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4 Physician-Approved Ways to Kick Off Your Morning

Mornings, for most of us, are uneventful. In zombie-like states, we reluctantly emerge from bed, pad over to the kitchen, guzzle coffee — maybe breakfast, depending on the day — and leave for work. Usually, we don’t put a lot of stock into our morning routines, and if we make it out of the front door dressed, fed and caffeinated, we consider it a success. But think about this: the morning is debatably the most important time of the day. It defines our mood, sets the tone for the next 16 hours and can seriously impact our productivity and happiness.

So, in order to ensure we’re getting the most out of our morning routines, we’ve asked Penn Medicine primary care physician, Paula S. Barry, MD, to weigh-in with her top tips for starting your day. The best part? You can implement them first thing tomorrow. Here’s what she had to say:

Restful Night’s Sleep // “One of the best ways to start your day is to begin with a good night’s sleep. Ideally, you should have 7 to 8 hours of sleep and rest. It is wise to avoid caffeine and exercise just before bedtime. Also, being sure your room is a comfortable temperature and environment can help lead to a restful night’s sleep.”

Eat Breakfast and Hydrate // “Even though we are often rushed in the morning, it is important to start your day with a healthy, nutritious breakfast. For most, reaching for a high fiber, protein-rich option is beneficial. Skip the temptation to only have a cup of coffee. Whether it be a nutritious smoothie, fresh fruit, or yogurt and granola, there are many options for healthy eating. Beginning your day with the right amount of protein and fiber can aid your metabolism and help guide you to a more productive day.

“Beginning your day with a proper balanced food choice and staying well hydrated can help put you in the frame of mind to handle whatever your day may bring. Keeping a water bottle with you as a reminder can help accomplish this as you go about your daily routine.

Stretch/Exercise // “A morning stretch can go a long way. Many people start their day off with exercise before they head to work. If this fits into your schedule, great. If it doesn’t, even stretching for a few minutes when you hear that alarm clock sound can be beneficial in getting your muscles ready for the day.

Positive Thoughts // “Even though mornings are often a bit hectic, taking a few moments to think a positive thought can be advantageous. Reflecting on your positive attributes and accomplishments is beneficial. Taking a few moments to do this or meditate can help clear your mind for the day that lies ahead. In addition, sharing a few moments with a family member or pet can put you in the right mindset for a productive day.”

For additional health tips or to schedule an appointment with a primary care specialist in your neighborhood, click here.