Journey Through Anxiety 02: The Healing Power of Physical Activity
Good sleep starts in the morning. What many don't realize is that a well-crafted morning routine is crucial for achieving optimal sleep. In this article, we explore practical tools for optimizing your morning routine, drawing insights from Andrew Huberman, a professor of neurobiology and ophthalmology at Stanford School of Medicine.
The Science of a Productive
Morning Your morning routine sets the stage for your entire day, influencing everything from your focus to your sleep quality. Here are some key elements to consider:
1. Exposure to Natural Light
The first and most crucial step in your morning routine should be to get natural light in your eyes within an hour of waking up. This light exposure regulates your circadian rhythm by setting off a cortisol pulse, which enhances alertness, mood, and sets your body's temperature rhythm. If you wake up before the sun, start with artificial light and transition to sunlight as soon as possible.
2. Understanding Cortisol and Temperature Rhythms
Cortisol, often referred to as the "stress hormone," is also a vital component of our waking state. It peaks in the morning, under the influence of light, to help us feel alert and ready for the day. This cortisol pulse is aligned with our body temperature, which begins to rise upon waking and reaches its peak in the afternoon.
3. The Role of Physical Activity
Morning exercise can significantly enhance your alertness and mood. It helps to clear out adenosine, a sleep-inducing chemical that builds up in the brain, and can contribute to the 'afternoon crash' if not properly regulated.
4. Delaying Caffeine
Intake While it's tempting to reach for coffee first thing in the morning, delaying caffeine intake by about 60 to 90 minutes can be more beneficial. This delay allows the adenosine levels to decrease naturally, reducing the likelihood of an afternoon energy crash.
5. Cold Exposure
Incorporating cold showers or cold water exposure into your morning routine can trigger a release of dopamine and epinephrine, enhancing your mood and energy levels. This practice also contributes to increasing core body temperature, vital for maintaining alertness throughout the day.
Implementing the Routine
Crafting an effective morning routine involves aligning these elements to your personal schedule and lifestyle. Here are some tips to get started:
- Get Light Exposure: Spend 5-10 minutes outside in natural light each morning.
- Incorporate Movement: Engage in some form of physical activity, even if it's just a brief walk or stretch.
- Manage Your Caffeine: Delay your first cup of coffee until at least an hour after waking up.
- Experiment with Cold Exposure: Try a short cold shower and gradually increase the duration as comfortable.
Remember, these practices are not just about the immediate effects. They're about setting a rhythm for your body that promotes better sleep and overall well-being.