Optimise your Bookends

Health, June 27, 2020

I love pro-activity in the first hour on waking. This improves wellness and helps us make the world better

Your morning and bedtime routines are pivotal - they give the day a guiding framework. Being proactive with the waking and pre sleep "bookend" hour gives the hours in between a better chance to be enhancing and productive. 

Research has shown that first thing in the morning is optimal for habit formation. A study by Marion Fournier published in Health Psychology in 2017 (Effects of circadian cortisol on the development of a health habit. health Psychol. 2017;36(11):1059-1064) followed 48 students for 90 days as they attempted to form a new health behaviour. They were randomly assigned to perform the flexibility routine first thing on waking when cortisol levels are high or at evening before bed when cortisol levels flatten off. The results showed that the group that were assigned to complete the health task in the morning created the habit far earlier that the night time group (Automation achieved at 105 days compared to 154 days). On waking your cortisol levels and the sun are on the rise. I am a great believer that getting out in the early morning suns rays (or in winter pre dawn) compounds establishing enhancing health habits. When we live in tune with natures rhythms it helps set up our entire system (body,mind and soul) to be more in harmony. Try and wake before the sun rises and have some "self optimisation" time - many of my athletes have morning routines consisting of journaling, meditation, yoga, an easy barefoot stroll, or some controlled full body strength work. This "primes" the system. If you can watch the sunrise with a mindset of gratitude this can nudge you towards a more positive frame of mind which has been shown to improve mood, proactive decision making, and general energy levels. 

"How we start our day determines how we create our life. Are you snoozing through your morning....snoozing through your life.......snoozing through your unlimited potential." Hal Elrod (author of The Morning Miracle, speaker and coach)

At the other end of the day when we optimise sleep then we are more likely to improve health and well-being. To create better sleep patterns we must start optimising waking habits. It's all connected. If we rise and spend time outside with the early rays of the sun this helps promote healthy sleep with a positive cascading effect throughout the day with natural promotion of the hormone serotonin (sometimes called the Happy hormone - helping with calmness and alertness). Dr. Mithu Storoni who is a doctor, researcher, and author of "Stress Proof : The scientific solution to protect your brain and body and be more resilient every day" states that the more natural daylight exposure, the more melatonin you then produce at night. The sun also helps convert inactive Vit D levels to active. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) getting 5-15min of sunlight on your bare arms, hands, and face 3 x week is enough to reap the wide ranging Vit D boosting benefits for bone and immune system wellness (check out my Calcium and Vit D article for more in-depth information  https://everfit.co.nz/articles/calcium )

"Every time you choose to do the easy thing instead of the right thing, you are shaping your identity becoming the type of person who does what's easy, rather than what's right." Hal Elrod 

Another study (Impact of Workplace daylight Exposure on Sleep, Physical Activity, and Quality of Life - published in the SLEEP journal) conducted at the Neuroscience programme at Northwestern University in Chicago showed a strong link between workplace daylight exposure and the employees sleep, activity, and general quality of life.  If you work in a windowless environment it is even more imperative you get out for a lunch time walk ( have a read of my earlier sleep article  https://everfit.co.nz/articles/wholistic-runner-part-2-sleep )

When we are proactive with behaviours at the start and end of the day we are more likely to be proactive with decisions throughout the day to align with who we want to be and where we want to go. When your intention at either of the day aligns this improves the traction of your habits towards purpose. An old Maliam proverb states "You must decide where you are going in the evening, if you intend to leave early in the morning."  Without this awareness and pro-ativity with decisions then you run the risk of falling into a mundane rut, on a treadmill of repeated behaviour waiting for the weekend or holiday to escape a self created reactive reality. As always please get in touch if you want to discus your book ends to allow you to be the best you can be. 

Barefoot walking on the beach, some pushups, and a sea dip is WELLNESS bliss