Two (and a Half) Things You Should Do Upon Waking
These days everyone wants to tell you what you should be doing in the morning. With a quick search you will more than likely come across a standard set of recommended habits to add to your morning routine: stretch, meditate, exercise, do not look at your phone right away, write down your daily goals, eat a good breakfast, etc. Although this is all good advice (I would recommend trying all of those things, they tend to help boost your day and productivity), coming across the same tips can start to become monotonous. For this reason, I have come up with a short list of two (and a half) slightly more interesting ideas to try out and possibly even add to your morning routine.
1) Oil Pulling
What is oil pulling? Well, quite simply, you stick a spoonful of oil in your mouth and swish it around right when you wake up... Although it sounds a bit unsettling, it really is not that bad. Although it is traditionally done with sesame oil, many people do it with coconut oil as well (better tasting and additional antibacterial properties are two specific reasons often touted). Although length of time varies depending on your source of information, many people claim you should do it for twenty minutes; that is a long time! Nonetheless, more professional sources claim to do it for two periods of four minutes. Personally, I like to wake up and do it without stressing about time and formalities, usually for about five to ten minutes.
Oil pulling is said to come with many health perks and benefits, including but not limited to the relief of bad breath, an increase in oral hygiene (reduction in bacteria, plaque, etc.), cleared sinuses/allergy relief, and clearer skin.
2) Warm Lemon Water
Starting off the day with a glass of warm lemon water before anything else can do your body wonders (unless you are oil pulling, in which I would recommend oil pulling first, then drinking the lemon water). It will balance your body's pH levels, flush toxins, regulate the digestive system, boost the immune system and clear your skin.
2.5) Not Having Coffee... At First
Coffee gets a bad rep in the media due to its high caffeine content and the copious amounts of sugar, creamer, and other additives that tend to accompany the average cup of joe. However, coffee in and of itself is an antioxidant powerhouse, linked with strong health benefits including cancer fighting properties and digestive tract regulation among many others.
This being said, it is actually recommended that, based on a typical work week (waking up at 7:00 a.m.), coffee should be consumed at around 9:30 a.m. and/or 1:30 p.m. This has to do with the hormone cortisol, which is responsible for waking your body up, and is in heavy production starting when you awake in the morning (which also helps to regulate the natural biological cycle known as your circadian rhythm). Consuming caffeine, a cortisol inducing drug, during the morning will amplify the production of cortisol that is already taking place in your body. Because of this, the coffee will not have as strong of an effect on your body, and over time you will become less sensitive to its positive benefits. Therefore, coffee should be consumed at times in which your cortisol levels are lower throughout the day.