By Dr. Roger Walker
As we get older, our joints and muscles tend to stiffen while we sleep, making it difficult to get out of bed in the morning. After waking up and getting our feet on the floor, many people go straight for the coffee or quick breakfast to start their day.
This quick caffeine or sugar high from that morning pastry are a couple of the worst things you can do when first waking up.
It is important to create a morning routine that wakes you up the right way and helps get rid of those aches and pains. The first couple of hours after waking up can be the most productive time of day for many people. Making these few simple changes to your morning routine will help you wake up refreshed, get active, and ease those aching joints and muscles.
Stay away from screens
It’s easy to stay up at night and say to yourself, “I’ll watch just one more episode,” or take one more scroll through Facebook or Instagram. What you may not realize is all that blue light emitting from the screens makes it difficult to fall asleep. Your body associates blue light with daylight, which can alter your body’s natural circadian rhythm, making it harder to relax and get impactful sleep.
It is best to turn off all screens at least one hour before you get into bed. Instead of scrolling through your phone, read a book or meditate. These activities will help your body naturally relax, allowing you to fall asleep faster. Separating yourself from blue light before bed also helps you get the deep sleep your body needs to heal and refresh.
Hydrate after waking up
The first thing many people do in the morning is head straight for the coffee pot to get that much-needed boost of caffeine to start the day. Never start your day with caffeine. Instead, the first thing you need to do when you wake up is drink a tall glass of water, at least 8 ounces. Starting your day with a glass of water rehydrates the cells in your body and improves digestion. Water also helps with flushing out toxins and cleanses the colon, allowing for the better absorption of minerals throughout the day. Rehydrating first thing in the morning is beneficial for the heart as well, as the water helps the heart pump blood easier to the muscles. You don’t have to give up coffee or tea altogether. Just wait until after you have that first glass of water.
Stretch out the aches
Always include stretching in your morning routine. Spend 10 minutes in the morning after waking up to do some basic stretches. Touch your toes, stretch your arms, do a few lunges, or take a walk around your neighborhood. Getting outdoors to do your morning stretches and exercises is even more beneficial, as you will get direct sunlight, giving you much-needed vitamin D.
Eat a proper breakfast
Eating a healthy breakfast gives your body the fuel it needs to start the day. Instead of eating a quick bowl of cereal or a doughnut, start the day with a couple of eggs for protein, some fruit for vitamins, and a healthy carbohydrate like some multigrain toast; and don’t forget a healthy fat, too, such as half an avocado. When you eat sugary foods in the morning, it will make you feel sluggish throughout the day. By eating a healthy breakfast, you are giving your body the healthy energy it needs to function properly.
Changing your morning routine may take some time to get used to, but the rewards are worth it. Using these simple steps will help you wake up feeling refreshed and ease the aches and pains first thing in the morning. When considering a change in lifestyle, always consult your physician.
Dr. Roger Walker is the founder and chief operating officer of Valley Pain Centers in Phoenix. Walker was also a practicing physician for over 25 years, specializing in chiropractic and acupuncture. Walker is a fellow of the International Academy of Clinical Acupuncture.