Health mistakes you're probably making before 9am

A lot depends on the way you start your day, but it’s not always obvious what you should and shouldn’t be doing. Here are the morning mistakes you could be making . . .

Hitting the snooze button
Those extra few minutes of sleep are so tempting when you’re cosy under the covers, but they could be messing with your sleep cycle.

Your circadian rhythm keeps you on a roughly 24-hour cycle and tells you when you should wake up. Having your alarm jolt you awake already messes with this rhythm, but going back to sleep makes it worse. It can result in sleep inertia, grogginess and disorientation.

What to do: go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day. Once you’re in a natural rhythm, you won’t need to be startled awake by your alarm.

Keeping the curtains closed
It’s hard to face the morning, especially in the harsh light of day but exposure to morning light helps your body regulate its internal clock.

Researchers at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine found in a 2014 study that early morning natural light exposure is associated with lower body fat. This is possibly due to a reset of your body’s circadian rhythm, which could boost metabolism.

What to do: a quick walk outdoors is ideal, but if you’re pressed for time, at least open your curtains and greet the morning sun.

Skipping breakfast
People who eat breakfast regularly tend to have sharper thinking and less body fat, and they are less likely to have type 2 diabetes and heart disease. They also exercise more regularly and eat a healthier diet.

What to do: enjoy a healthy breakfast. If you’re short on time, try something you can prep the night before such as overnight oats.

Read more: YourLifeChoices’ top 20 high-energy budget breakfasts

Sleeping in
A lie-in can feel luxurious and often needed if you’ve been struggling to sleep. But the best way to improve your sleep over the long term is to stick to a regular schedule.

What to do: get up at the same time each day, yes even over the weekends.

Jumping out of bed
When you stand up after lying down for hours, gravity sends blood rushing to your legs, this can cause a lightheaded feeling that puts you at risk for a stumble. It can even make you pass out.

What to do: sit up slowly and pause at the edge of the bed to get your body ready to stand up.

Read more: Morning stretches you can do in bed

Skipping exercise
Regular exercise has a multitude of benefits. It can improve your sleep, control your weight, strengthen your heart and make you feel good. You may be more likely to stick with exercise if you do it first thing and it could even make you more likely to consider what you eat throughout the day; you won’t want to waste the hard work you put in that morning.

What to do: plan ahead and put your workout clothes out the night before.

Quitting coffee cold turkey
If you’re a regular coffee drinker, skipping it can leave you groggy. You may not be able to concentrate well and could end up with a nasty headache.

What to do: if you’re trying to cut back on your caffeine, do it slowly to avoid these responses.

Brushing your teeth straight after eating or drinking something acidic
You shouldn’t brush right after any acidic food or drink as acid weakens tooth enamel and brushing too soon can remove it (this includes coffee).

What to do: simply brush your teeth beforehand or wait 30 to 60 minutes for the acid to fade from your teeth.

Checking your smartphone
Reaching straight for your device can cause stress and anxiety because you just don’t know what you’re going to find, perhaps a distressing news story or a full inbox. This might either put you in a bad mood for the day or make you start work earlier than you should.

What to do: use the time instead to make a plan for your day.

Read more: Six reasons to go device-free one day a week

Forgetting quiet time
The morning is the perfect time to clear your mind and spend a few moments in the peace and quiet before the day is filled with work and noise.

What to do: try a simple meditation or just spend a few moments focusing on your breath and try to let go of any thoughts that come up.

Reaching for something sweet
Sugary cereals, croissants, and pastries have little nutrition and will cause a blood sugar spike and crash that can leave you tired, irritable, and hungry for more.

What to do: choose options with more fibre and protein to satisfy your hunger. Eggs, cottage cheese and complex carbs will keep you feeling fuller for longer and provide a steady stream of energy.

Skipping sunscreen
It can help protect your skin against cancer and wrinkles caused by UV rays that you’re exposed to whenever you’re out in the sun, even if it’s cloudy.

What to do: it’s best to put it on about 15 minutes before you go outside so your skin has time to absorb it.

Do you have a morning routine? How has it changed over the years?

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Written by Ellie Baxter