Written by Joe Fleming
Struggling to get ready in the morning? While getting older affords the freedoms of retirement, it also comes with its aches and pains that can make any morning routine a bit sluggish. If you’re looking for sure-fire ways to spice up your morning rituals and get going faster, don’t miss this essential guide:
Let the sunshine in
While listening to the song Aquarius may help you get a jump on the morning, this tip is a bit more literal. Natural sunlight exposure has been shown to serve as an environmental prod that triggers the body’s biological clock to get going. If you think about it, long before electricity existed, people’s wake and sleep cycles operated in accordance with the rising and setting of the sun. This evolutionary cue still plays a role today.
Open your blinds or curtains as soon as you wake up in the morning and let the sunshine in. Even step outside on your porch to breathe in fresh air and awaken your senses to the sights, smells, and sounds around you.
Simplify getting dressed
Common conditions like arthritis and even diabetes can make getting dressed in the morning a bit of a hassle – from fumbling with buttons to having to bend over to put on pants and shoes. Simplify this part of your morning routine with easy, inexpensive dressing aids. For example, a long-handled shoe horn can avoid causing back pain commonly associated with having to stoop and bend over to put on shoes.
You can also find dressing aids that help you pull up zippers, button shirts, put on pants, and more. Look at your local drugstore, supercenter, or big box store for the best options.
Drink water first
While tearing into the coffee may be your bulletproof way of yanking your eyes open in the morning, you might want to think first about consuming a more hydrating beverage, water. Drinking more water, in general, has not only been shown to kickstart your metabolism, but 1 to 2 glasses in the morning also helps to rehydrate the body after a night spent sleeping.
Healthy hydration in the morning can also aid digestion and stave off cravings for big breakfasts loaded with refined sugars and flours, notoriously unhealthy foods.
Listen to music
You may have heard about the powers music possesses in activating cognitive functions like memory, motor processing, and emotion. It could also be the key to boosting your own mood in the morning! Research has shown that music improves cheerfulness and alertness and induces feelings of relaxation.
If you are a morning grump, try putting together a playlist of songs you love – could be happy pop, old standards, or classical gems, it’s up to you! Don’t have a stereo or CD player? Use free music streaming services like Spotify or Pandora on your computer or smartphone to create playlists and listen to music you love.
Avoid bad late-night habits
Want to wake feeling more refreshed and energized in the morning? Turns out what you do and don’t do the night before can have a significant impact. Bad late-night habits that affect your quality and amount of sleep include:
- Blue light exposure from devices like your smartphone or iPad
- Drinking caffeine late in the day
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Sleeping on an unsupportive mattress and/or pillow
Your mornings are sure to change for the better as your sleep quality improves as well. Facilitate the best sleeping environment by avoiding the above bad habits as well as making sure your sleeping area is dark, cool, and relatively quiet. Aids like white noise machines help some people fall asleep or at least mask the outside sounds of urban environments. Take these simple steps and you’ll wake more well-rested and ready to start the day the following morning.
It goes without saying that a little forethought can go a long way. If you want to ramp up the steam in your morning engine, try planning ahead the night before. This can include everything from picking out the clothes you’re going to wear the next day, to getting your morning music playlist ready, and even sorting your morning medicines into a handy pill organizer.
Committing to a relatively fixed order of doing things can also benefit your health as you get older. A solid routine provides both structure to your day as well as a reliable sense of “what comes next.” If cognitive decline affects your memory or orientation, it will be helpful to have familiar routines and habits to fall back on.