Good health is rarely a result of good luck.
The importance of habit
The greatest impact on our physical and mental health is the decisions that we make every day. While choosing to eat healthily, exercise, and get your 10 minutes of sunlight–every day–may seem daunting at first; a fixed routine makes accomplishing this much more manageable.
Once good habits are established, they become automatic and we perform them every day without a second thought. But before designing the optimal routine, we have to consider what takes priority for our mental and physical optimization.
What does a good routine look like?
According to integrative health practitioner Pedro DoAmaral, hydrating is the first thing we should do in the morning. Not only does it help to replace much of the water we exhaled during the night, (yes, we exhale water vapor), but it also helps to flush out the toxins our organs of elimination have accumulated during the night.
What I found is if you don’t have a routine in the morning…you kind of become sidetracked in life. You become easily pulled and easily swayed by maybe a diet or philosophy or you become lazy and that’s can just be from not following a routine.”– Pedro DoAmaral
Syncing your circadian rhythm
The second habit on his list is getting near-infrared exposure. This particular wavelength is beneficial both for our skin and retinas as well as for resetting our circadian rhythm. In the perfect routine, we would all get this from the early morning sun. But for all those city dwellers or living in cold climates, infrared saunas will do and are fairly affordable due to their burgeoning popularity. Exercise is next on the list and should be performed based on your diurnal cortisol spikes.
Blue light and cellphones
Although waiting to check your phone is not exactly a habit, it is an important practice if you’re looking to maintain your circadian rhythm and set yourself up for peak cognitive performance.
As Pedro says, simple cognitive tasks like reading before you check your phone are important to get your brain going, whilst also curbing the dopamine drip (cellphone use) that hinders our peak performance.
As our eyes and skin have photoreceptors, the mid-day blue light of our cellphones offsets our circadian rhythm and disrupts our hormone production. A best practice is to wait until at least after sunrise before checking your phone and stop checking it at sunset. Wearing blue-light blocking glasses in the early morning and late afternoon will also help minimize the blue light exposure.
Practice good sleep hygiene
Night-time routines are just as important as morning ones, and maintaining proper sleep hygiene sets us up for a better day tomorrow. According to Pedro, aim to get in bed by 10 pm and 11 pm at the latest, while keeping the room temperature low, optimally between 66-68º Fahrenheit.
While everyone’s daily health habits may look a little different, routine is by far the single most effective way to maintain health or reclaim it if it has gotten away from you.
About Pedro DoAmaral
A biomedical and biotechnology student at Keiser University, Pedro DoAmaral is an integrative health practitioner.
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