7 things you should never do first thing in the morning
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Living to your full potential, being a beacon of productivity, a ball of Zen and source of inspiration for those around you sounds like a lot of effort.

But what you do first thing in the morning could put you well on your way if you get it right, according to the mountains of advice and research into how our bodies wake up.

Here’s a roundup of the best advice on how to spend your first few hours of every day:

1. Don’t snooze

Snoozing triggers your brain back into its sleep cycle, according to popular science explainer YouTube channel ASAP Science. And when you wake up again, you’re likely to interrupt a deeper sleep, which will leave you feeling groggy. When you wake up after a full night’s sleep, you’re more likely to be in a lighter sleep - so as hard as it may seem, avoid pressing snooze.

2. Don’t drink coffee

Our bodies naturally produce a hormone called cortisol, which makes us feel more awake. But the caffeine in coffee can interfere with our body’s cortisol production, and over time this can lead us to become more dependent on caffeine and produce less cortisol naturally - so save it until after around 10am.

3. Don’t check your email

When we wake up and check our emails straight away, we frame our morning as “all the things I missed yesterday”, according to an expert in how technology affects us. In other words, we give ourselves retrospective FOMO (fear of missing out). Not a great start to the day.

4. Don't make unimportant decisions

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in an interview that he wears the same T-shirt to work every day to limit the number of decisions he has to make, rather than spending his energy on “silly or frivolous” things. So there you go – buy 20 identical outfits for a more productive day. Or, the less extreme option: just choose your outfit the night before.

5. Don't stay in the dark

The body’s clock – AKA our circadian rhythm – is influenced by light exposure. It will suppress the release of hormone melatonin, which tells your body it’s time to sleep, when it’s light outside. This is why people can find it easier to wake up in the summer, according to a scientist from Harvard Medical School.

6. Don't stay in bed

Yes, okay – exercise is always part of the answer when the question is about being healthier/happier/more productive. But more specifically, pre-breakfast exercise can have its own benefits. A study in Belgium found that exercising before breakfast can help you lose weight by burning more fat than you would later on in the day.

7. Don't put off important tasks

Self-control is limited, and can run out as the day goes on, according to researchers at the University of Nottingham. So while your self-control is at its peak first thing in the morning, do whatever task you know you won’t be able to muster the willpower to do later.

...but do eat cake

Saving the best until last: eat cake: a study of 193 obese adults found that eating cookies or chocolate as part of breakfast stems craving sweet foods later on in the day. In other words, incorporating cake into your morning routine can actually make you healthier for the rest of the day. It's science; don't quesiton it.

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