- Open your blinds – and close your laptop earlier at night.
Go to sleep with your blinds cracked slightly open. When morning rolls around, you’ll awaken to a stream of light pouring through your window as a natural alarm clock. Light hitting your skin signals your pineal gland to stop producing melatonin, the hormone that regulates your sleep-wake cycles—so before you even have the chance to hit the brew button on your Keurig, you’ll feel more awake. That being said, make sure you shut off any blue-light emitting electronics well before bedtime. This artificial light suppresses melatonin production making falling asleep at night difficult (Kresser).
- Lace up your sneakers.
A morning workout will instantly boost your mood and set the tone for the rest of the day. This way, you won’t have your workout hanging over your head if you get your sweat on first thing in the morning. Also, the temperature is typically lower in the morning, making your jog a bit more manageable than in the afternoon when the blazing sun is beating down on you.
- Blast some music or listen to a podcast.
Turn on some music or press play on the most recent episode of your favorite podcast while you brush your teeth, get dressed, and make yourself breakfast to ensure you truly wake up on the right side of the bed. According to a study published in Nature Neuroscience, listening to music “can arouse feelings of euphoria” and “elicit highly pleasurable emotional responses” (Salimpoor). If music is not your thing, then an intellectually stimulating podcast will get your thoughts in gear before you show up groggy-eyed to your 8AM class.
- Treat yourself to a tasty, protein-rich breakfast.
We all know by now that eating breakfast is crucial to your health and wellbeing—however, not everyone knows what to eat for breakfast for optimal mood and cognition. A study published in Health looking at the influences of protein in breakfast on mood, alertness, and attention in students found that participants scored higher for positive mood when they ate high protein breakfasts compared to meals lower in protein (Zeng). Incorporate eggs, plain Greek yogurt, chicken sausage, bacon, or smoked salmon into your breakfast for a protein punch.
- Prepare the night before.
Save yourself the stress of scrambling to get your things together five minutes before you’re supposed to leave for class in the morning by preparing the night before. Fill your backpack, pack some snacks, and set out your clothes before you shut your eyes at night so its smooth sailing once your alarm goes off.
- Set your alarm for 10 minutes early—and don’t hit snooze.
According to a study in Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, sleep fragmentation (which occurs when you frequently hit the snooze button) “alters almost all behavioral and neurocognitive domains” (McCoy). Skip the extra ten minutes of shut-eye and use those valuable minutes to do a gentle yoga sequence, meditate, catch up on the news, or anything that calms you and prepares you for the day ahead.
By Julie Kameisha