Mornings— Love ‘em or hate ‘em, we all have to wake up and face the music. So why do some people seem to effortlessly rise and shine while the rest of us hide under the covers ignoring the alarm? The key to a successful, productive morning is all about consistency. Here are six tips to help even the most stubborn sleepers find their inner early-bird.

1) You Snooze, You Lose.

We’ve all done it— stared bitterly into the face of a blaring alarm clock (which, at 7:00 am, looks a lot like the face of death). But this time you’re really tired, complete with sore muscles and pink puffy eyes… So you think: “Maybe if I get a little more sleep, just an extra fifteen minutes, I’ll feel refreshed…” Wrong. Ready or not, once you’re awake your brain begins the process of reactivating your body and getting ready for the day ahead. Hitting the snooze button is the psychological equivalent of throwing in the towel, treating the day’s activities as a burden, something to avoid. Instead, use those extra minutes to embrace the day ahead— prepare an extra tasty breakfast, go for a morning walk, or do something active to shake off that sleep dust.

2) The Best Part of Waking Up Is… Water?

That’s right. Before you indulge in a cup of joe, first make sure you’re properly hydrated. Our bodies need water— lots of it. Prior to pumping your veins full of caffeinated goodness, make sure you’ve had 8 to 16 oz. of good ol’ H20. Feeling extra ambitious? Add lemon and cayenne pepper to your glass of water. It will boost your body’s immune system and aid in flushing out harmful toxins. Staying properly hydrated before your morning brew will also you help stave off migraines and avoid the 3 o’clock crash.

3) Get up, Get out.

For many of us, exercise is the last thing on our mind when we roll out of bed. Still, the benefits of a morning workout are plentiful! The jump in heart rate will stimulate your brain, making it easier to feel awake and alert, and your body will keep burning fat long after you’ve stopped sweating! Even mild exercise— a brisk walk, a few laps in the pool — can provide fat-burning energy throughout the day. With exercise out of the way, you’ll feel energized and motivated to knock out even more things from your to-do list. You may even end up cleaning the attic or fixing that leaky faucet…

4) Stretch It Out.

Oddly enough, sleeping is hard on our bodies. Our muscles need movement and blood flow to stay in peak condition. When you first wake up, your body may feel stiff and achy. Taking five to ten minutes to stretch can get your blood moving and release built up pressure from the hours of inactivity spent in bed. And if you’re like most adults who spend hours of their workday in front of a computer, stretching every morning will help prevent straining and cramping, and can even lead to reduced levels of stress.

5) Journal or It Didn’t Happen.

Taking a moment to reflect on life can be a powerful tool for self-realization. Whether it’s writing down what you’re grateful for or just chronicling the day’s events, journaling promotes greater self-awareness, which makes setting and reaching goals more attainable, and also allows you to re-live special moments from your life. Journaling has also been found to produce powerful cognitive benefits like increased memory and greater attention-span.

6) Stop and Smell the Roses.

Think about your daily commute to work. A sea of cars speeding and stopping along the freeway, drivers frantically applying make-up in the rearview mirror. There’s no doubt that we live in a rushed society. This creates sensations of urgency that can cause heightened levels of stress and anxiety (to say nothing of the dangers of driving while tweezing!) Give yourself plenty of time for your morning routine. Try taking a different route to work or going green and using public transportation. These small variations to an otherwise mundane pattern can help you see things with renewed perspective and arrive at work feeling happy and at ease, which in turn leads to a more constructive, satisfying experience in the workplace.

Remember, mornings don’t have to be miserable! By making just a few adjustments to your daily routine, you can enjoy greater health and increased productivity. Every day is a new opportunity, so make it count!

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