Good Morning: Start Every Day Healthy
Visualize your day
Once you're awake, close your eyes and picture yourself alert and energetic. "Imagining an activity fires up the same parts of your brain that are used when you actually experience it," says Lightman. "Thinking positively about the day ahead energizes you."
Drink a big glass of water
This is a good way to replenish the fluid your body loses overnight , and it provides instant energy. "Everything that happens in your body requires water," says Holly Andersen, MD, an assistant professor of medicine at Weill Cornell Medical Center. "Without enough of it, your systems have to work harder in every respect — which can cause fatigue." Indeed, even a 2% drop in water stores can tire you physically and mentally. Starting to sip early also gives you a head start on the 11 cups of water the Institute of Medicine now recommends women consume throughout the day to stay hydrated.
Let the light in
A splash of sunlight makes you feel more awake, so read the paper by a sunny window or step outside for a few minutes while having your coffee. "Daylight signals your biological clock to stop the secretion of melatonin, a hormone that makes you sleepy, and promotes wakefulness," says James B. Maas, PhD, a professor and past chairman of the department of psychology at Cornell University. It also increases the brain's level of serotonin, a chemical that boosts mood. If it's still dark when you get up, consider purchasing a dawn stimulator (from $80; lighttherapyproducts.com), a device that gradually brightens a light source at a preprogrammed time. Set it to create a dawn that breaks a half hour before your usual wake up time and grows to maximum brightness when your alarm goes off—even when your eyes are closed, the light that passes through your lids signals your internal clock to trigger waking neurons in your brain.
Rub yourself awake
"Massaging your face boosts circulation, making it a surefire way to wake up," says Maggy Dunphy, general manager of the Aria Spa and Club in Vail, CO. Starting at your forehead and working down to your chin, lightly flutter tap or drum your fingertips, varying the velocity, intensity, and location until you've touched your entire face. Bonus: These moves give you a quick healthy glow.
Physical activity is one of the best ways to shake off grogginess — and having sex boosts your body's levels of chemicals associated with stamina (testosterone), energy (dopamine), and calmness (oxytocin), says Helen E. Fisher, PhD, a research professor in the department of anthropology at Rutgers University. What a great way to start the day!
2. Get All-Day Energy
Nothing gives you a natural energy boost like exercise, which pumps fatigue-fighting oxygen to your cells and releases mood-boosting endorphins. Even a short session does the trick: In one study, workouts as brief as 10 minutes sparked energy levels for up to 2 hours. The 20-minute interval program below — which alternates brief bursts of high-intensity exercise with longer, slower segments — is ideal forAM exercisers. "The intervals are invigorating and will get your heart rate up much quicker than walking at a slower, steady pace," says Tracey Mallett, a certified personal trainer in Los Angeles who designed the workout. Another plus: Walking at a brisk pace burns more calories. Now that's something worth getting out of bed for.