Seven tips for a great morning

Health and Lifestyle Editor at Bupa UK
06 August 2018

The struggle is real.
If you hit the snooze button until you really have no choice but to get up.
If, when you wake up, you don’t know which way is up or your own name.
If your morning feels evil because you’re always running around late and in a mild panic.
If you just hate mornings.

If you nodded your head at any of the above, this article is for you.
Here are seven suggestions from our Bupa experts on how to have a ‘good morning’ that really does feel good!

A dog sleeping on a bed

1. Sleep well the night before

The key to having a good morning is sleeping well the night before. Having a healthy pre-bedtime routine and practising good sleep habits can help you wake up feeling relaxed and refreshed, ready for the day ahead.

Ana Noia, Senior Clinical Physiologist in neurophysiology and Sleep at Bupa Cromwell Hospital, explains: “Having a regular sleep schedule is important. It regulates your biological clock to be more in sync with the environment, and as a result, helps you have a peaceful sleep. This means going to bed and waking up at the same time every day – even at weekends and holidays. Give yourself enough time to get at least 7–9 hours of sleep.

“You should also only go to bed when you’re sleepy. If you spend time in bed awake you can end up worrying about normal daily problems and concerns.

“Don’t nap during the day as it decreases your need for night time sleep. And don’t have too much caffeine and alcohol, particularly too close to bedtime.

“Relaxing before bed is essential. A nice warm bath is perhaps one of the best techniques to help your body prepare for the most important resting period.”

2. Drink a glass of water when you wake up

It’s tempting to reach for coffee first thing, but try drinking a glass of water when you wake up. Your body uses water to transport nutrients and oxygen around your body and helps to get rid of waste products. It also helps to control your temperature and keeps your joints lubricated. So hydrating can be a good way to start your day, and your mind and body will thank you for it. Not drinking enough can make you feel tired, headachey and light headed. It can also affect your concentration levels.

Adam Keenan, Registered Nutritionist and Health Adviser at Bupa UK, says: “You lose around 5–10 per cent of your body’s water stores a day – mainly through going to the toilet or sweating. Therefore, if you aren’t replacing the fluid, it may lead to dehydration. Dehydration can lead to symptoms such as tiredness, and dry skin, lips and eyes.

“Furthermore, if you’re a gym goer you won’t perform at your best. To rehydrate, you don’t have to stick to water, though it does help with calorie control. But semi- skimmed milk, fruit juice (150ml) and cordial will all help you to stay hydrated too. Try to stick to 6-8 glasses of water per day, or more if you’re physically active.”

3. Move your body

After lying down for several hours, getting your body moving when you get up can be a great way to energise yourself. For some, working out in the morning, either running or going to the gym, and sweating it out, works best for them. And that’s great, but if you’re not keen on doing that, try some stretches. Stretching can keep your joints flexible, relax your muscles and improve your range of motion. Plus it always feels satisfying to have a good stretch!

Ashley Oliver, Senior Physiotherapist at Bupa UK, says: “There’s no one ‘best time’ of the day for exercising, but the morning can be a good time to try it out. Exercise is beneficial for both your physical and mental health. Cardiovascular exercise will increase your heart rate and trigger the release of your body’s happy hormones. It gets blood pumping to the tissues that need it and also boosts your metabolism, setting you up for a great day. Mobility based exercise, such as yoga or stretching, can also be helpful. They loosen tight muscles and get joints moving to prevent injury, particularly if you spend your work day sitting at a desk.”

You could try out our Rise and Shine Yoga routine; it’s only 15 minutes long and will help set you on track for a great day ahead.

4. Play some power tunes

Whether it’s in the shower, making breakfast or driving in your car, play some feel-good music to lift your spirits, and sing along. If you find it hard to get up in the morning, try setting your favourite happy song to be your alarm clock.

Sarah Tipping, Health Adviser at Bupa UK, tells us more. “For me, listening to upbeat or lively music in the morning definitely helps me to feel happier and ready for my day ahead. I find music is also great for making me feel more awake!

“Studies show that listening to music and singing enhances wellbeing, improves mood, reduces stress and anxiety and helps nurture a sense of purpose. All in all I’d definitely recommend trying this out to reduce any Monday morning blues!”

5. Take time to laugh

If you haven’t yet cracked a smile or laughed, watch some comedy clips on You Tube before you leave the house. It’s good to smile, it’s good to laugh, and you’ll get to work in a more positive frame of mind.

Fatmata Kamara, Specialist Nurse Adviser for Mental Health at Bupa UK, explains: “Personally, I can often find the humour in most things, and I love comedy shows. Whether it’s the Fresh Prince of Bel Air or You’ve Been Framed – they never fail to make me laugh. Genuine laughter is contagious, so help improve someone else’s mood – your partner or kids – by sharing a laugh with them too.”

6. Step outside in nature

Carve out a few minutes to stand in your garden or if you’re on your way to work, pause in a park. Mindfully appreciating the green leaves, the birdsong and the fresh air can help improve your mental wellbeing. Carry the notion through to the rest of your day by having regular mindful moments.

Meera Joshi, Mindfulness Expert at Bupa, says: “Spend a few moments focusing on nature – what you can see, hear, smell and feel. This will help to slow down and calm your mind –- allowing it to focus on something other than your thoughts. Mindfulness in nature is a great way to boost your concentration and creativity for the upcoming day.”

7. Factor in something that’s just for you

With kids, early meetings and a morning commute, it can be tricky to think about anything else first thing. But if you can, try doing something that’s not related to work for a few minutes at the start your day. This could be something towards your personal goals or something that’s just for pleasure. For example, rather than checking work emails on the train, why not listen to a podcast, read your novel, do the crossword, or research your next holiday?

Fatmata Kamara, Specialist Nurse Adviser for Mental Health at Bupa UK, also advises that: “having a healthy breakfast is very important in setting us up for a great day. Try not to skip breakfast. Eating a good breakfast can be likened to preparing ahead, just like having clothes and shoes ready for the following day. Time management is key.”

Even healthy people become unwell sometimes. Health insurance can help you get prompt access to the treatment and support you need to help you get back on the road to recovery. Learn more with our useful guide to understanding health insurance.

Natalie Heaton
Health and Lifestyle Editor at Bupa UK

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