The 6 Worst Morning Habits You Should Definitely Stop Today

The 6 Worst Morning Habits You Should Definitely Stop Today1

The daily don’ts may seem harmless, but they could be sapping your energy, stressing you out, and giving you more unpleasant side effects.

The 6 Worst Morning Habits You Should Definitely Stop Today

How you start your morning can set the tone for the rest of the day. A screaming match with your partner? Not a good way to start. A good, hearty breakfast? Much better. But your day could just as easily be derailed by other, more seemingly innocuous habits. How many of these do you do?

Ever noticed that when you sleep well and wake up feeling rested, your day seems to go more smoothly? Or that, conversely, when you have a hectic morning, the following hours seem scattered and intense? The way you start your day really sets the tone for the rest of your waking hours.

As a morning person, there are a few routines that I am confident will leave me feeling less than ideal throughout the day. So, if you’re trying to make the most of your time, here are 6 examples of bad morning habits you should skip – and what you should do instead.

HITTING THE SNOOZE BUTTON

Hitting the snooze button is frequently a great sign that you are not getting enough sleep.  When you hit snooze, you disrupt your sleep cycles and you end up sleepier than if you had gotten up in the first place. You also scramble your internal circadian clock, which tells you when to sleep and when to wake. This makes it even harder to get up when your alarm rings.

Also, cortisol levels are highest in the morning.  Rushing to get ready for work, getting the kids ready for school, the stress of your daily work commute or that business meeting presentation you have to give today.

Instead: Try waking up with a “dawn simulator”, which can be used as your alarm clock. A device that begins putting out light in your room 20 to 30 minutes before your wake-up time by allowing light to enter through the eyelids, triggering the body to begin its wake-up cycle – so that by the time the light is at full brightness, sleepers wake up on their own, without the need of an alarm.

These work great especially during the mid-winter when it is still dark and cold outside.

CHECKING YOUR PHONE BEFORE YOU GET OUT OF BED

A study from the University of British Columbia found that people who checked their email regularly throughout the day were more stressed than those who checked them three times a day.

You may feel like looking at your phone helps you wake up, but researchers say you may awaken more than yourself with this habit. Unfortunately, checking your phone can awaken your “Inner Critic”, that incessant voice in your mind that is always assessing, judging and evaluating you, and never shuts up.

When you start the day listening to the Inner Critic, your stress level immediately goes up.  Your brain begins to produce stress hormones, and your body responds, and before you know it, you are tense and agitated, your blood pressure is elevated, and your day hasn’t even started yet!”

Instead: charge your phone in another room, and pick it up after you have done your self-care in the morning—gotten showered, dressed, and had something to eat or drink. Then you can check your phone from a nourished place of calm.

HAVING DESSERT FOR BREAKFAST

I don’t mean eating cheesecake or cookies, obviously, but a lot of breakfast staples – like waffles, cereal, and muffins – are packed with sugar and carbohydrates. While these ingredients taste delicious, once you come down (read: crash) from your sugar high (which happens a lot sooner than you’d think!), you’ll be left irritable and hungry for more food.

Instead: I recommend a healthy smoothie. Thanks to the fruit, you can satisfy sweet-loving taste buds, while also getting in a serving of veggies, along with healthy fat and protein via coconut milk or oil, bone broth protein powder, collagen, or other healthy mix-ins.

Here are two of our favorite daily morning smoothies:

  1. Coconut water, spinach, frozen mangoes, chia seeds and powdered collagen

protein to help your joints.

  1. If you’re looking for more protein in your smoothie and a creamier taste, we use one scoop of a vanilla protein powder, almond milk, one banana, one scoop of almond butter and a dash of cinnamon.

SKIPPING MORNING WORKOUTS

I get it. Mornings aren’t for everyone. But if you’re an evening fitness fan – or if you avoid working out altogether – you might want to consider changing your routine.

If you can exercise in the morning, you may be doing your body a day-long favor. There’s research that has looked at people engaging in morning versus afternoon exercise, and those who exercise in the morning appear to have lower blood pressure throughout the day and they get better sleep.  Who doesn’t want that?

Getting your blood pumping first thing in the morning is actually a great way to boost energy levels. Unfortunately, evening workouts can lead to tossing and turning if you’re hitting the gym too close to bedtime.  Ever wonder why parents don’t ever want their children to be riled up (i.e. wrestling or running around the house) right before bedtime?  How is working out before bed any different?  It raises your sympathetic nervous system and it takes a while for your body to regulate itself. Switching to a morning sweat session can lead to deeper, higher-quality sleep.

Additionally, morning workouts help boost your metabolism, burning more calories throughout the day and increasing productivity. You’re also more likely to make healthier choices at mealtime if you’ve exercised first thing.

Instead: To make mornings easier, I suggest getting as much done the night before as possible. That means having a lunch packed and ready to go in the fridge, laying out or even sleeping in your workout clothes, and completing any other necessary preparations for the next day. I know, that word “preparation” scares many, but it is the only way to succeed in life.  Minimizing early morning tasks means getting more shuteye and making it less likely you’ll hit snooze and skip that all-important workout.

DRINKING A DAY’S WORTH OF CALORIES AND SUGAR

A coffee with a splash or two of milk or creamer? Good way to start the day. But when your daily drinks contain a heap of sugar, cream, syrups, and all the other ingredients that premium coffees typically contain, it’s easy to pack on calories without even realizing it. And that’s before you’ve had any solid food!

When you opt for these health traps masquerading as coffee, all the sugar and preservatives leave you feeling hungry, so you still end up chowing down on food, even though you’ve already eaten the caloric equivalent of a meal (or more!). When you multiply that by all the coffee drinks you’re ordering, the numbers really add up.

Instead: If you still need your morning caffeine fix, consider my favorite “bulletproof coffee”. Black coffee is mixed with a healthy fat like grass-fed butter or ghee and then combined with MCT oil. Yes, I can hear you already, “butter and oil in my coffee?” Yes, you heard me right…don’t knock it until you try it.  The result is a cup of coffee that isn’t filled with empty calories. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. You get the energy boost you crave, while the healthy fats actually make you feel full and you’ll be ready to take on the world.  Bulletproof – and delicious.  Fill’er up!

FORGETTING TO STRETCH

Can you touch your toes first thing in the morning?  If you’ve ever felt stiff in the morning—almost like you can’t bend your knees or walk quite right, it’s not just you. Overnight, muscles and joints can stiffen as they “sleep” right along with you. If you just try to hop out of bed, you may feel muscle twinges where you didn’t know you had muscles.

But you’re in luck!  Recent research has showed how a daily stretching routine which keeps you supple and flexible can slow down aging…despite your age!

So, no excuses like “I don’t have time in the morning”.  Guess what?  Wake up 10-15 minutes earlier.  Like I said, no excuses!

Instead: Try to perform a 10-15-minute stretching routine every morning and throughout the day to help you stay ahead of the game.  I recommend my simple program which is 6 simple yoga poses which will also help eliminate annoying low back pain and stiffness.

So, there you have it, 6 of the worst morning habits you should definitely stop today to help you stay healthy, feeling great, happy and living a better life.   And if you’re not part of the LEVEL4 family yet, click below to join and receive almost weekly health tips to help you stay informed and make the best decisions for your health. It’s free, and we’re always here to lend support when you need it. Plus, you can also get an opportunity to speak with one of our specialists about any of our health and wellness programs which we hold on a weekly basis at LEVEL4 – to help you take the next step in your health journey.

Dedicated to your health,

Dr. Oscar 🙂

Oscar Andalon, DPT, STC, MTC, CSCS, CF-L1, MWOD, USAW, FMS/SFMA

Performance Physical Therapist at LEVEL4 PT & Wellness
Dr. Oscar Andalon is a leading and trusted sports physical therapist, strength coach, performance enhancement specialist, educator, author, and Co-Founder of LEVEL4 PT & Wellness – an Encinitas integrated wellness center for people in their 40’s, 50’s and beyond, who value their health and want to restore or maximize their active and healthy lifestyle.

For more than 16 years, thousands of athletes, fitness enthusiasts and active people of all ages, levels and sports including Olympic medalists, professional, collegiate and recreational athletes have consulted Oscar; looking for answers to concerning questions about a fast end to their pain and best ways to improving performance.

Prior to living in Carlsbad, CA, he worked as Clinic Director for a 20,000 sq.ft. sports physical therapy and performance center. He became known as the “athlete whisperer” in the Pacific Northwest by becoming the leading sports performance enhancement physical therapist and CrossFit injury rehab and performance specialist. He also was known as a consultant to the Nike WHQ in Portland, OR.

Oscar’s passion for excelling in sports earned him the opportunity to compete in soccer both at the Division 1 collegiate level at the University of San Francisco and at the professional level playing for the California Jaguars; giving him the understanding and experience of knowing what it takes to perform and excel at the highest level of competition. Oscar is an orthopedic and sports performance specialist with a true passion for helping athletes and fitness fanatics of all ages and divisions, serving as an educator to bridge the gap between rehab and strength and conditioning.
Oscar Andalon, DPT, STC, MTC, CSCS, CF-L1, MWOD, USAW, FMS/SFMA

Latest posts by Oscar Andalon, DPT, STC, MTC, CSCS, CF-L1, MWOD, USAW, FMS/SFMA (see all)

You Might Also Like...