The optimal morning routine

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The optimal morning routine, according to and based on a combination of scientific research and personal practice, includes several key components that aim to improve mood, cognitive performance, and overall well-being:

  1. Wake up early: Attempt to wake up 2-3 hours before your habitual wake-up time and maximize outdoor light exposure in the mornings, before noon, to set in motion beneficial processes for mental and physical health 1.

  2. Avoid caffeine upon waking: Upon waking, hydrate with water and electrolytes, but refrain from consuming caffeine right away. Instead, get bright light in your eyes, ideally from sunlight, and delay caffeine intake for 90-120 minutes after waking. This helps increase the peak of the cortisol pulse and enhances alertness and mood 2.

  3. Exercise and temperature control: Engage in exercise early in the morning to increase core body temperature, which helps with alertness. Activities like walking or jogging, ideally in the sunlight, or even light calisthenics can be beneficial 3. Consider adding a cold shower to further increase wakefulness 3.

    Optimizing Morning Routine

    Andrew discusses a study that found significant improvements in mood and cognitive performance by implementing non-pharmacological interventions in a real-world setting. These interventions include consistent sleep and wake times, fixed meal times, caffeine intake, exercise, and maximizing outdoor light exposure during the morning. Participants were asked to wake up two to three hours before their habitual wake-up time and get as much sunlight as possible.

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    Optimize & Control Your Brain Chemistry to Improve Health & Performance | Huberman Lab Podcast #80
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  4. Track your temperature minimum: Note down the time you wake up to determine your "temperature minimum," which is two hours before your average waking time and signifies the point when your body temperature is the lowest 4.

  5. Exposure to bright light: Ensure you get exposure to bright light within the first 30-60 minutes of waking. This triggers an early cortisol peak and sets your circadian rhythm 5.

also points out that morning exercise not only prepares the body for waking up earlier but also stimulates neuromodulators that increase arousal and mental acuity throughout the day 6. He also mentions the importance of light exposure to circadian rhythms, advocating for ample bright light during the day and reduced light exposure at night 7.

Additionally, , a guest on the , describes his morning routine that involves waking up and going directly into the sun, slowly starting the day, engaging in physical activity about an hour after waking, stretching, and avoiding work-related tasks until around 11:00 a.m. to maintain a focus on personal well-being 8.

Implementing these practices may help optimize one's morning routine, but it's important to note that routines can vary between individuals, and you may need to adjust these suggestions to fit your schedule and preferences.

what is i cannot take a cold plunge in the morning?

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If you cannot take a cold plunge in the morning, there are alternatives that can still provide similar benefits:

  1. Cold Showers: A cold shower for 30 seconds to two minutes in the morning can significantly boost dopamine levels and improve alertness and well-being throughout the day. recommends starting with a temperature that feels uncomfortably cold but is manageable and then gradually easing into colder temperatures as tolerated 1.

  2. Warmer Water Exposure: If cold showers are too challenging, spending 45-60 minutes in water at around 60°F can also increase dopamine levels. This method might be less practical for many people due to the longer duration required, but it remains effective 1.

  3. Alternating Water Temperatures: You can alternate between cold and warm water if a constant cold shower feels too intense. Finishing with a cold burst can still stimulate the same benefits, even if you mix in warm water during the shower 2.

  4. Exercise and Sunlight: Incorporate other elements of a robust morning routine, such as physical exercise and exposure to bright sunlight. These activities increase core body temperature, enhance wakefulness, and help set your circadian rhythm 3.

    Boosting Dopamine

    Andrew recommends deliberate cold exposure to increase dopamine for long periods of time. This can be achieved by taking a very cold shower or plunge for a brief period of time or by sitting in warmer water up to the neck for 45 to 60 minutes. The temperature and duration don't need to be precise, but it should be uncomfortably cold to increase baseline levels of dopamine significantly.

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Cold exposure methods may be adjusted based on individual preferences and practicalities, ensuring that you still gain the alertness and well-being benefits without a rigid requirement to perform a specific cold plunge.

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