Seven mistakes you're making in the morning

By Vanessa Brown

If you find mornings a challenge, your daily routine could be to blame. Photo / Getty
If you find mornings a challenge, your daily routine could be to blame. Photo / Getty

Making the most of your morning can be a challenge.

There's so many "expert" opinions on how you should tackle the first few hours of your day, it's often hard to distinguish a healthy routine from one that isn't so good for you.

From skipping breakfast to getting up early to exercise, here are seven ways your morning routine may be doing you more harm than good:

Checking your phone as soon as you wake up

When you wake up, rolling over and checking your phone notifications before doing anything else has become somewhat normal.

In an attempt to get ahead on your day, jumping on your emails or Twitter feed has become a habit that now goes unnoticed.

But according to optometrists, that part of your morning ritual may actually be causing big problems for your eyesight.

The light that beams from your phone first thing in the morning can dry out your eyes quicker, because you don't produce the same amount of tears while you sleep.

Squinting and staring into bright light first thing eliminates the amount of tears produced, meaning your eyes will be left feeling dry, irritated and uncomfortable for most of the day.

Experts say looking at a screen as soon as you wake up could cause eye problems. Photo / Getty
Experts say looking at a screen as soon as you wake up could cause eye problems. Photo / Getty

Swapping breakfast for a coffee

We've all been there before. Running late for a meeting, or maybe you're seconds away from missing your train - so forget sitting down to breakfast, grab a coffee instead.

While a large latte on the go may seem filling at the time, it's bound to set you up for a much harder day by lunchtime.

"If you skip breakfast your body will release more adrenaline to keep you going and your blood-sugar levels will drop," Rick Hay, nutritionist and author of The Anti Ageing Food & Fitness Plan told the Mirror.

"This is bad news if you're trying to lose weight and will leave you more likely to have cravings throughout the day. Relying on a coffee will pick you up for a while, but may cause you to be more stressed and tired later in the day as its effects wear off.

"Again, this will leave you prone to mood swings and cravings for sugar."

Keeping the curtains closed

While we may be seeing out the last few weeks of winter, many of us still fail to see much sunlight at either end of the day.

But a US study found that people who get most of their natural light exposure after noon had higher BMIs than people who got some sunshine in the morning.

According to the study, which was conducted by the Northwestern University School of Medicine in Illinois, people who had most of their daily exposure to even moderately bright light in the morning had a significantly lower body mass index (BMI) than those who had most of their light exposure later in the day.

The influence of morning light exposure on body weight was independent of an individual's physical activity level, caloric intake, sleep timing, age or season. It accounted for about 20 per cent of a person's BMI.

"The earlier this light exposure occurred during the day, the lower individuals' body mass index," said co-lead author Kathryn Reid, research associate professor of neurology at the university.

"The later the hour of moderately bright light exposure, the higher a person's BMI."
Side note ... maybe just close the curtains while you're getting changed!

Failing to apply sunscreen

Ask any dermatologist, beautician or skincare physician - and they will all recommend the same thing. Sunscreen every morning - no excuses.

While many of us may fall back on the SPF count in moisturises and foundations, unfortunately that's not enough to protect skin from harmful UV rays and other pollutants.

With skin cancer rates are on the rise, sunscreen has been proven to decrease the development of skin cancer. But that isn't the only reason it should be used.

Used every day, the protective cream helps to prevent facial brown spots and skin discolourations. It also helps to reduce the appearance of facial red veins and blotchiness, and even slows down the development of wrinkled, premature ageing skin.

"Typically, the protection in make-up is not high enough to minimise sun damage and ageing of the skin because it doesn't provide protection against both UVA and UVB rays," says Martin Wade, dermatologist at The London Skin and Hair Clinic.

"You should use SPF 50+ sun ­protection on the face and neck every day of the year, even in winter.

"Women should apply it before make-up, and if you choose a product specifically designed for daily use on the face, that will do the job of your moisturiser too."

Simple carbs like white bread and sugary cereals can give you a quick energy boost, followed by a crash. Photo / Getty
Simple carbs like white bread and sugary cereals can give you a quick energy boost, followed by a crash. Photo / Getty

Having simple carbs for breakfast

It's the most important meal of the day, but many of us are still doing it wrong.

While carbs often get a bad rap, eating the right ones at breakfast can be a sure-fire way of staying full and energised throughout the day.

But when we say carbs, we don't mean the "simple" high GI kind like white bread or sugary cereals.

Simple carbs often give the body a boost of energy, but that's followed by a pretty big crash. They are the reason people often associate carb consumption with weight gain.

"If you start the day with white toast or a sugary cereal, you are more likely to feel hungry quicker than ­if you had a protein-based ­breakfast, such as eggs, a smoothie with nuts and seeds, or a slow-release complex carbohydrate option like porridge," says nutritionist Rick Hay.

If you're after energy to see you through until lunchtime, best to load up on some complex carbs for breakfast so your body stays fuelled throughout the morning.

Brushing your teeth straight after breakfast

Brushing your teeth morning and night (and even at lunch if you can) has always been the routine set by dentists.

Tradition says "brush after every meal," but recent research suggests otherwise - suggesting that cleaning to soon after eating may be damaging enamel.

Matthew Lloyd from WhiteWash Laboratories recommends people brush first thing in the morning - so that's BEFORE breakfast.

Certain foods and drinks - especially those high in simple carbohydrates and sugars - spur the creation of certain bacteria in your mouth that attack your tooth enamel for at least 20 minutes after you eat a meal or have a snack.

According to the Mayo Clinic, brushing your teeth after eating can sometimes affect your tooth enamel. If you've consumed anything acidic, you should avoid brushing your teeth for at least 30 minutes.

Foods containing citric acid, like oranges, grapefruits and lemons, weaken tooth enamel. Brushing too soon after eating them can damage the enamel in its weakened state.

"Some people find this bizarre but if you've consumed anything acidic, such as fruit juice, coffee or yoghurt, brushing your teeth afterwards can damage your tooth enamel," he said.

"And don't rinse your mouth with water. Leave excess toothpaste to sink into your teeth instead."

Good news for those who hate morning gym sessions, some experts say getting more sleep is better for you than leaving bed early for a workout. Photo / Getty
Good news for those who hate morning gym sessions, some experts say getting more sleep is better for you than leaving bed early for a workout. Photo / Getty

Getting up early for the gym

Trying to fit in the recommended dosage of sleep and exercise, on top of all the other variables in your life can seem impossible.

So when you're debating the choice of lying in bed for another two hours or dragging yourself to the gym, sometimes shut-eye wins - and according to some experts, that's a smart move.

Science still doesn't have the hard and fast answer about when you should work out.
"Both sleep and exercise are main behaviours that contribute to physical and mental health," says Kelly Glazer Baron, a clinical psychologist and sleep researcher at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University.

Considering multiple studies point to the direct relationship between sleep and exercise, there's no denying that you should strive for adequate amounts of both - which may mean skipping the gym if you haven't clocked your 7-9 hours of sleep.

"If you're serious about getting fitter, then getting a good night's sleep needs to be an essential part of your training program," says Dr Meadows, who started Benson for Beds' Sleep School's online advice initiative.

"Sleep is a time when your muscles grow so sacrificing it negates the effect of going to the gym."

"Our research found that when athletes extended their sleeping duration from seven hours per night to nine hours over a seven-day period, it resulted in significant improvements in their physical performance, including strength, reaction time and pain tolerance."

- news.com.au

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