Meet Gregory, a writer and the brains behind Face Dragons. He's the go-to guy for getting things done. Gregory's been living the digital nomad life in Asia for as long as anyone can remember, helping clients smash their goals. He writes on topics like software, personal knowledge management (PKM), and personal development. When he's not writing, you'll catch him at the local MMA gym, nose buried in a book, or just chilling with the family.
Love them or hate them, mornings are the time to wake up and start getting things done. That might be easy for you if you’re an early bird who wakes up chirpy every morning, but what about us night owls? By the end of this post, you’ll know ten ways to wake yourself up when you’re still feeling groggy so you can be more productive and face the dragons of the day.
Here at Face Dragons, we love waking up early so we can get a jump start on the day. If you wake up at 9.00 am. You’re not going to outwork me if I started at 6.00, no matter how late you stay up. But on the days when you either don’t wake up on time or do but still feel like going back to bed, use these ideas to wake yourself up.
Drink Cold Water to Wake Your Body Up
Aside from going to the bathroom, drinking water should be the first thing you do in the morning. The feeling of cold water in your mouth will help wake your mind up, and when it hits your stomach, it tells your body to awaken. Drinking water signals the body that it’s time to get up and get going.
Adding a squeeze of lemon or lime into your water will wake you up faster; the added acid is a stronger signal to your stomach. Tony Robbins recommends drinking cold water with lemon in Time of Your Life and still uses it to detox now.
- Keep a glass of water by your bed so it’s there when you wake up
Open the Window and Breath Fresh Air
Throughout the night, you’ve been breathing the same air repeatedly; now it’s morning and time to rise and shine. So open the windows and let the morning air fill your lungs. It’s crisp, fresh, and full of oxygen, which the brain needs to wake up and be alert.
Get Some Sunlight on Your Face
Remember those solar-powered calculators which only come alive when light touches that dark strip? Well, you’re just like one of those calculators, and your skin is like that solar panel strip.
when light hits our skin, it activates specialized cells called melanopsin-containing cells in the retina of our eyes, which send signals to the brain’s suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN.) It’s this part of the brain that helps release hormones like cortisol that focus the mind and stop you from feeling sleepy.
Plump the Pillows and Make the Bed
You might have heard that making the bed in the morning will make you more productive, but it also helps you wake up. In addition, making the bed after you get out of it does a few things.
- It stops you from getting back in.
- It tells the subconscious that the “bed part of the day” is over.
- It gives you a boost of productive energy for completing a task.
It also means that you’ll have a nice bed to return to later this evening to get a good night’s sleep.
Try Yoga or Tai Chi
I was such a tai chi fan that I moved to China and trained with the Chen family lineage holder in Beijing. I used to have early morning private lessons before going to work. Nothing woke me up like a session of tai chi. By the end, I’d be buzzing with energy.
If tai chi isn’t your thing, yoga is also a great early morning exercise to help shake off the cobwebs. You don’t need to do an entire yoga session or find a class; you can just do a short ten-minute routine of sun salutations to say good morning to the sun.
Do it outside and get the combined benefits of the air, light, and grass all at once.
Get Wet to Wake Yourself Up!
Wash your face or jump in the shower; it’s guaranteed to rid you of that groggy feeling and make you feel fresh and awake. For more of a shock factor, turn the water to freezing cold. Cold showers have been shown to improve circulation and combat the symptoms of depression, which is just what you need in the morning.
Make Coffee: The Smell Alone Will Wake You Up
I love the smell of coffee in the morning. Sometimes my wife orders Starbucks and puts it on my bedside table. It’s perhaps the best way to wake up in the morning.
The routine of grinding coffee beans and making a nice cup of joe tells your brain it’s time to be alert. The smell of coffee fills the house, which will keep you productive if you’re working at home, and the caffeine will keep your mind sharp until lunch (or your next cup.)
Talk to Someone, Engage Your Mind
Socializing does different things to different people. For example, for extroverts talking to others gives them energy and makes them happy. On the other hand, if you’re very introverted, socializing so early in the morning might only exhaust you, so you should avoid it. But for extroverted introverts, it might still be an excellent way to jump-start your day.
Omniverts and ambiverts must decide which side of the extroversion scale they are on that day before starting a Zoom call with all their friends and family.
Stretch First Thing in the Morning
There are two kinds of stretching. First, there’s the one you do when you’re still in bed, where you point your toes and stretch your arms up as far as they go. Then there’s the kind that requires a warm-up and a few minutes working on each hamstring.
Both are good ways to limber up the body for the day. But I rarely want to do a whole stretching routine first thing in the morning. So instead, I opt for the quick full-body stretch either while lying in bed or having coffee.
Go Outside in the Natural Sunlight on Grass
If you have a garden, you can’t beat standing on grass with bare feet in the morning. It connects you to nature while giving you the sunlight and fresh air you need (see above.)
When the weather is good, I’ll take my coffee outside with my planner and combine as many of these ideas as possible.
Focus on Your To-Do List
Why do you wake up each day if not to get things done? One way to put the night behind you is to focus on the day and what you want to do. The best way to do this is with a daily to-do list.
My minimalist productivity system requires just two lists, a complete task list and a daily to-do list. Each day I make a list of the tasks I will get done. I have a custom-made leather planner I do this in. Writing my daily to-do list is critical to my daily morning routine.
Get Your Blood Pumping First Thing
When you sleep, your heart rate slows as your body and mind require less oxygen, so in the morning, you should snap yourself out of your sleep state by getting your blood flowing again. You don’t need to do a full workout to achieve this. Any of these ideas will be enough to get your heart pumping and fill your cells with oxygen.
- Some pushups
- Body weight squats
- A handstand
- A wall squat
Don’t go crazy; just feel yourself breathing heavier, then get on with your morning.
Play a Morning Playlist
Finding me dancing around in my kitchen, listening to music while I make my morning coffee, always makes my family laugh and makes me feel good too. There’s something about listening to a song you love that just makes you smile.
It just makes sense to add that to your new morning routine.
Eat a High-Protein Breakfast to Keep You Wide Awake All Day
Most breakfasts aren’t really what you should fuel your body with first thing. Cereal, Pancakes, Toast, etc., are all heavy with carbohydrates. Carbs turn to blood sugar quickly after digestion, and then comes the crash, which saps you of your energy mid-morning or after lunch. To avoid the sugar crash, eat a breakfast high in protein and healthy fats rather than carbs.
- Keto Coffee
- Last night’s leftovers
Make it Easier on Yourself
The best way to ensure you feel lively in the morning is to make sure you get good quality sleep. That doesn’t only mean going to bed on time every night to get enough sleep. It also means getting deep sleep so you wake up feeling refreshed and rested.
Design yourself a manageable evening routine and try to stick to it. Or just try to:
- Avoid alcohol before bed
- Avoid screens
- Workout hard during the day