|Delaying Your Morning Coffee Will Change Your Life|
Start your day with this Neuroscience-based hack instead
Changing habits can be difficult, especially when we don’t have a replacement habit to fill the void.
We can replace our ‘coffee upon waking habit’ and naturally boost our levels of alertness, reset our circadian rhythms, and improve our sleep by following this morning routine, developed by Dr. Huberman:
1. Within 30 minutes of waking get some sunlight into your eyes. Getting early sunlight into the optic nerve signals to your that body it’s time to start the day. This helps to get your body accustomed to waking at the same time each day as well as boosting cortisol and alertness.
The best way to do this is by going outside and exposing your eyes to direct sunlight for at least 5–10 minutes without wearing sunglasses.
Don’t use screens or indoor lighting as your light source, as they have a different spectrum and light profile. Also avoid getting your sunlight through windows and sunglasses, as they usually reduce certain frequencies of ultraviolet light.
2. Get at least 10–20 minutes of light exercise within the first hour of waking. This will boost dopamine levels and increase blood flow which also helps to boost your cortisol and natural energy levels without needing caffeine or other stimulants.
Additional benefits of early exercise are notable improvements in brain function. Multiple studies have found that pattern recognition and exam scores are higher after exercise; however, the impact of exercise on the brain is only for that same day indicating that we need to exercise every day to get the associated brain benefits.
3. Consume your caffeine of choice about 2 hours after waking as your cortisol levels peak to have a sustained flow of energy. Bonus points if you can wait even longer and time your caffeine consumption to coincide with difficult work requiring added focus, like a new project or a difficult workout.
Timing is everything and that is just as true with caffeine as it is with investing, so be sure to invest in your health by following the above practices.
4. Pro tip. For the purposes of resetting your circadian rhythms and improving your sleep, it is recommended to get some evening sunlight as well. The setting sun and its respective light profile tell the brain that nighttime is approaching and the body begins to prepare for sleep.
To ensure you are getting the most out of this tip, adjust the lights in your home to be softer, dimmer, and contain more yellows and reds as opposed to blue and white light — or wear blue blocking lenses in the evening especially if spending time in front of screens.
To summarize, if you truly want to ‘live your best life,’ ditch the morning caffeine and go outside for a short brisk walk, stretch, get sunlight into your eyes without sunglasses, and then begin your day. You may find the energy boost you get from this practice to have all the benefits of caffeine without the side effects, including enough extra money in your pockets for one more vacation every year.