Morning Routine for Optimal Energy and Performance:

May 29, 2023

Martin Kuchynka

Establish a morning routine that includes hydration, sun exposure, breathing exercises, and cold exposure to reset your circadian rhythm and enhance your mood and performance while incorporating a healthy breakfast and supplementation.

What we’ll talk about

Morning routine is a set of steps and rules that will improve your energy, mood and overall performance. The main goals of morning routine are to reset the circadian rhythm and boost energy and mood. It can also help you to change your entire lifestyle, i.e. your diet and exercise regime. When you align your circadian rhythm, you will automatically start waking up with a feeling of energy and mental clarity. It is important to avoid another big mistake, which is to stay lying down after waking up, grab your cell phone and start “scrolling” social medias.

Morning Routine Benefits and Goals

Resetting the Circadian Rhythm

Morning routine is a set of several steps and rules that may seem restrictive at first, but after their incorporation you will have more energy, a better mood and will increase your overall performance during a day. Thanks to this, the morning routine deserves a place of honor on the pedestal of strategies that significantly help you achieve your goal (from changing your body composition to better performance at work).

At the same time, it is precisely the energy and motivation that you will need in order to be able to change your diet, i.e. your entire lifestyle.

Main goals of morning routine are:

  • Reset of circadian rhythm.
  • Body oxygenation and rehydration after night and sleep.
  • Energy and mood boost (increase of dopamine and serotonin)

The form of the morning routine will slightly differ in the different parts of the year, mainly in terms of natural biohacking:

  • Spring / Summer: Exposure to the sun (sun-gazing)
  • Autumn / winter: Cold exposure.

Common Morning Problems and Their Causes

The Circadian Rhythm Shift

Problems with getting up in the morning and lack of energy are most often caused by a combination of two factors:

First, shift in the circadian rhythm, when people using their mobile phones right before going to bed. The blue-green light from the displays suppresses the nocturnal secretion of melatonin (=cellular repair and regeneration) and, in addition, shifts our natural biorhythm by several hours. To wake up, a person needs an alarm, which wakes him up in the wrong phase of sleep.

Deoxygenation and Sleep Habits

The second factor is that people wake up deoxygenated (in a state of hypoxia). Most people do not know how to breathe properly, which is also manifested when they sleep, when they sleep in grotesque positions, have giant pillows under their heads and generally do everything to make it as difficult as possible for the body to breathe during sleep. It’s no wonder so many people suffer from snoring, sleep apnea, or other sleep problems.

Aligning the Circadian Rhythm

From the point of view of the circadian rhythm, you should be able to wake up at the same time every day without an alarm clock after two weeks of strengthening an evening routine. From the beginning, set the same alarm clock for every day (including weekends) and after about a week you will find that you wake up before by ringing it. Then you can stop using the alarm clock.

Avoiding Morning Mistakes

When you align your circadian rhythm, you will automatically start waking up with a feeling of energy and mental clarity. It is then important to avoid another big mistake, which is to stay lying down after waking up, grab your cell phone and start “scrolling” social medias.

Scrolling social medias without conscious attention is common thing for majority of people. It energizes them in some way (white light), but at the same time it messes up the internal clock again. Scrolling on Instagram (or other social networks) then creates a dopamine loop, where the brain rewards you for each additional post. This process alone therefore takes a piece of life-giving energy from the body and motivation to start a productive day.

Get up at the same time every day, without an alarm clock, instead of using your phone, get out of bed right away and start your morning routine!

Rehydration and Remineralization

The Importance of Hydration

Our body is mostly made of water (70%), water makes up not only our body fluids, but in a specific form is contained in every cell of our body.

Even slight dehydration, we lose energy and mental performance, which is why it is necessary to rehydrate the body as quickly as possible after the night, with sufficient amount of water. At the same time, you will “flush” the body from toxins (which you will then remove from the body through the kidneys with urine).

Lack of morning energy due to dehydration is quite common, but people often misinterpret it as the need to drink coffee, which only further dehydrates the body.

That is why right after waking up you need to drink 300-500 ml of water with added minerals.

Mineral Replenishment

And that brings us to the second part of the equation, which is minerals: Our entire body functions on the principle of ions, which are created by polarized minerals. These are used by all the cells of our body to perform their function correctly, muscles to contract and the nervous system to conduct an electrochemical signal.

In nature, drinking water is found in its natural form, always enriched with minerals (which it obtains by flowing through rocks), and our body is thus adapted to receive water and minerals at the same time. Minerals increase the absorption of water into the body, and water, on the other hand, serves as their transporter.

Morning Drink with Minerals

For morning remineralization, it is good to add colored salt to the water (such as Celtic, Himalayan, or Flor de Sal from Mallorca), which contains a high amount of trace substances and minerals (60+). Natural salt has long been a valuable source of electrolytes, but today people know it primarily in its industrially form, like white table salt. Please avoid that one and use colored or natural salt for cooking and in your morning drink.

Every day, immediately after waking up, get up, go to the kitchen, and prepare water with salt.

Sun-Gazing for Health

Harnessing Morning Sunlight

In spring and summer, it is extremely important that you let the sunlight get to the retina of the uncovered eye as soon as possible after waking up (so-called sun-gazing). Therefore, with a glass of morning water, sit by an open window, go on the garden or find the nearest sunlight.

Biochemical Reactions and Neurotransmitters

The sunlight, falling on the retina of an uncovered eye, trigger a series of biochemical reactions, which subsequently lead to the synthesis of serotonin and dopamine in the brain. Which are, neurotransmitters needed for motivation, energy and good mood. In addition, the morning sun (falling on the uncovered surface of the body) also increases release of endorphins (with which the body let us and the animals know that we are doing something good for it and want to continue doing it).

Exposure to the morning sun also indirectly increases the production of evening and nocturnal melatonin, because we have more serotonin for it (serotonin is substrate for melatonin). This is especially important in the summer, when the nights are short and therefore is a lot of light.

After a short sun-gazing, you will usually feel more energized than after a cup of coffee, and this feeling will last much longer during the day, without a drop in energy.

As part of the morning routine, it is enough to do the first sun-gazing for 20 seconds – 1 minute (your eyes can’t last any longer and you don’t want to go blind anyway), but you can continue to expose yourself to the sun after finishing the morning routine (e.g. have breakfast in the garden / in the window ). Here we are only focusing on triggering the secretion of neurotransmitters.

Body and Brain Oxygenation

Breathing Exercises for Oxygenation

As I wrote at the beginning of this article, people are often waking up in a state of hypoxia, when their body and brain are deoxygenated and therefore need to use breathing technique in the morning.

Breathing exercises are a important part of the morning routine, they serve not only for oxygenation, but at the same time you build the habit of proper breathing throughout the day.

How to do it? In spring and summer after sungazing, in autumn and winter immediately after rehydration, lie down on the groung/ yoga mat / grass / harder couch (just not where you slept) by an open window and start breathing.

The simplest breathing exercise, based on Wim Hof’s technique, which is performed lying down (ideally on a harder surface) and serves for deep oxygenation of the body. The basis is to perform at least one series (30x inhalation and exhalation), but sometimes you may feel that you need more oxygen and the desired effect will appear only after 3-4 series.

Morning Breathing Exercise (WHM)

  • Breathing while lying on your back on a hard surface near an open window.
  • You take 30 deep breaths through your nose, and 30 shorter exhalations through your mouth (the goal is to inhale more air than you exhale).
  • After the last inhale, exhale completely and hold your breath for as long as it feels good (no pushing to maximum).
  • This is followed by a long deep breath and 10 seconds of exhalation.
  • Right after that, you can add another 2-3 series.

Simplifying the Routine

One intense series of this exercise in the morning may be all you need. You shouldn’t spend hours with morning routine, or make it so complicated that you start skipping it when you don’t have time. That is why it is necessary to simplify, shorten and adapt it to your life so that it takes as little time as possible.

Cold Shower and Cold Exposure

After rehydration, sungazing (spring/summer) and breathing exercises comes the final part of the morning routine, which is a cold shower for 10 s up to 4 min. Over time you can increase time under cold water.

This is most important in autumn and winter, when there is not enough sun (depends where you live). At that time, it replaces morning sun-gazing because it helps reset the circadian rhythm, increases dopamine, noradrenaline, and release endorphins.

In the spring and summer, you can of course take ice showers as well, but their purpose is more just for you.

Circadian Breakfast for Performance

Breakfast's Role in the Routine

From the point of view of this proper morning routine, it is necessary to include breakfast. Breakfast helps to optimize the circadian rhythm, and if you set it correctly, it helps you to enhance your performance/energy throughout the morning.

Morning lack of appetite or digestive capacity is usually caused by a disturbed circadian rhythm and disappears within a week of establishing a morning and evening routine. Feel free to focus only on previous routines (evening included) for the first two weeks and only add breakfast afterwards (you can tell by be automatically hungry in the morning).

Basic rules

  • Learn to regularly include a healthy and high-quality breakfast. If you are not used to eating, start slowly, but always have the necessary ingredients at home
  • Include breakfast at roughly the same time every day, which will help establish the circadian rhythm and increase appetite.

Additional Supplementation

Coffee, tea and stimulant drinks come have their place only when you have completed your morning routine and breakfast. You can drink them at home, on the way to work or just before starting work (optimal).

For the first two weeks, try drinking only Japanese green teas / matcha or hot Peruvian cocoa to give your body a break from coffee and caffeine. From the third week, you can add good quality coffee if you want to.

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