Bowl of breakfast grains with dried fruit and nuts, hands holding cup of tea and turning pages in open book.

· Article

Creating the Perfect Morning Routine for You

· Article

Creating the Perfect Morning Routine for You

Each morning, Jodi Helmer and her husband drink tea, review their social media, and cuddle with their dogs in their Charlotte home. Helmer, 43, is the author of “Growing your Own Tea Garden: The Guide to Growing and Harvesting Flavorful Teas in your Backyard,” also writes in her journal and plans her day.

Not everyone has such a Zen morning. But evidence suggests that the right morning routine empowers your day and, over time, can help create a mindset that contributes to your ability to be your most productive.

In fact, a study in the journal Emotion suggests that creating and following a morning routine decreases stress, depression and anxiety, and makes your to-do list seem less daunting.

Helmer, a busy author, finds the routine helps her stay on task and get in the zone for productive work.

Create a Personal Morning Routine

Helmer’s Zen routine may not be a fit for your personality, and that’s OK. A helpful morning routine starts with knowing yourself and creating a schedule that makes sense for you.

Try ideas on for size. Choose activities that energize you and you look forward to. Maybe that’s coffee with your favorite creamer, tea or a nice breakfast. It could be a walk with the dog or sitting outside on the patio with your family, as natural light snaps you out of morning grogginess and actually helps you sleep better later that night. You could play the piano, dance to a song you love, etc.

If morning exercise sounds good but you can’t make it to the gym early enough, move your workout to lunch time or early evenings. Likewise, if it’s too hectic to journal while the kids are getting dressed, subtract it from your morning and try before bedtime.

Starting your day with passion pursuits, things that make you feel good, healthy or give you a sense of accomplishment makes you more likely to stick with them. Consider reading, writing, outlining your day, blending a fresh smoothie or sending connection/networking emails with family, friends or colleagues. Select only options you think could become a constant.

Carefully Choose the Components

Your routine shouldn’t look like anyone else’s but be cultivated especially for you. Start by identifying what’s important to you. Set a few goals, whether you need more stimulation to wake up, a less hectic start to your day, more focus or greater productivity. Then brainstorm the activities that align with your goals.

Your routine could look something like this:

  • 9 p.m.: Lay out clothing and make lunches to reduces morning stress
  • 6 a.m.: Set a wake-up time and stick to it (waking up
    at the same time every morning helps your body get into a natural rhythm that will help you sleep better in the long term)
  • 6:15 a.m.: Coffee or tea, plan your daily tasks
  • 6:30 a.m.: Write in your journal
  • 6:45 a.m.: Exercise, walk the dog, stretch or practice yoga
  • 7:15 a.m.: Meditate, read, write email connections
  • 7:30 a.m.: Get dressed

Think of stacking your routine as a buffet of activities and choose only the ones that work with your lifestyle and personality.

Other calming morning rituals could include taking care of plants, brushing your teeth or doing the dishes mindfully while trying to stay in the moment. You might take a few minutes every morning to consider a word that represents a theme for your day, such as accomplish, kindness, or cultivate.

Not every idea will fit your morning routine, but experimenting can help you create a routine that will leave you pumped and productive.

Helmer says her calming routine fits her and her husband’s personality and sets a mindful tone to the day. “It keeps me balanced and productive,” she says.

Think of developing a new morning routine as a skill you’re constantly honing. While you’re getting it down, try the free Sleep30 Challenge by Sleep Number, a four-week guided program to help you improve your sleep habits so you sleep better.

Like diet and exercise, quality sleep is essential for optimal well-being and performance. Because everyone’s sleep needs are different, Sleep Number 360® smart beds, with SleepIQ® technology inside, sense your movements and automatically adjust firmness, comfort and support to keep you both sleeping comfortably. Find your Sleep Number® setting for your best possible night’s sleep.

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