This is the first post in a series on sleep, diet, mental clarity and productivity, all of which are very much intertwined. The purpose of this series is to give you some easy tools to enhance your mental clarity and rid yourself of brain fog. In doing so, you can be much more productive, learn quicker and just get better use out of that amazingly powerful organ we call the brain (which by the way is the most complex structure in the known universe!).
If ever there was a night person, it’s me. I was born at 11:59pm. I usually feel wide awake if I stay up past 11pm, regardless of how little sleep I am on. When I was in college, I remember a few times waking up after the sun had set (that is not a typo, though it was during the winter when the sun set earlier). If there’s anyone who was not meant to be a morning person, it’s me. However, after mutliple failed attempts I finally figured out how to become an earlier riser. I will discuss how to do this in a coming post.
But, what’s the point of getting up early if you’re brain is in a useless fog? The goal of this post is to give you a very simple and easy routine which will allow you to feel alert 5 minutes after waking up (without caffeine). There are some things you can do, if you make them habits, that will help you to feel wide awake every day immediately upon rising (such as taking cold showers, not hitting the snooze, having a consistent wake time and reducing your salt intake), but these we will discuss in future posts.
So, here is the routine. Do this upon waking and you will be astonished at how alert you can be within minutes. By doing so, you will be much more effective and efficient in the morning hours (and in my opinion enjoy them much more as well).
1) As soon as you get out of bed, stand up and reach your arms up towards the ceiling and stretch them as high as you can. Feel your spine stretch along with it.
2) Take three slow, deep breaths.
3) Then, smile the biggest, most exaggerated, most ridiculous smile you can muster and hold it for about 30 seconds.
4) Make both your hands into fists and bring them in front of you as if you are holding two ski poles. Pump your fists three times (in whatever way feels natural for you) and as you do so say (ideally out loud), “I feel great!”
5) Go to the sink and splash some water on your face (the colder the better!)
6) Do 20 jumping jacks
7) Drink a glass of water (this will kickstart your metabolism and gives your brain fuel)
8) Step outside (or stick your head out the window) and get some fresh air (and hopefully some sunshine too)
The first few times you try this, you may want to print off these instructions or write them down so you don’t forget. If you don’t do them in this exact order, don’t worry about it. This is just what I’ve found works best for me. After doing this for a week or two it will become a habit and you will no longer need to consciously walk yourself through it step by step. When I first started doing this I found that I was actually excited to get out of bed and get going because this routine is such an enjoyable way to start your day.
Tomorrow morning, give this a try! It’s an exciting and empowering feeling to get your brain firing on all cylinders only a few minutes after waking up.
Stay tuned for future posts in this series on increasing mental clarity! And please share your experiences if you do give this a try.