A lot of us wake up in the morning with a cloudy head. In fact, I am in a deep mind fog this morning myself. It’s kind of like a minor hangover without the dizziness. This can cause a few issues in the morning, such as forgetting to grab your lunch or perhaps grabbing the dog leash instead of the keys when heading out to the van. What can you do to start the morning without this hazy mind fog?
Getting Rid of the Mind Fog
Unfortunately, there are many different problems that can cause your thoughts to be jumbled in the morning. They can be anything from simple to more severe mental issues. Here are seven things I do throughout the week to get my thoughts more on track – at least most of the time.
1. Getting More Sleep
One of the biggest problems a lot of people have, including myself, is getting enough sleep at night. I’m pushing 40 and I still sleep like I was 20 – which is a bad thing in my case. A good night’s rest can help you feel more alert in the morning. On days where I get more than seven hours of sleep, I feel amazing and vitalized. Of course, this is also dependent on the quality of sleep you get. I can be in bed for more than nine hours and still feel like a train wreck when getting up.
2. A Brisk Walk
Recently, I’ve been going for short walks in the morning to get the blood flowing. By the time I get home, my mind is clear of the fog. Unfortunately, we’ve had poor weather as of late. It can be difficult to get in a nice walk when it’s below 40 degrees Fahrenheit and raining. Walking gets the heart rate up and blood flowing to the brain. The more oxygen your brain receives, the more alert it can become. It’s also nice to walk and watch the sunrise, but that’s really personal preference.
3. Eating Right in the Morning
There’s a reason why they say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It’s a way to kick-start your day and supply nutrients that are conducive to mental functionality. For example, many people find themselves more alert and ready for the morning after eating proteins and vitamins. One of my favorite morning meals to get everything going is Cream of Wheat and berries. An egg and cheese sandwich can also be a great first meal. I also like to throw in a v8 and some clementine oranges. Try to stay away from sugary cereals and center more on nutrients you need for the brain.
4. Eating Right at Night
A lot of foods you eat at night can impact your morning. In fact, a lot of people will suffer sleep disorders because of the foods they ate for dinner. Indigestion can cause sleep disturbances and may make you feel sluggish first thing in the morning. If I eat cookies or sweets before going to bed, I usually feel like the floor of a taxi cab the next morning.
5. Sleep Aids
I am not a big fan of popping pills for what ails you. However, I know a lot of people who could use the assistance once in a while. I like to have teas, such as chamomile and other sleep-inducing blends. Just make sure you stay away from those that are based in caffeine, like Earl Grey. It may prevent you from getting solid rest.
6. Exercise Routines
Like walking, exercise will get the blood flowing and empower the brain to move through that mind fog first thing in the morning. Even a short 10 minute cardio workout could be helpful when trying to wake yourself up. Some mornings, I’ll play about 20 minutes of the Xbox Kinect while I’m waiting for the kids to get ready for school. Get into an exercise routine that works for you. Not only is it good for the mind, but it will also help you keep off a few pounds and burn some calories.
7. Morning Showers
Many people will take morning showers in order to feel refreshed and ready to face the day. This happens for several reasons, one of which is because of the increase in pulse rate. Hot water on the body has a similar effect as using a sauna. As the external temperature increases, the heart rate also increases as the body tries to dissipate the heat. This is why saunas and hot tubs are often part of fitness routines for many. This gets the blood flowing to the brain while burning additional calories.
What that “Sluggish” Feeling Can Affect in Your Day
Walking through your morning in a mind fog can be detrimental to a variety of life’s functions. It doesn’t merely affect your ability to dress yourself correctly. Although there’s a greater possibility you’ll put on your wife’s shoes as you’re walking out the door, it can also put yourself and others in jeopardy. Things that “sluggish” feeling can impact include:
- Ability to drive
- Rational thought at home and work
- Ability to make clear decisions
- Fine motor control of limbs
- Slower physical and mental reaction times
- Lower threshold for frustration and anger
A tired mind can be just as detrimental to driving as one that is under the influence of alcohol. It’s this reason why cops in some cities will give you a ticket for driving while you’re excessively tired. Exhaustion can simulate many of the affects of alcohol when operating heavy machinery.
You don’t have to start your morning feeling like you’re deep in a mind fog. It can affect your day from putting the clothes on backwards to reducing your reaction time while driving. Before you grab that bottle of 5-hour Energy, consider a healthier way to wake yourself up. It may impact more than your mental state.
What do you do to get your day started in the morning? Have you ever tracked your sleep through devices such as the Fitbit Charge HR? If so, how much sleep do you get in a night on average? Currently, I bounce between 6hrs 20min to 6hrs 40mins.