Wake up on the right side of the bed every morning! With a routine that gets you going with a little sparkle at the start of the day, you will be ready for anything that life brings along. We’ve gathered our favorite biohacking techniques for you to try so that you can meet the day invigorated and uplifted. Having a combination of techniques to turn to when you need a little inspiration, more energy, or to shift into a more positive state of mind can help you show up in the world grounded in your truth and at ease with the direction of your life.
Make every day the best day ever.
Morning Routine Hacks
Red Light Therapy
Although every color in the spectrum has healing qualities, red light devices have emerged as one of the top biohacking techniques to improve quality of life in many ways. Many people use their red-light devices in the evening, but having a red-light session in the morning can help to promote energy and alertness. Light therapy is also a great tool for promoting mental health, and many people respond really well to this kind of treatment. Some may also find red light therapeutic for helping to soothe skin and for reducing joint inflammation.
It’s usually recommended to do several sessions a week, or every day, for about 10-20 minutes, depending on the device you are working with. Using red light emitters in the evening may enhance sleep quality, which can contribute to you waking up refreshed and ready to go. Using concentrated red light stimulates cellular energy production, so it’s a great way to get your day off to the right start.
Although red-light therapy is generally considered safe, too much red-light exposure may cause side effects, and you may need to wear protective eyewear depending on the kind of device you are using.
You probably don’t need convincing to try this one out, as it feels so good! This technique has been used for centuries and can provide all kinds of health benefits. Sweating it out in a sauna for 10-15 minutes a day can invoke relaxation and help encourage the body’s detoxification processes. It helps the muscles release waste products and increases the flow of lymphatic fluids. The heat opens up the pores, which your skin will love, and increases circulation to your entire body. It can be very grounding, and it can help you to bring awareness to any areas of tension in the body. Using a steam sauna (a sauna bath) in the morning can help promote better productivity and focus while also helping encourage a relaxed state throughout the day.
There are steam saunas (or steam rooms), dry saunas, and infrared saunas. Each has its benefits, so the decision of which to use can be based on what is available and what you prefer. Although saunas have been safely used for over 2,000 years, some people with certain health conditions may need to avoid them. Also, make sure you are properly hydrating before and after to replace fluids lost when you sweat.
Cold Plunge, Cold Shower, Ice Baths
Cold-based therapies are often combined with saunas or some kind of heat, but it’s not necessary. There are elaborate cold plunge tanks or cryotherapy chambers that you can visit or purchase to experience the full intensity that a cold plunge has to offer. You can also create your own ice bath at home or simply hop into a cold shower for similar benefits.
Taking a cold shower or an ice bath in the morning can help increase alertness from the physiological changes that happen in the body in response to sudden cold temperatures. The heart rate and breathing rate speed up, and the release of norepinephrine (noradrenaline) and endorphins starts a cascade of wake-up responses throughout the body. This can also give your mood a little boost, so if you are feeling a little -blah- in the mornings, give it a try! Even 30 seconds of a cold shower can initiate the desired response in the body.
This is something you may want to talk to your doctor about before you take the plunge, so to speak. Although it’s considered a safe practice, the abrupt temperature of a cold plunge can be a bit of a shock to the system, so those with certain health considerations (such as heart concerns) may need to use caution or avoid it altogether. Keep your sessions short; 2-3 minutes is effective, and for safety reasons, never go longer than 10 minutes in an ice bath or cold plunge. If you are doing a DIY ice bath, be sure to monitor the temperature to ensure you are staying within safe ranges.
Exposure to Sunlight
Although this is considered by many to be a “biohack,” really, it’s just getting back to the basics of the things that provide humans with good health. We need sunlight, pure and simple. Yet, many of us are ingrained in an indoor lifestyle or live in climates that result in us rarely being in the sunshine.
The idea of getting a little sunlight first thing in the morning is science-backed and linked to the way our body responds to it and adjusts our circadian clock. Having sunlight exposure in the morning sends signals to the brain that releases serotonin and cortisol to help you wake up, and perhaps this can even help you literally develop a brighter outlook on life. It also helps to suppress melatonin secretion during the day and promotes its production at night when it’s most helpful for enhancing sleep.
Starting your day off with 10-15 minutes would be ideal, but even getting 2 minutes of early morning light is better than none and may have profound effects on your alertness and ability to sleep well. The time of day may shift as the seasons change, but choose the morning hours before UV rays become their strongest (usually before 10 am). Every day would be ideal, but at least 3-4 times a week is a good place to start.
Meditation often brings up some degree of resistance for many people. Some think it's going to be boring or may connect it only with specific religious traditions. The truth is, you don’t even have to have a spiritual path (although that is nice, too) to gain the benefits that meditation has to offer.
There are many different ways to meditate, and it’s important to find a way that works for you. Some people may need an object to focus on, such as a candle or a spot on the wall, to quiet their minds. Some people may need a more dynamic way to focus their attention, such as a walking meditation or other mindful movement methods.
It’s a good idea to move your body physically or stretch any areas of tension before you sit down to meditate. This is why yoga and meditation (which, in some ways, are the same thing) go so well together. By relaxing your physical body, you can rest your mind a little easier. Starting a morning meditation practice can help you increase your focus, which lasts throughout the day. Productivity can be improved by meditating; it helps to ease daily stress and can support you in responding to demanding situations with a clear mind. Meditation is also uplifting, so a morning practice can put you in the right mood to take on the day with joy and tranquility.
A daily meditation practice will provide ongoing benefits as it gets much easier with practice. You don’t have to devote an entire morning to it, although if you can, more power to you! Just 5-10 minutes could be helpful. If you are struggling to get started, find a teacher or meditation group to join. There are also plenty of guided meditations you can access to help you dive deeper into your mind and find a place of serenity and calm regardless of a busy schedule.
Breathwork is a new name for an old tradition. Based on the teachings of pranayama, or yogic breathing, it’s a combination of breathing techniques intended to focus the mind, relax the body, and send healing awareness to both. It’s incredibly powerful and has so much to offer us, busy modern humans. The conscious awareness of the breath has profound transformative potential to release stuck thought patterns and resolve physical tension. The power of the breath brings you back in touch with what is happening in your body and mind.
Breathing is usually an unconscious action, and many of us aren’t even aware we are doing it. Breathwork and pranayama is the practice of directing the breath with conscious awareness. It encompasses coordinating movements of all the muscles involved while deepening the breath to really fill the body past what “normal” shallow breathing does. There may be different breathing rhythms or exercises performed, and often people enter into a state of slightly altered consciousness. Breathing techniques are profound ways to send signals to the parasympathetic nervous system to relax, which results in many health benefits. Dropping into your body and heightening the awareness of your bodily sensations and mental experiences may uncover deep emotions that lie hidden in your everyday awareness.
Starting your day off with a few simple breathing exercises can help to increase energy and focus while centering you into a state of calm being. It can uplift your mood and may even help you resolve feelings of agitation or anxiousness. Enhancing sleep, bringing more oxygen into the blood, and supporting the immune system are additional benefits that have wide-ranging effects on your overall health.
Breathwork and pranayama are quite safe, but it may be a good idea to work with a guide or teacher or share your experiences with a counselor, as bottled-up emotions may come flooding out, and it might be necessary for you to have additional mental health support. Although some lightheadedness may be perfectly normal if you feel dizzy or unsteady while practicing breathwork, stop the practice and discuss with your doctor whether breathwork is the right choice for you.
Waking up to Wellness
A good morning sets the tone for the whole day, and each day adds up to become your entire life. Knowing how much a few simple habits can influence the disposition of your mind and the health of your body makes it pretty clear that it’s worth getting out of your comfort zone to incorporate a few morning hacks. We at Live Conscious® love to discover what each day brings, but sometimes we all need a little extra oomph to get our morning started. Setting the stage for a day well spent is a fundamental way to ensure we continue living with that spark of vitality to become who we were truly meant to be.