What you do in the hour after you get up can help you look and feel your best for the rest of the day.The right moves and foods will give you the focus, stamina, and positive outlook you need to plow through your busy schedule. Plus, you'll kick-start your metabolism, helping you torch extra calories and melt more fat. Our get-up-and-go routine outlines the latest research-based tips guaranteed to make your morning a true power hour. Here's how to rise and shine.
1. Cue Energy with Color "Seeing a bright, vibrant hue when you open your eyes gets your adrenaline going—and that sudden surge of energy helps clear the cobwebs and kicks you into gear," says Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. Put a red, orange, yellow, or fuchsia throw pillow, blanket, or piece of art in the area you first see in the morning, or slip on a robe in one of these shades. You can even make breakfast visually stimulating (and get a nutritional boost) by pouring yourself a glass of antioxidant rich pomegranate or cranberry juice with a sweet slice of orange.
2. Wake Up and See the Roses Seeing a bouquet of blooms when they first woke up gave women in a new study a mood lift and energy boost that lasted all day, reports Nancy Etcoff, PhD, a faculty member at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard University Mind/Brain/Behavior Initiative.
3. Stop Hitting the Snooze Button There's truth in the adage "You snooze, you lose." When you hit snooze, your brain knows it will go off again in a few minutes—so you won't go into the deeper, more restful stages of slumber. That means you'll be more tired than if you'd gotten up when it first sounded. A better strategy: "Set your alarm for when you really need to get up," says Jodi Mindell, PhD, associate director of the Sleep Disorders Center at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. "That extra, uninterrupted sleep makes you feel more rested and refreshed when you get out of bed." 4. Picture the Day Ahead Once you're awake, close your eyes and picture yourself alert and energetic. "Imagining an activity fires up the same parts of your brain that are used when you actually experience it," says Dana Lightman, PhD, a behavioral psychologist in Abington, PA. "Thinking positively about the day ahead energizes you." 5. Drink Instant Energy Drinking a big glass of water as soon as you get up is a good way to replenish the fluid your body loses overnight, and it provides instant energy. "Everything that happens in your body requires water," says Holly Andersen, MD, an assistant professor of medicine at Weill Cornell Medical Center. "Without enough of it, your systems have to work harder in every respect—which can cause fatigue." Indeed, even a 2% drop in water stores can tire you physically and mentally. Starting to sip early also gives you a head start on the 11 cups of water the Institute of Medicine now recommends women consume throughout the day to stay hydrated.
6. Let the Sunshine In A splash of sunlight makes you feel more awake, so read the paper by a sunny window or step outside for a few minutes while having your coffee. "Daylight signals your biological clock to stop the secretion of melatonin, a hormone that makes you sleepy, and promotes wakefulness," says James B. Maas, PhD, a professor and past chairman of the department of psychology at Cornell University. It also increases the brain's level of serotonin, a chemical that boosts mood. If it's still dark when you get up, consider purchasing a dawn stimulator (from $80; Light Therapy Products), a device that gradually brightens a light source at a preprogrammed time. Set it to create a dawn that breaks a half hour before your usual wake up time and grows to maximum brightness when your alarm goes off—even when your eyes are closed, the light that passes through your lids signals your internal clock to trigger waking neurons in your brain. 7. Give Yourself a Face Rub "Massaging your face boosts circulation, making it a surefire way to wake up," says Maggy Dunphy, general manager of the Aria Spa and Club in Vail, CO. Starting at your forehead and working down to your chin, lightly flutter tap or drum your fingertips, varying the velocity, intensity, and location until you've touched your entire face. Bonus: These moves give you a quick healthy glow.
8. Have a Romp in the Hay Physical activity is one of the best ways to shake off grogginess—and having sex boosts your body's levels of chemicals associated with stamina (testosterone), energy (dopamine), and calmness (oxytocin), says Helen E. Fisher, PhD, a research professor in the department of anthropology at Rutgers University. What a great way to start the day!