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5 ways to perk up in the morning

Five Ways to Replace Morning Coffee to Jump Start Your Day

Millions of people start out each day with a hot cup of coffee, but is that the only way to boost your energy in the morning? Whether you're looking to cut back on your coffee spend, to break your Starbucks addiction or just live a healthier life, know that turning to caffeine is not your only option. Consider these five caffeine-free alternatives that will help get you going.

1. Find Your Pressure Points

It’s called self-acupressure, and it works at any time of day. Start by massaging your scalp, focusing on the top of your head and move down to your temples. Spend two or three minutes massaging the area between your thumb and index finger on each hand, too. This helps increase blood flow to the brain and gives you a heightened sense of alertness.

First thing in the morning, open your blinds. It may sound too easy to be true, but a study conducted at the University of Liege shows that the simple act of seeing sunlight improves your mood and increases alertness. [1] If you have the chance, take a minute to step outside and breathe in the fresh air, too. The combination of morning rays and natural aromas will help start your day off right.

3. Chew a Piece of Mint Gum

A 2012 study out of the UK found that chewing a piece of mint gum stimulates your nervous system and increases blood flow to the brain. It's comparable to splashing cold water on your face. For best results, researchers suggest chewing for 15 minutes to make you more alert.

4. Have an Energy-Boosting Breakfast

Add some superfoods, (i.e. foods that help you fight chronic diseases and manage your weight) to your breakfast for a boost. Almonds are a good choice in the morning because they contain vitamin E, magnesium and protein that give you energy. Add some fruit to your menu for natural sugar and fiber. Toss in ground flaxseed and chia seeds to smoothies to provide a source of healthy carbs and omega-3 fatty acids for quick energy and to improve your heart health.  Top your breakfast off with a glass of ice cold water, which gets the adrenaline flowing to improve your focus.

5. Make Time for Exercise

The American Council on Exercise says morning workouts are ideal because most of us tend to stick to our morning routines. Early morning exercise will also help promote better sleep, which makes you feel more refreshed. Spice up your morning exercise routine and still get the suggested four hours a week of moderate exercise through activities such as yoga (for strength and flexibility) or cardio (such as biking or running). Make it social and invite your friends along for the ride - the more people you get involved, the more fun you’ll have and accountable you'll be!