Healthy ways to wake up

It's time to start waking up healthier.

Every morning, many of us fear the dreaded sound of the alarm clock squawking, yanking us out of our heavenly slumber and forcing us to succumb to another day of productivity. After the stretching and yawning, we generally tend to stumble over to the coffee machine to fuel up for the day.  While you might relish your morning caffeine boost, it could be putting you on track to a caffeine overload. In fact, more than 68 million Americans consume at least three cups of coffee per day, which might be enough to lead to irritability, restlessness and insomnia.

There are a number of healthier alternatives to waking up that can provide you with the motivation you need while leaving out all the physical ailments. Here are a few more efficient ways to start your morning off right and have your body feeling better the rest of the day.

Rise and shine
Instead of shielding yourself under the blankets when that alarm goes off, open the curtains or flip the blinds and let that sun into your life. Researchers have found that exposing yourself to sunlight in the morning can increase your alertness and activity throughout the day, as well as provide your body with a little vitamin D.

Hydrate
While caffeine may seem like a physical dependence, water is truly essential for our morning routine. Our bodies are usually a little dehydrated when we wake up, so downing a few gulps of cold H2O can rejuvenate you. If you don't think ingesting water will give you enough of a kick, consider turning your shower knob to "cold" for a few seconds to help shake off that early fatigue.

Avoid sugar and caffeine before bed
Most of the time, what we put into our bodies at night will greatly impact our next morning. Specifically drinking alcohol, coffee or eating chocolate before going to bed can upset your digestive system and interrupt your sleep. Avoid these three insomniac ingredients at all costs.

Exercise
While the thought of being active first thing when you wake up might make some people shiver, the truth is getting your heart rate going right after leaving the bed will help get your endorphins flowing. Whether it is a mile jog or some simple jumping jacks, a little exercise can go a long way in the morning.

Eat breakfast
Only 44 percent of Americans reportedly eat breakfast every day, which means they are missing out on essential vitamins and antioxidants necessary for providing a little lift in the morning. Whether it's adding protein from some Greek yogurt or consuming some potassium from a banana, anything is better than nothing when it comes to breakfast.

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