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Your mornings have the power to set the tone for an entire day. A lousy start can derail any good intentions and leave you feeling overwhelmed and underachieving. That's how I was feeling lately. I was getting a bit burnt out and stressed and realized I had access to experts and products to help me. Like any problem I have, I did my research and asked questions. I talked with successful people I admire, along with smart founders and entrepreneurs making stuff designed to get your day started on the right foot. I was curious ... could I biohack my way to a better morning? Turns out, it wasn't all that hard. In fact, the habits I developed were rather small. They seem obvious or insignificant but when combined, they ensure that my transition from groggy, grumpy zombie to energetic optimist is smooth and speedy.
Plan The Night Before
Starting your day without a clear plan means nonessential tasks can quickly derail you. That's why it's smart to create your daily to-do list the night before, so you know exactly what you've got on your plate. It also allows you to prioritize the tasks. And bonus: once you've got all that down on paper (or Evernote), your mind is clear and you'll fall asleep without worrying about the next day.
Prime Your Sleep
If you want to wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day, then you need to make sure you're getting quality sleep to reap total-body benefits. And not just because it feels good (which it does). Better sleep has been proven to provide a myriad of benefits from less inflammation to a greater resilience against illnesses like the common cold. This all-natural supplement from clean sports nutrition company Momentous was the key to quieting my mind before bed and helping me slink into a deep, restful sleep.
It's a favorite among pro and elite athletes because it combats sleep challenges like nighttime games, late workouts, travel, and anxiety, which can disrupt circadian rhythms. How? It's made with tart cherry juice, which has been shown to prep your body for sleep and reduce the severity of insomnia. There's also melatonin, the natural sleep-inducing hormone. The third ingredient is valerian root, prized for reducing nighttime anxiety and improving sleep quality. But in short, I pop these 20 minutes before bedtime, fall asleep fast and wake up without any grogginess.
You've got to eat breakfast, right? It's (say it with me, now) the most important meal of the day. But if you're like me, you've probably noticed you can have your breakfast fast and easy or healthy and sustaining, but you can't have it both ways. Or so I thought, until I found Brave. Developed as a home recipe by some active guys looking to improve on the "overnight oats" concept, the goal was something tasty that would jump start their mornings and sustain them until lunchtime.
The result of their tinkering became Brave, an overnight breakfast made from oats, chia seeds and hemp hearts that provides a powerful combination of protein, fiber, calories and healthy fats. They then throw in nuts, fruits and spices to make them taste as good as they are good for you. All you have to do is mix it with some milk of your choice the night before and let the mixture marinate and activate overnight. Come morning, just give it a stir and maybe a minute in the microwave (though I actually prefer it cold with an iced coffee). It's the simplest and best-tasting way to down 20 grams of plant-based protein without any added sugar or preservatives.
I prefer to workout in the morning, but that's a personal choice and if you enjoy hitting the gym in the afternoon or evening, I say do what works for you. But I would suggest taking your vitamins in the morning. These easy-to-take pill packs (one for each day of the month) are called "Superhuman Supplements." And that's just how I feel when I take them in the morning: sharper, energized and more focused.
How? The packs contain five pills. Two immunity-boosting multivitamin capsules, two "white lightning" boosters with ashwagandha and other plant-based ingredients formulated to fight stress and improve your mood, while a single Omega-3 supplement kickstarts cell production, improves cognition and boosts overall focus. The cleverly-designed packets were also handy while traveling. And honestly, on the days I didn't pop the capsules, my body (and brain) were noticeably a little slower.