Realistic Morning Routine Ideas for a Better Day

Last Updated on July 13, 2024

by Marc Werner, Founder - GhostBed

If you spend time on TikTok, you may have seen folks sharing videos of their “5-to-9 before my 9-to-5” routines. Scrolling through these clips, you'll see people hopping out of bed at 5 am to meditate, do yoga and make elaborate smoothies before the sun has fully risen.

If this type of morning routine speaks to you, great! It can be a productive way to start your day. But many people benefit from something simpler before a long day of work or school.

Here at GhostBed, we're all about helping you find simple solutions to start and end your day. We're sharing some basic steps to get your day off to the right start, even if you're not up at dawn.

Woman in bed, turning off alarm clock on phone.

1. Wake Up at the Same Time Every Day

A good day starts with a great night of sleep. That means it's important to keep your circadian rhythm–the internal clock that tells your body when it's time to sleep and wake–regulated.

One way to do that? Go to bed and wake up at the same time every night. Studies show it leads to better sleep and a healthier lifestyle.

2. Acknowledge Your Transition from Sleep to Waking Up

If you think about it, waking up is pretty weird! Going from dreamland to reality can feel jarring, so it's nice to ease the transition if you can. Before you get out of bed, check in with yourself.

Note how your body is feeling, stretch gently, wiggle your toes and flex your feet. Give yourself a moment to realize it's a brand-new day.

3. Get Sunlight First Thing in The Morning

Try stepping outside to get some sunlight as soon as you wake up. It's another excellent way to regulate your circadian rhythm. Plus, it helps your body synthesize vitamin D and can make you feel happier, more energized and ready to tackle the day.

Maybe try making it a goal to watch the sun rise once a week so you can start your day with something beautiful.

Pro tip: Read our guide on optimizing sunlight to get better sleep.

Couple dancing in pajamas in front of bed.

4. Play Uplifting Music

Have you noticed that the mood you start your morning with tends to influence your entire day?

Give yourself the best chance at having a productive, happy day by putting on some uplifting tunes as soon as you rise. Bonus points if you get your blood pumping by having a little dance party.

5. Practice Gratitude

The research is clear: practicing gratitude makes you happier. Even if you're not up for a full journal session in the morning, spend five minutes writing down what you're grateful for.

It'll put you in a better mindset for the day. Plus, it will prime you to notice more things you appreciate.

(Hint: for maximum benefit, try not to re-list the same things you're thankful for every day. Mix it up, and remember nothing is too small to be grateful for.)

6. Eat Breakfast

If most of us went more than eight hours during the day without eating, we'd be pretty cranky. Yet many folks don't think twice about skipping breakfast in the morning.

Eating a healthy breakfast helps to keep your blood sugar steady throughout the day, leading to better focus, less fatigue and a better mood.

So make sure to eat a satisfying balance of carbohydrates, protein and fat within an hour of waking. (Try to leave sugary pancakes and cereals for special occasions!)

Woman journaling and drinking coffee.

7. Plan Out Your Day

Life is much easier to tackle with an organized to-do list. If you don't like to do it the evening before, make it part of your morning routine to plan out your day. (Pro tip: do this after you've had breakfast so you're satiated and focused.)

When you're formulating your plan for the day, remember to keep it realistic. Adding more to-do items than you can achieve won't make you more successful, but it will increase your stress.

If you'd like to add a mindful element to your planning, write an intention for the day at the top of the page. (Examples might be: being present in each moment, communicating honestly and directly or prioritizing joy.)

Opt for Gentle Stretching or Massage

When it comes to preparing for our day, many of us are taking the wrong approach. We’re moving quickly, downing caffeine and feeling frantic. If you want to have an enjoyable, lower-stress day, you might want to try slowing down.

A couple great ways to do that? One is to practice some gentle stretching. It doesn’t have to be anything complex. Simply take a few minutes to wake up your body. Or if you prefer, you might enjoy some gentle massage. You can rub your own shoulders, ask your partner to do it or–the ultimate morning treat–luxuriate in a massage bed.

9. Do Something You Enjoy

This is our favorite tip! You can try every productivity hack and morning routine out there, but nothing will make you more successful than feeling truly happy. So if you can, set aside 20 minutes in the morning to do something that brings you joy.

The options here are endless, and we encourage you to think outside the box. Whether you like to knit, whip up a batch of cookie dough, lift weights or have a dance party–do what fills you up and watch how it transforms your day.

Morning Routine Tips

While the aspirational morning routines on social media are fun to watch, they can lead to burnout if they're not realistic for you.

Here are a few tips to keep your routine achievable, beneficial and joyful:

1. Be Realistic

You can do anything, but you cannot do everything. Trying to fit an artisanal breakfast, an hour-long yoga routine and an in-depth journaling session into your morning may work some days, but many times it won't. That's okay!

The goal is to feel good, not to look good. Often, that requires incorporating only one or two new habits into your day.

Man stretching while staring out a sunlit window.

2. Be Present in Your Practice

Our most controversial opinion? Bullet journals are not everyone's friend. When you're focused on checking boxes, you're not always present in your morning routine.

When you wake up tomorrow, tune into what's happening in your mind and body when you stretch, meditate or make breakfast. That's more important than crossing it off your to-do list.

3. Give Yourself Enough Time in the Morning

A calm and productive morning routine starts with going to bed at a realistic time. No morning practice is going to feel good if you're rushing through it because you overslept.

If you do wake up later than planned, we don't recommend trying to speed through your entire morning routine. Instead, focus on the most impactful items (like eating breakfast) and let go of the rest. You can always try again tomorrow.

Woman pouring coffee in the morning.

4. Make Sure Your Morning Routine Is Something You Enjoy

Most of us are not influencers. And even if you are, you don't have to share your morning routine on social media. That means the way you start your mornings does not need to be picture-perfect or have mass appeal.

Making colorful smoothie bowls and meditating for 30 minutes may look good, but if it leaves you feeling hungry and antsy, it's not for you. Maybe you need scrambled eggs and a dance party to get your day going. So do that!

5. Ditch the Idea of a Routine Altogether

Some facets of your morning stay the same from day to day. You're going to wake up, maybe eat something, and get started on work or school. But what you do in between those tasks doesn't have to stay stagnant.

Instead, we recommend having a “bank” of morning routine ideas and checking in with yourself each day to see what you need. Some mornings, quiet time with a book will be helpful, while other mornings you may be craving some type of movement.

You're not the same from day to day and your morning routine needn't be either.

Good Morning Routines Start With Great Sleep

The best morning routine starts with an excellent night of sleep, so make sure you're sleeping on the right mattress.

At GhostBed, we're dedicated to helping you find the right bed for your unique body, which is why we created our mattress quiz. Answer a few questions to find your perfect mattress and wake up feeling rejuvenated.

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Marc Werner - Founder, GhostBed

Marc Werner

Founder - GhostBed

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Marc has spent the last two decades designing & manufacturing mattresses and other sleep products, drawing on a lifetime of experience working with the material sciences. With several patents to his name, he works closely with the GhostBed team to create products with the perfect balance of comfort & support. Learn More

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