We bring you some unusual advice on how to shake up your rising routine and give your day a healthier start. Try mixing up your morning routine for some surprising health boosts. You shouldn’t, for instance, use toothpaste or make your bed, but you certainly should have sex. Kiss and make out: Research suggests that couples who indulge in morning nookie are healthier and happier than those who head straight for tea and toast.Sex can release feel-good chemical oxytocin, which helps reduce blood pressure, lowers levels of stress hormones in the body, improves mood and may even increase your tolerance for pain. And don’t forget to give your partner a peck goodbye at the door. German psychologists found people who kissed their spouse each morning lived up to five years longer than those who didn’t. Phone are not alarm clocks: More than half of us use smartphones to wake us up, but reaching for them first thing usually means we start our day checking emails and messages.”While seemingly harmless, this can raise our alertness and stress levels with spikes in cortisol and adrenaline. This can reduce our daytime energy,” says sleep expert Dr Guy Meadows.”Having a period of detachment from phones can be a healthy thing before sleep and in the morning. Leave yours in another room and invest in an old-fashioned alarm clock for a less stressful morning.” Leave your bed unmade: Researchers at Kingston University London suggest we leave our beds unmade to kill off house dust mites -the most common cause of allergy symptoms. “They thrive in our warm beds where they feed off skin cells and absorb moisture from the average half a litre of sweat we produce every night,” explains allergist Maureen Jenkins. Making the bed and tucking in the covers will keep the bed moist, but exposing the sheets and mattress to the air dries them, meaning the mites will dehydrate and die. Don’t use toothpaste: A trial published in The Journal of the American Dental Association found volunteers who first brushed their teeth with a dry toothbrush (followed by a session with toothpaste) had a 63 per cent reduction in plaque and a 55 per cent reduction in bleeding gums.”Bristles tend to be stiffer when dry so they remove more plaque,” explains dentist Dr Stephen Pitt. “Plus, you’re more likely to keep brushing for longer with a dry brush because you can feel when teeth surfaces are clean with your tongue. When you use toothpaste, your mouth feels minty quickly so you may stop brushing before plaque is removed. And with a dry brush, you’re not restricted to the bathroom so you can spend longer brushing as you do other activities.” Stretch in the shower: Don’t just stand in the shower -stretch! “This improves circulation and gets your lymphatic system moving -which helps get rid of toxins,” says fitness expert Jacqui Cleaver.”The warmth of the water will help your muscles move with more ease.First, lean down and try to touch your toes. Hold for 30 seconds. Lift your arms over your head and push towards the sky. This lengthens your spine and can help improve posture.” Lose the snooze: Do you set your alarm for half an hour earlier than you need to, then hit snooze three times before finally getting up? Bad idea. You end up of cheating yourself of 30 minutes of restorative sleep as you slip in and out of light, poor quality sleep. As a result, you’ll end up feeling more tired in the day. Set your alarm clock for when you need to wake up and pop the clock on the other side of the room so you have to get up to turn it off. Wake up to warm water: “Drinking coffee on an empty stomach can cause heartburn, indigestion and blood sugar fluctuations which can make us irritable,” says nutritionist Christine Bailey. What’s more, a morning coffee might not have the wake-up effect you crave. Between 8-9 am, our levels of cortisol (a hormone that makes us feel awake) are at a peak. Scientists have found that drinking coffee during peak periods of cortisol production diminishes the effect of caffeine and means you build up a greater tolerance to it (meaning you need more and more to feel awake in the future). “Get into the habit of drinking a little lemon juice in warm water first -this helps stimulate digestive secretions to help you tackle breakfast better and enjoy a coffee after you’ve eaten, ideally after 9 am,” adds Christine. Have a weigh-in: Stepping on the scales first thing in the morning (after the loo and before breakfast) gives the most accurate reading of your weight. And do it daily. A Brown University study from the US found 61 per cent of dieters who did this maintained their weight over 18 months, mainly because it helped them catch weight gain early. “It makes sense as this allows you to monitor and track weight with as little room for error as possible,” says nutritionist Frida Harju. Bright Idea: Fling open the curtains and eat your breakfast by the window. A US study found people who were exposed to even moderately bright light in the morning had a lower body mass index (BMI) than those who were exposed to light later in the day. The study said not enough light in the morning may de-synchronise your internal body clock which can affect metabolism and lead to weight gain.”Getting outside in the morning, ideally with a bit of exercise, is likely to help stress levels, get muscles moving and stop you snacking. All these are a few more steps towards life-long weight control,” adds weight-loss surgeon Dr Sally Norton.
give your day a healthier start.