How Your Morning Routine Can Impact Your Health

We should all have a morning routine, but it’s something we might not think twice about. From the foods you eat to the devices you use (i.e. smartphones, computers, television, etc.), find out which unhealthy habits you might be making without even realizing it, and what you can do to fix them so that you can have healthier, more productive days.

1. SUGAR INTAKE: Coffee is often the go-to beverage of choice for anyone who has to wake up bright and early for work or school. Some people like their coffee with nothing in it, while others opt for milk, cream, or sugar — and therein lies the problem. While you don’t necessarily have to worry about home-brewed coffee (though sugar is something that Dr. Ali Ghahary recommends avoiding), it’s the coffee shop brews that are more concerning. That fancy hazelnut latte you order each morning can contain upwards of 30 grams of sugar, sometimes more depending on your beverage of choice, and all that sugar can actually slow you down.

2. WORKING OUT: Some people like to go to the gym before work, which is completely fine. Gyms tend to be less busy during certain hours, which can make for a more peaceful workout session. However, there are certain exercises that should be avoided first thing in the morning, such as weight lifting. Your body isn’t fully awake, therefore lifting heavy weights at such an early hour can actually increase your risk of sustaining an injury. If you’re going to workout or go to the gym in the mornings, opt for using machines such as bikes or treadmills, and save the heavy lifting for later. Side-note: Make sure you stretch prior to working out in the AM, too. This can also decrease your chance of injury as well as help get the blood flowing!

3. SKIPPING BREAKFAST: While you might think that skipping breakfast won’t have any harmful or lasting effects on your health, you’re wrong. It’s actually one of the most important meals of the day as it gives you fuel (and stores that fuel) to get you through your day. If you don’t have time to prepare a huge meal, that’s okay. Grabbing something quick like yogurt and granola, or a piece of fresh fruit, can actually pack a powerful nutritional punch and give you the energy you need. Tip: Avoid high-carb foods like toast or cereal, and choose foods that are high in protein instead. Protein not only has many great health benefits, but it will help keep you full enough until lunchtime rolls around. Click here for some healthy breakfast recommendations from Dr. Ghahary.

4. CHECKING SMART DEVICES: Our smartphones, tablets and computers are often the first things we check when we wake up in the mornings. Essentially, the body becomes “programmed” to do these things. But did you know that by checking your smart devices for text messages or e-mails before you’ve even had the chance to get out of bed, you might actually be slowing down the brain? It needs at least 30 to 45 minutes to fully wake up and be in less of a “fog”, so to speak, so allow it that time prior to picking up that electronic.

5. HAVING NO ROUTINE: One of the most common reasons why people feel might so busy and anxious in the mornings is because they have no set routine. Without a morning routine, you might be feeling rushed to get everything you need to do done before heading out the door, i.e. making breakfast, getting showered and ready for work, getting kids ready for school, making and packing lunches. There’s a lot to do in the morning! In order to feel less rushed, create a routine for yourself. Set your alarm for the same time each day, and maybe even give yourself an extra half hour of quiet/alone time. This can decrease stress, and the less stressed out you are the better your health will be in the long-run.

Originally published at on August 16, 2018.



Dr. Ali Ghahary is a Family Physician in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

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