Try this even before you open your eyes. Lift one arm and begin by stretching each finger, then your hand, then your wrist, and then your whole arm. Move on to the other arm. Then stretch your toes, feet, ankles, and legs. Finally, end with a neck and back stretch that propels you out of bed. You’ve just limbered up your muscles and joints and enhanced blood flow throughout your body, providing a shot of oxygen to all your tissues. Take up the entire length of the bed when you stretch. According to Harvard University psychologist Amy Cuddy, this “power pose” mimics the position of a bold person, making you feel more confident all day long.
When natural light from the sunrise creeps into your bedroom, it signals your brain to slow its melatonin production and boost cortisol, both of which tell your body to wake up. A flood of sunshine isn’t just an instant morning pick-me-up: A Northwestern University study found that people exposed to moderately bright light in the morning have a significantly lower body mass index than people who get the majority of their light exposure later in the day.
Did you know your body does these gross (but normal) things every morning?
No matter when you do it, meditating has numerous benefits, such as fighting insomnia, reducing stress and anxiety, increasing energy levels, boosting your immune system, and providing mental clarity. Meditating in the morning helps you set a peaceful tone right off the bat so you are less likely to get sidetracked. If you’re a novice, an app such as OMG I Can Meditate! can get you started. (You’ll find it on YouTube as well.) OMG even has a wake-up function that transitions your alarm right into a meditation session.