6 Morning Health Hacks to Boost Productivity and Keep You Energized All Day
Entrepreneur's New Year’s Guide
Entrepreneurs and business professionals are very busy people and with that, often comes burnout. The day-to-day grind of trying to accomplish a laundry list of tasks can seem beneficial at first, but can lead to the body crashing internally over a long period of time. If you notice you are tired in the morning despite a good night’s sleep, feel the need for an afternoon nap or just have brain fog the entire day, it may be a sign that adrenals and hormones have already started to create long-term damage inside.
Just one day of experiencing these symptoms can push your business productivity and happiness back tremendously. Therefore, it is critical that you set yourself up for success in business -- and in life. But it can be difficult to put health first.
As a nurse practitioner-turned-health business owner, I have seen many entrepreneurs, CEOs and top executives crash and burn before realizing they need to revamp their health. And it all starts with how you begin the day.
Here are six simple and quick ways to boost your energy, enhance productivity and help you perform at your highest each day.
1. Focus on your circadian rhythm.
Circadian rhythm is the change made physically and mentally as related to your daily cycle, or biological clock. It’s like your daily sleep-wake cycle. Most of us have improper circadian rhythms due to waking up before the sun, staying inside all day and being exposed to artificial blue light from our many screens. Some research has found it can lead to brain damage, aging, metabolism disturbance and sleep complications. Luckily, we can reset our circadian rhythm quite easily.
Here’s how: Get outside three times a day during sunrise, midday and within two hours of sunset. The light frequency from the sun at those times will activate the energy cells in your body, elevate mood, boost metabolism, decrease stress hormone cortisol and combat afternoon fatigue and/or nighttime insomnia.
2. Shorten your eating window.
Science shows that shortening the window of time in which you eat may prevent disease and and improve many health indicators such as fat metabolism, sleep quality and quantity, sugar regulation and inflammation. An according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, it can reduce weight and increase the ability to feel full and satisfied after eating. It boosts energy and even greatly reduces any food cravings of sugars and carbs.
Here’s how: Start by writing out your typical schedule, as everyone’s window of eating will be different based on when they wake, exercise and sleep. Decide what time you’d like to eat your first meal. For some, this may be right upon awakening. For others, this may be more toward the early afternoon. After you’ve determined that time, count up eight hours to determine what time your last meal will be. Then, during the times you will be eating, further break down what time each meal will be, so your body becomes consistent with knowing when to release digestive enzymes to prepare to digest and absorb a meal.
3. Wake up the right way.
A survey found that an astounding 89 percent of cellphone users check their phones within the first hour of waking up. Checking your phone first thing in the morning not only harms your circadian rhythm by exposing your eyes and skin to artificial blue light instead of sunlight, but it also puts the brain into an immediate stressed state which can give false urgency and anxiety producing “to-do” list. When you check your phone right away, you are immediately bombarded with tasks others are asking of you -- rather than your own priorities -- and are put in a state of reaction. Instead, have your morning time be about setting intentions for the day, practicing gratitude and fueling your mind, body and soul.
Here’s how: In the first hour or so of your day, boost performance and positivity for the day by focusing on internal health. Some suggestions include journaling and meditation, expressing gratitude, exercising and stretching or getting fresh air outside.
4. Change up your coffee routine.
I get it. Coffee is the lifeblood for many. And while caffeine can definitely give you an energy boost, what we put in our cup of joe can detract make us less productive -- and mess with our body’s chemistry. Check out how to optimize your coffee routine.
Here’s how: Quit the creamer. Creamer can be filled with hydrogenated oils, syrups and artificial flavors and sweeteners which can wreak havoc on your body. The American Health Academy warns not to be fooled by “sugar-free” labels, either, as this does not mean healthy. In fact, artificial sugar substitutes found in many creamers can lead to more damage in the body than sugar itself, as your body is tricked into thinking it has an influx of sugar, but it is unable to process that sugar and disrupts the feedback loops in our bodies that control insulin levels and sugar regulation, leading to weight gain, diabetes and cravings. Opt for non-dairy coconut or almond milk instead.
Also, if you can skip the sugar, The Journal of American Medical Association explains that excess amounts of sugar causes inflammation in the body and can lead to things like weight gain and increased risk of heart disease, as well as an energy crash not long after consuming it. Instead, use all natural sweeteners such as stevia drops, monk fruit or coconut sugar, that do not have the same damaging effects in the body as table sugar.
5. Get cold in the shower.
Although we love the comfort of a nice long warm shower in the morning, those are better for later in the day around bedtime, as increased body temperature winds the body down in preparation for sleep. Cold showers in the morning, on the other hand, will wake you up and have you feeling more alert and focused throughout the day. Cold showers increase the hormone norepinephrine which gets released into the brain where it functions as a boost to your energy, alertness and concentration.
Here’s how: Simply turn the water to cold for a few seconds during your morning shower and work your way up to an entire cold shower.
6. Create a brain-boosting smoothie.
The National Health Service suggests that adding healthy fats like hemp seeds, avocado, coconut oil, MCT oil, almonds or walnuts into a morning smoothie will boost brain power, regulate sugars and balance hormones. It further explains that fat helps the body absorb vitamins A, D and E. Add in green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale or collard greens for added nutrients to nourish the body.
Here’s how: The smoothie I recommend has good fats, fiber and veggies in it, along with a plant-based protein powder. Check out Kelly LeVeque’s “Fab Four” smoothie site for some of my approved recipes. I like to use water as the base instead of any type of milk or nut milk. The brain and body is made of 75 percent water, so adding it to your morning smoothie will immediately help to replenish your supply.