Good Morning: Start Every Day Healthy

Here's a wake-up call: What you do in the hour after you get up can help you look and feel your best for the rest of the day. The right moves and foods will give you the focus, stamina, and positive outlook you need to plow through your busy schedule. Plus, you'll kick-start your metabolism, helping you torch extra calories and melt more fat. Our get-up-and-go routine outlines the latest research-based tips guaranteed to make your morning a true power hour.

1. Wake Up Refreshed

Even early birds can find it difficult to slip out from under their warm, cozy covers on dark winter mornings. Here's how to make it easy:

Note good things to come

Before going to bed, put a sticky note on your alarm clock reminding you of something fun or exciting that's happening the next day. "Because of hormonal shifts that occur while we're asleep, the majority of us wake up feeling a bit down or in a so-so mood," says Dana Lightman, PhD, a behavioral psychologist in Abington, PA. "Remembering that you're having lunch with a friend or that your favorite TV show will be on that night gives you a quick lift."

Keep a cool bedroom
A toasty room temperature makes it easier to nod off, but you may wake up groggy. Lowering your thermostat right before turning out the lights maintains the warmth you need to fall asleep and will cool the room overnight — allowing you to rise and shine. Don't make it too chilly, though: Experts say the ideal temperature is between 60° and 70°F.

Surround yourself with color
"Seeing a bright, vibrant hue when you open your eyes gets your adrenaline going — and that sudden surge of energy helps clear the cobwebs and kicks you into gear," says Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. Put a red, orange, yellow, or fuchsia throw pillow, blanket, or piece of art in the area you first see in the morning, or slip on a robe in one of these shades. You can even make breakfast visually stimulating (and get a nutritional boost) by pouring yourself a glass of antioxidant rich pomegranate or cranberry juice with a sweet slice of orange.

Put flowers by your bedside

Seeing a bouquet of blooms when they first woke up gave women in a new study a mood lift and energy boost that lasted all day, reports Nancy Etcoff, PhD, a faculty member at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard University Mind/Brain/Behavior Initiative.

Don't hit the snooze button

There's truth in the adage "You snooze, you lose." When you hit snooze, your brain knows it will go off again in a few minutes — so you won't go into the deeper, more restful stages of slumber. That means you'll be more tired than if you'd gotten up when it first sounded. A better strategy: "Set your alarm for when you really need to get up," says Jodi Mindell, PhD, associate director of the Sleep Disorders Center at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. "That extra, uninterrupted sleep makes you feel more rested and refreshed when you get out of bed."

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