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Home/Blog/Best Morning Routine: 13 Steps for a Productive Day

Best Morning Routine: 13 Steps for a Productive Day

By Ethan Boldt

July 9, 2024

Best morning routine

The productive morning. It’s a goal that most of us have but it can be elusive unless we begin to create certain productive habits that we both enjoy and that we find are easy to return to … to the point that we miss them when we don’t put that habit into play.

The ideal productive morning routine helps promote overall wellness and sets you up to be happy and successful the remainder of your day. Overall wellness may simply mean having more energy but it can also be about continuing on your healthy weight loss journey, slowing your biological aging or simply getting fitter.

Being successful for the rest of your day, meanwhile, has a lot to do with where your mindset is at. Are you feeling stable or restless? Are you energetic or listless? Are you motivated or feeling uninspired? Are you focused or distracted?

Getting your morning right can also get your mindset into the right place, so you’re more likely to feel genuine happiness as well as optimism about the day ahead of you. Results can include feeling balanced, energetic, motivated and focused.

Let’s learn how to build that productive morning routine and get those kinds of results.

Just remember that creating a morning routine is best done in small, sustainable steps.

A study published in the British Journal of General Practice found that habit-formation advice, paired with a “small changes” approach led to high success rates. The key is when creating a daily routine, take small steps so the routine becomes second nature. In fact, some study participants reported feeling “quite strange” when skipping their daily routine.

With that in mind, here’s a list of ideas you can draw from to start creating a healthy morning routine that works for you. Remember, start small and only add on once your initial tasks become “second nature.”

As always, you should consult your healthcare professional prior to beginning any new dietary or lifestyle regimen.

1. You just had 8 hours of sleep

Part of developing a productive morning routine is also becoming a morning person. That’s really only possible if you accomplish goal No. 1: getting enough quality sleep.

Aim for seven to nine hours of sleep each night, and try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. This helps regulate your body's internal clock and makes it easier to wake up early.

To start your day early, such as 6 or 7 a.m., ideally you’re also going to bed by 10 or 10:30 p.m. If you’re a midnight person, slowly shift your hitting-the-sack time back by 15 to 30 minutes per night. This approach will help reset your circadian rhythm so an earlier bedtime will feel natural.

2. Eat dinner earlier the night before

Just like you want to slowly get your bedtime closer to 10 p.m., you also want to jettison the 8 or 9 p.m. meals. Instead, try to get that dinner on the table by 6 or 7 p.m.

When you eat earlier, you digest your food earlier and that can help you fall asleep earlier. Eating earlier also allows your blood sugar to rise after dinner and then fall well before you get into bed. This also helps facilitate better sleep.

Also avoid high-intensity workouts before bed, as it can take one longer to fall asleep. Also avoid too much blue light (from your smartphone or TV) at least an hour before you go to sleep.

3. Wake up between 5 and 7 a.m.

Although many say the “early bird gets the worm,” waking up at 4 or 5 a.m. simply doesn’t work for some people’s schedules or their own body’s rhythm.

That being said, some highly productive people swear by such an early waking hour, saying they use that early time to exercise, meditate, plan and more before most people (including their own family in some cases) are awake. They also can get a “jump on the day” before any of their work colleagues.

So whatever wakeup time you settle on, don’t just try it tomorrow. Like your bedtime, slowly adjust your alarm backwards about 15 to 30 minutes each day until you reach your goal time.

4. Natural light

Sunlight signals our brain to wake up, helps us stay alert and even boosts serotonin levels. So open those curtains as soon as you wake up and consider going for an early morning walk or run to use the morning sun and fresh air to fully wake you up.

If it’s still dark outside when you wake up, consider a light therapy lamp.

5. Practice tongue scraping

We all know keeping our microbiome balanced and healthy is central to wellness. To kick things off in the morning, practice tongue scraping, a practice used for thousands of years in Ayurveda practice to promote balance.

Gently scraping your tongue from back to front using a stainless steel tongue scraping tool or even a spoon before brushing your teeth or ingesting anything helps clear away what builds up on the tongue overnight. It also helps stimulate the digestive system in the morning.

After tongue scraping, rinse out your mouth with water, brush your teeth and drink a glass of room temperature water.

6. Drink water before coffee

Rather than immediately slamming some coffee, have some water first to hydrate after your sleep. Being hydrated is key for electrolyte balance, assists digestion and allows our bodies to disperse nutrients. In fact, just about every organ and system in our bodies depends upon water to do its job.

Your kidneys and liver require water to clean your blood, produce urine and help your body to get rid of waste. When you drink water, you’re less likely to deal with occasional constipation or other digestive impacts, which can be worsened in some cases by not drinking enough water or even dehydration.

7. Have a morning beverage that you look forward to

For many people, a simple cup of coffee with half and half, almond milk or just black is their morning drink of choice. In fact, it’s a requirement to feel normal for some of us.

Consider expanding your repertoire of morning drinks that you look forward to having … that, in some cases, help get you out of bed.

For example, try these caffeinated drinks: collagen coffee, protein coffee, cold brew coffee or a matcha latte.

8. Morning supplements

Morning is also the best time to make sure you take your supplements (unless indicated otherwise on the label’s direction for use), so you know you’re getting the right nutrients to help keep you healthy and support your goals.

First, you’re going to want a multivitamin to help cover your nutritional bases. Look at Ancient Nutrition's variety of multivitamins, including Once Daily's.

Second, before you eat your breakfast, take a probiotic. This is the best time to take a probiotic because it helps ensure survival better compared to taking them after a meal, when the pH of your stomach becomes more acidic. (Be sure to read and follow label directions for use.)

Taking SBO (soil-based organism) probiotics regularly can help reduce occasional constipation, bloating and flatulence/gassiness, and can support healthy immune system function.

Ancient Nutrition offers several types of SBO Probiotics based on individual health goals, including SBO Probiotics Gut Restore (provides 25 billion CFUs per serving at time of manufacture) and SBO Probiotics Ultimate (provides 50 billion CFUs per serving at time of manufacture) as well as a women’s and men’s formula (and Once Daily's).

Third, consider a collagen supplement. As we age, we naturally tend to develop fine lines, wrinkles and sagging skin because our bodies make less collagen. Collagen is a structural protein that contributes to skin, hair and nail health by helping to form and promote healthy tissues.

Ancient Nutrition's Multi Collagen Protein features 10 types of collagen, including the clinically studied and fermented eggshell collagen ingredient. This specific collagen is backed by six human clinical studies and offers several specific benefits for skin, hair and nails, including improving the appearance of crow’s feet after 4 weeks and skin tone after 8 weeks, as well as improving skin firmness and elasticity.

Also take a look at Multi Collagen Advanced, a new line of collagen supplements packed with 10 types of collagen from 10 food-based sources that also feature ingredients that help one get lean, gain muscle, rapidly hydrate and detoxify. For example, check out Multi Collagen Advanced Hydrate powder that offers two times more electrolytes (based on overall sodium and potassium levels) than leading sports drinks.

Fourth, Ancient Elixirs Superfood Matcha is a favorite among productive morning folks. It brings you a clean source (including matcha, ashwagandha, reishi and chaga) of sustained energy to help you power through your day.

Containing 135 mg caffeine from matcha and organic coffee cherry, it supports healthy energy and reduces fatigue, plus helps promote mental clarity, concentration and a positive mindset.

9. Get in that morning workout

For a truly productive morning, you will want to get in a workout. It will release endorphins, which help elevate your mood naturally.

Plus working out in the morning can raise your metabolism early, so it’s revving all day and thereby increasing how many calories you burn throughout the day. It also can create a positive and health-focused mindset, which affects the rest of the day in the right ways, such as making better food choices.

Choose a workout that you enjoy and will look forward to each morning rather than one you dread. Maybe it's an outdoor walk, an exercise class, home yoga or doing a strength workout (see the 10 exercises in our how to tone your body workout).

10. Prepare a balanced macronutrient breakfast

Whether you’re making a quick smoothie, having cereal or cooking up a breakfast, it’s common to accidentally skip one of the three macronutrients — carbohydrates, fat and protein — and potentially overdo one of them.

Why does this matter? Well, a balanced blend of "macros" means more prolonged energy for the day, support for your muscles, fewer blood sugar spikes, along with other benefits.

Many smoothies tend to be high in carbs, moderate in protein and absent of fats, for example. Many cereals and baked breakfasts are practically all carb and fat, with little protein.

Instead, try to get at least 20 to 30 percent of your meal with each macronutrient. Check out these easy breakfast ideas.

11. Morning nutrients to get in

Compared to lunch and dinner, many of us consume pretty plain breakfasts that may include fruit but typically are absent of vegetables. Consider making up a breakfast that includes veggies, such as a green smoothie, green juice, spinach frittata or avocado toast.

Also consider Ancient Nutrition’s two power-packed supplements: Organic SuperGreens (including the popular new flavors mango and berry) and glandulars like Grass-Fed Liver, Organs Blend, Women’s Vitality and Male Performance. There’s even Once Daily versions.

12. Avoid foods that can “disrupt” your gut

Certain foods can disrupt your gut microbiome, including having a negative effect on gut bacteria and lead to imbalanced inflammation.

Ultra-processed foods are a major culprit, as they contain many inferior ingredients such as refined vegetable oils (like canola, corn and soybean oils) that are high in pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids.

Pasteurized dairy products are common allergens, and conventional meat, poultry and eggs are high in omega-6s due to feeding the animals corn and cheap ingredients that negatively affect their microbiomes.

Meanwhile, added sugars are found in the majority of packaged snacks, breads, condiments, canned items, cereals and more. Adopt a no-sugar diet approach instead, starting in the morning time.

If you still want that donut, simply make your own that only has health-minded ingredients, like our apple cider donut, double chocolate donut or matcha donut.

13. Meditate before the work day starts

Lastly, before you start your work day or activities, consider meditating. It can help you relax, reducing stress and facilitating better sleep.

Consider an app that provides guided meditations. A 2019 study found that a mindfulness meditation app provided immediate effects on both mood and stress, while also providing long-term benefits for improved attention.

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