Even though most of us dread that morning alarm clock and struggle to get going in the a.m, it's important to cultivate good morning habits, as they can help set the tone for the day. As far as what not to do in the morning, there are a number of surprising habits that can ruin your mood, zap your energy, or make you less productive. Not every morning is going to be perfect, but if you try your best to avoid these habits first thing, you might find that the remainder of the day turns out a lot better than you expected.
"The quality of your habits determine the quality of life," Stacey Morgenstern, co-founder of Health Coach Institute, tells Bustle. "Consider which of these you're willing to commit to and just start at the beginning, when you first wakeup. It may feel strange at first because you have to interrupt the old habits, but soon the new habits will crowd out the old, and you may find yourself having more and more bright-eyed, focused, healthy, happy mornings."
Not all of these early morning habits to avoid are inherently bad, but some are just better off saved for the later morning or afternoon. Here are 11 surprising things you should never do right after you wake up, according to experts.
"When the alarm goes off, launch yourself out of bed and proactively greet the day," says Morgenstern. Not only can pressing snooze lead to stress and guilt, but it can also leave you feeling more tired than when you first woke up. In order to prevent your sleep cycle from starting over, and you feeling groggy as a result, try to commit to the first alarm, as difficult as it may be.
2Check Social Media
So many people check their social media first thing in the morning to get the latest gossip, news and family/friends happenings, but this can leave you feeling stressed. "Remember, you are coming out of a relaxed sleep and when you immediately bombard your brain with too much stimulus, your body can become stressed," Dr. David Friedman tells Bustle. "Ignore your phone until you're on your way out the door, when you’ve showered, dressed, eaten breakfast and your mind is more alert."
If you're a coffee drinker, you'll want to wait a bit before you pour yourself a cup. "The sheer activity of waking up elevates your cortisol levels to start with," health coach Kristen Battistelli tells Bustle. "Drinking a morning cup of joe will just make you jittery and hyper-alert, and confuse your body’s natural cortisol monitoring system, leading to an afternoon crash later. Studies say that the best timing for your daily cup of coffee is between 10 a.m. and noon."
4Choose Breakfast Options Without Protein
Something like a bagel or croissant is a quick option, but it can lead to an energy crash later in the day. "Although these foods may give you a quick jolt of energy, it will likely be followed by a blood sugar crash which could leave you feeling more hungry and sleepy, not to mention a little foggy and [potentially] grumpy as you roll into work," says Morgenstern. "Instead, eat high quality proteins and fats for a long-lasting source of energy to keep you focused and productive."
5Make Your Bed Right Away
Although it's good to make your bed and tidy up before you leave the house, you don't want to make your bed the second you wake up. Leaving your bed unmade initially can help kill off dust mites, as they thrive in a moist environment. Leaving your bed unmade for a bit can help any moisture dry out.
If your instinct is to reach right for that remote, you might want to think again, especially if you like to tune in to the news in the morning. "It’s just noise and negativity, aimed to get your cortisol levels pumping — not a healthy way to start the day after a restful night’s sleep," says Battistelli. "Aim to have quiet time in the morning and maintain a sense of peace and calm for as long as possible before the day begins."
7Leave Your Blinds Closed
Although it might be tempting to get ready in the dark to let your eyes adjust, you should let some light in as soon as you wake up. "Don’t keep the curtains and blinds closed," life coach Kirkland Shave tells Bustle. "Early morning daylight sets our circadian clock and ups our natural release of cortisol to put us on our game for all those decisions and concentration requirements at work."
8Twisting & Bending Your Body
It feels good to stretch your body out in the morning, but avoid anything too aggressive. "During sleep, your spinal discs absorb fluid as part of a natural rehydration process," health and wellness coach Jeffrey Siegel tells Bustle. "This causes the discs to expand, which is why you can actually be a few centimeters taller in the morning. However, this natural process also limits movement of the vertebrae and causes the spine to stiffen. As a result, flexing and bending when you first wakeup is not only harder but potentially dangerous." Move gently right when you wake up to avoid any injuries.
9Go Straight To Your To-Do List
Treat your first waking hour as a kind of moving meditation. While you're brushing your teeth or taking a shower, avoid thinking about what's ahead. "Don't think about your tasks, deadlines, pressures, or calendar," leadership expert Steve Farber tells Bustle. "Instead, let your thoughts and awareness move to the people and things in your life that you're grateful for.”
10Check Your Email
"Because people use their cell phone as an alarm clock, they are prone to instinctually check email before they've even wiped the boogers from their eyes," says Morgenstren. "By opening your email before you've gone to the bathroom and brushed your teeth, you are allowing someone else to set your priorities. That stack of to-do's in your inbox is more likely to drain your wellbeing, success and happiness than add to it."
11Make Too Many Decisions
Make the little decisions about your day before you go to bed. "Having a routine in place lets your brain work a bit on autopilot in the morning, meaning that you’re not wearing down your brain early in the day with 'decision fatigue,' says Battistelli. "You don’t want to waste each day’s finite amount of energy and brain power on silly things like 'What should I wear today?' or 'When will I be able to exercise?”
Sometimes these habits are inevitable, but if you can keep your mornings more calm and restful, experts say you'll feel better throughout the day.