Make Your Mornings More Productive

Too early
Amelia Phillips

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Rush hour is stressful. The alarm won’t stop snoozing. The conditioner won’t come off your hair. And to top of it all you have to try to fit in a workout, a healthy breakfast and perhaps a glimpse at what’s happening in the world.

Mornings aren’t easy, but with the right approaches, you can bring your A.M. launch from rocket speed down to your speed.

If you have kids…
Don’t yell orders at them at whee hours of the morning – the more you tell them to get off the TV and stop pulling their siblings’ hair, the more they’ll do it. Instead roll out of your bed and into theirs (do this early though). “Kids dawdle in the morning, because they realise that they will not see their parents until the end of the day,” says Aletha Solte in her book Helping Young Children Flourish. “When children get some undivided ‘Mommy-time’ in the morning, even if it’s only 10 minutes, they’re much more likely to cooperate and listen to you.” Do that and your child will be more inclined to get dressed, eat breakfast and follow directions.
If you need to walk your dog… 
Asking your puppy to do his business when the sun hasn’t even come out is not the best way to start the day. Instead, speed up his digestion process with a light 5-minute jog. Several studies have shown that not only will it boost your energy, but it acts as a great poo-motivator for your dog. Afterward, walk around the block for 5 to 10 minutes. If you’re a dog owner, you’ll know that dogs can learn to hold their bowel movements because that means they’ll get to walk outside longer.

If your partner gets up early and you don’t…
Invest in a mattress that  conforms to your shape while remaining firm in other areas, if you can’t handle the agitated movement next to you. This will decrease the chance of you making him get out of bed, and if you don’t get angry or feel the pressure to get up, hopefully it’ll be a smooth morning.
If you slept horribly last night…
Exercise, caffeine, alcohol, or heavy meals up to 3 hours before bedtime are all sleep-stoppers. If you’re sleep-deprived in the morning, eat oatmeal. There’s research that shows that people who have high fibre, low-fat breakfasts have more energy, are more alert, and eat less until the next meal. Also, consider exercising in the morning. One study found that morning exercisers averaged 70 percent better sleep than evening exercisers, who may be disrupting their sleep-wake cycle by stirring up energy too close to bedtime.
If you exercise…
The best way to resist 20 more minutes of snooze-o-clock is to pull yourself from bed and touch your toes. Doing an exercise in which you bend your head down helps bring blood to your brain and wakes you up. Then eat a banana or an orange; your body needs the carbs before exercise. Maybe even add a cup of coffee: A University of Georgia study found that the caffeine can reduce muscle pain by 25 percent, since caffeine may block the nerve receptors that transmit pain. Now, go and run!

If you have a 1-hour commute…
If you have an hour-long of driving to do, keep a cinnamon-scented air freshener in your car. Why? People who inhaled cinnamon or peppermint while driving saw a 20 percent decrease in anxiety, 15 percent decrease in fatigue, 25 percent decrease in frustration, and 30 percent increase in alertness, according to a recent study from Wheeling Jesuit University. “These scents stimulate the area of the brain responsible for alertness, called the reticular activating system,” says Bryan Raudenbush, Ph.D., study author. “This is the part of the brain that makes us fall asleep when we’re tired and wakes us up in the morning.”

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  • Catherine

    Unfortunately only one of these applies to me, but I don’t exercise in the morning- but think I need to start as I procrastinate about it till the afternoon or have breakfast first which just delays exercise.