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9 Tips for Your Best Morning Ever

Learn morning routine hacks that bring structure, clarity and productivity to your day.

A woman stretching her arms as she wakes up happy
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As people of the 21st century, we love getting our hands on tips, tricks and life hacks that will (hopefully) set us up for more productive days and brighter futures. But when it comes to tweaking our sleep patterns (especially our morning routines), less is usually more. 

If you Google any famous person or scroll through social media long enough, you'll find someone boasting a perfectly crafted morning routine. These can feel riddled with specific tasks you need to check off in order to have a good day, which is unsustainable for the average person.

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But the key takeaway from these morning rituals shouldn't be the specifics: It's the fact that there's a reliable routine, one that gives their life structure and helps them start the day off on the right foot. 

If you feel like you're starting off your day chaotic and rushed, here are some takeaways for you to create your very own specialized morning routine. 

Read more: The Time I Tried Polyphasic Sleep and Lost My Mind

A woman does yoga peacefully in front of a window

You, too, could be this peaceful once you land on the best routine to start your day.

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Wake up at a time that works for you

Not everyone's built to wake up at 5 a.m., so don't force it. Our internal clocks that determine our sleep-wake cycles are mainly biological, so some people just aren't meant to be super-early risers. If you wake up too early without getting adequate rest, you'll likely feel groggy and miserable... aka, not a great way to start your day.

Instead, try to set up a sustainable bedtime routine and wake up time that lets you catch a solid seven to nine hours of sleep. Once you've found a good time to set the alarm for, don't turn it off on the weekends. Sleeping in for more than an hour will throw off your whole routine.

Read more: The Key to Better Sleep

Establish a tech-free zone

Very few sentences may be easier said than done than this one: Don't check your phone first thing in the morning. Even if it's just 10 minutes, try establishing a certain amount of time after you wake up to not look at any screens (turning off your phone alarm probably doesn't count, but don't linger). It'll help you start off the day with a focused and intentional mindset.

On top of the instant stress mode you throw yourself into by scanning headlines or responding to a work email before your feet even hit the floor, checking your phone first thing in the morning may disrupt your brain's transition from asleep to fully alert, which could hurt your creativity and even disrupt your vision for the day, week and beyond. 

So though you might think you're getting a head start on the day by responding to a couple texts and checking the state of the world straight away, you may actually be tiring yourself out before you make it out of bed. 

A person's arm pulls back curtains, revealing sunlight

Natural light will do wonders for waking you up.

Nikaya Lewis/EyeEm/Getty Images

Get some natural light right away

Sunlight is an important cue our bodies use to know when it's time to be asleep or awake. Try to open a window or get out in the morning light right after you wake up: It'll help you feel more awake and alert, and it should also make it easier to fall asleep later that night.

If you wake up before the sun has risen, you can purchase an alarm clock that will mimic a sunrise like the Philips Wake-Up Light Alarm Clock or the HomeLabs Sunrise Alarm Clock. You can also use a little DIY spirit to transform your smart lighting into a simulated sunrise clock.

Let the rays touch your face before you take on the day.

A woman drinks a glass of water in bed

Try to get a glass of water down before you touch any coffee.

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Drink a glass of water right away

If you always feel tired and lethargic when you wake up, or if you have a headache, it could be because you're dehydrated from the night's sleep. Downing a glass of water in the morning will help you feel more awake and energized. Plus, this will remind you to keep drinking water throughout the day so you can experience all the amazing side effects of proper hydration

We recommend hydrating before you reach for a cup of coffee or have breakfast.

Make your bed

We may not be your mother, but we're still going to tell you to always make your bed in the morning. It'll help your self-esteem -- it feels good to accomplish a simple task right away, and it can even reinforce the idea that you are a person who deserves to live in a clean and tidy space.

The National Sleep Foundation even conducted a survey showing that people who make their beds in the morning sleep better at night, because their bedrooms are neater and more comfortable.

Do some morning pages 

"Morning pages" are basically unstructured stream of consciousness journal entries without design or specific purpose. The purpose of morning pages is to put pen to paper first thing in the morning and scribble down whatever comes to mind (feelings, regrets, goals, dream sequences, ideas, random thoughts) for a page or three. Don't think about what you're writing or feel like it has to make sense.

This is a practice touted by some creatives as not only a way to get the idea juices flowing, but it may also help clear your mind of anything bothering you by knocking the gunk out of your head and onto paper.

A person journaling while drinking coffee
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Write a short to-do list 

After you've woken up, had some water and maybe dabbled in some morning pages, try jotting down a list of the most important things you'd like to get done that day. Make sure to keep it brief: Writing a checklist of 25 to-dos will likely leave you feeling stressed and overwhelmed. Instead, list three or four major goals for the day. That way, you can focus your energy on the tasks that matter most.

Cups of colorful overnight oats

Overnight oats are a delicious and customizable breakfast you can make ahead of time.

Chocolate Covered Katie

Eat a nutritious breakfast. Or don't

Browse a bunch of successful people's morning routines and you're sure to see many different approaches to breakfast. Some say that nutrient-dense meals like oatmeal or eggs are necessary to kick start their day, while others swear by intermittent fasting and skip the food for several hours after waking up. 

There's no one universally good breakfast: It depends on your nutrition goals, preferences and morning schedule. It also depends on how naturally hungry you are in the morning. (Some people tend to be much hungrier later in the day and don't have an appetite the first few hours they're awake, for example.)

If you can't focus on an empty stomach, a simple breakfast you can prepare ahead of time (like overnight oats or egg white bites) will be key to starting your day.

Get your blood flowing by moving or stretching

If you like working out first thing in the morning, excellent. Some people swear by a morning exercise to wake them up and energize them for the rest of the day. 

But you may find stretching or doing a few yoga poses are enough for an energizing boost that grounds you and may even increase your flexibility. (But don't push your body past its limits.) Stretching also feels good and can be one extra thing you do for yourself in the morning.

Bonus: Don't overload your morning routine

After a long list of advice, this seems silly to say. But, the key is to choose the morning habits that work best for you. Try to keep the list short enough so that it doesn't feel like a burden. If your morning checklist is stressing you out before you even wake up, it's probably not sustainable. 

As sure as the sun rises, you can always tweak your routine. 

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.