like the occasional cup of coffee to help us get going in the mornings but try to reduce your caffeine intake as this could make your body rely on the stimulant further down the line, which could make the autumn mornings harder than they need to be.
Being active provides a natural boost to your hormones and can help regulate how you feel throughout the day. However, avoid heavy exercise too close to bedtime as this can keep you awake. Before bed, a short meditation or yoga session can help prepare your mind and muscles for rest.
Practice morning mindfulness
Add something to your morning routine which you can look forward to everyday – this could be anything from a ten-minute Headspace or practicing yoga to listening to your favourite podcast on your commute. This is a great way for you to spend some time in the morning doing something for yourself before jumping into work.