This is a guest post by Flic Manning.
As Summer approaches we all love the idea of being *that* person that is up with the sun, full of energy, bursting to get out into the world declaring “I AM HERE AND READY TO LIVE”. I get it. I always wanted to be that person too, but like so many people, my attempts at being a morning person left me groggy, grumpy and in desperate need of more than my fair share of lattes. If this is sounding a little familiar, then don’t stress, because I eventually found a solution which has happily made me and my clients morning folk. And it is as simple as following my three golden rules!
1. Tweak Your Body Clock
Note that I didn’t write to change your body clock. No, all you need to do is tweak it. Slowly but surely. The most common issue I see is people making drastic changes to their sleeping patterns. But an all or nothing approach doesn’t work for the body. The body only likes what is sustainable, so if you go from dropping off to sleep at 1 am to 10 pm overnight, your body will freak out! Drastic changes set off a chain reaction of mismatched chemical releases so the body is unsure if it is meant to be doing it’s evening detox cycle, letting you sleep, or if there is something to panic about and therefore you need to be alert. Sleep affects your gut microbiome which is a bigger deal than you may think.
Considering approximately 80% of serotonin (happiness), 70% of your immune system, up to 4 times as many Cortisol receptors (stress hormone) and up to 100 million brain cells are created in the gut; shocking your digestive system by moving your sleep cycle rapidly will not bode well for you. You are much more likely to be snappy, you will be less productive and more prone to illness. I suggest that if you want to be able to get up earlier, then you will need to go to sleep earlier. Systematically winding back your own body clock is best done in 15-30 minutes increments over a period of weeks until you are settled on an amount of time in bed that works for you (on average 6-8 hours).
2. Build a “You Time” Routine
If you are not yet a morning person, your wake up routine might currently be as simple as having breakfast, chucking on some clothes and walking out the door. But to become a true morning person, I suggest making your morning less about functionality and more about inner harmony. If you can create a routine you actually look forward to doing then you will find getting up in the morning fulfilling, which will hold you in good stead throughout the day. With such busy lives, and so much of our spare time attached to devices that alter our chemicals and state of mind, starting your day by honouring what you are (read: human) might just be the thing that moves the needle for you.
Many of my clients have benefited from including some light exercise, meditation or breathing techniques into their wake-up routine. These activities lower stress, improve immunity, wake up the brain gently and loosen joints and muscles allowing you to feel limber, calm and ready for the day. Perhaps reading a chapter of a book, or popping on your favourite tunes whilst you have breakfast might be more your thing. The point is to do what works for you. Have a play and find out what makes you tick, before you pick up your device or rush out the door. This is what is referred to as Self-Care and it is truly essential for both your physical and mental wellbeing so don’t scrimp on “You-Time”.
3. Amp Up Your H2O Game
For loads of people, water doesn’t even factor into their morning routine and this usually means that caffeine, sugar and stimulants end up ruling their day. We all know that what goes up must come down and a caffeine and sugar low is a nasty one to face. Overnight your body is busily detoxing your systems to ensure toxins are ready to expel first thing in the morning. This means that the body is often dehydrated when you wake up and needs to be replenished in order to complete the cycle and set you up for a healthy and productive day.
If you reach straight for the coffee, tea or red bull, you are dehydrating the body further and stimulating your organs before they are ready, so the rest of the day you are actually functioning below par. Humans require water for all functions; from brain to stress control, mood, weight maintenance, ability to digest and retrieve nutrients from food, fend off colds and viruses and more. So I suggest that the first thing you do each morning is to grab a glass of water. Then you can have a cup of Joe. That first glass will have a greater effect on you than a cup of coffee will and allows you to finish detoxing (read: pee out your toxins) so that you can start the day with a fresh slate. This will also help regulate your sleep patterns.
The body is a slow-adaptor on purpose. It is how it protects itself and regulates its use of available resources. So expect that this adjustment period will take a few weeks. After following these golden rules for a few weeks you will be *that* morning person, and the best news is that it will improve other facets of your life too. So come join us morning folk and embrace the upcoming sunny season with a greater energy for life!
Flic Manning is the Founder of Corethentic, A Wellness Coach, PT, Author, Dancer, Meditation Coach and Keynote Speaker who is best known as “The Wellness Woman” across the globe. She is an Ambassador for Crohn’s and Colitis Australia, and is a Specialist in Chronic Pain management and creating behavioural changes using Neuroplasticity. You can follow her on Instagram @flicmanning or check out her services at www.corethenticbody.com