From 0 to 100 in a matter of seconds
I’ve been an early riser for the better part of my adult life. I don’t have the best sleep at all (I wake up at least once a night), but even if I slept too little, I can usually be operational in less than an hour. In fact, mornings are when I get most of my work done. I write articles, shoot videos and work on my 9–5 usually all before noon.
Yet up until a few months ago, I always felt groggy in the first hours of the day. My issue with waking up early had never been to step out of bed or get ready for the day. Rather, it was an issue of feeling “refreshed”. My mouth and my eyes were always dry, and I would occasionally get headaches too, which don’t help with working.
Then a few months ago, I read in an online article that drinking a glass of ice-cold water in the morning can be beneficial to your health and help you kickstart the day. The thought of drinking water in the morning kind of grossed me out, because the first liquid to enter my mouth on any given day had been coffee up until now. I had noticed that it didn’t help with the dry mouth (in fact, it would often make it worse) but at least it would help me focus and get to work.
I still decided to try the morning water idea, because I figured it made total sense to wake yourself up with cold water rather than warm coffee. After all, it’s all about stepping out of your comfort zone and trying new things, right?
It’s now been months since I started drinking water first thing in the morning, and this literally changed my life. I not only started to feel much better in the morning, but I also wrote some of my best work while implementing this new habit. Starting my day by drinking a glass of ice-cold water every morning has been a life-changer for me, and here’s why I’m never looking back.
The first day of my experiment was a Monday because I like to keep track of new habits/challenges weekly. My alarm rang at 6:30 am, which meant the sun was already high up in the sky. I live in Scandinavia, where the sun starts rising at 4 in the morning and doesn’t go down before 11 at night. It helps with waking up early, but it also means my eyes are even dryer at that time of the year. I have to wear sunglasses inside until my eyes get accustomed to the bright daylight.
I had to drop off my girlfriend at the train station, so I didn’t have time for breakfast and was only going to make a quick coffee and a sandwich. But first, water. I put 2 ice cubes in a glass, filled it up with fresh tap water, and went to prepare coffee. 5 minutes later, the ice had started to melt, and I downed the glass in one go. I was hit with an amazing feeling of freshness. My mouth watered instantly, and it was like my brain got electroshock, getting hit by just the right amount of brain freeze, without the headache. Then I ate my peanut butter and jelly sandwich, had coffee, and went to drop off my girlfriend.
I continued drinking water first thing in the morning every single day, and I noticed the same results every time.
The cold shock stimulates the brain and creates more awareness
As a content creator, running out of ideas means running out of business, so my brain always needs to get creative and be stimulated. I noticed that cold water helps with that, and science backs it up too. The human brain is made up of 73% water, so staying hydrated will help with cognitive functions, getting ideas, and more focus. It doesn’t mean drinking a glass of water first thing in the morning will turn you into the next Tony Stark, but it will 100% make you more focused on the work at hand.
Water in the morning jump-starts your metabolism
The essential carbohydrates and proteins that you consume daily are metabolized and transported by way of water throughout the body. Consequently, the more water you drink in the morning, the faster your metabolism will get activated. All your juices will get flowing, including the creative ones.
This is also a great way to get the motivation to work out in the morning. When your body gets hit with an intake of ice-cold water, it automatically becomes more alert. You can take advantage of this chemical reaction to jump-start your day with a morning run or a workout session.
Drinking water helps strengthen your immune system
Drinking water first thing in the morning flushes out the stomach and therefore balances the lymphatic system, which in turn will help build a strong immune system. I’m very prone to allergic reactions to pollen. In the summer, I go on sneezing marathons that can last 2 full minutes, my eyes puff up, become read, and my nose gets so runny I go through many packs of tissues per day.
This may have been a placebo, but I swear I got a little less allergic when I started drinking water first thing in the morning. I could actually step outside on the terrace with my coffee without sneezing or blowing my nose every 5 minutes.
The breakthrough: writing one of my best articles to date
On the morning of April 25 (which was a Monday), I woke up at 6 am to a rather gloomy day. I didn’t mind because it meant I wasn’t going to have to wear sunglasses inside. I stared out the window for a few seconds, put my slippers on, and proceeded to follow my now established “water morning routine.” I made my way to the freezer, put 2 ice cubes in a glass of fresh tap water, and let the ice melt while I made coffee. Once I started the coffee machine, I drank my water and let an amazing feeling of freshness and awareness hit my whole body.
I then proceed to eat my oatmeal, grab my cup of coffee, and go back to my office upstairs. It was time to write, and the topic of my article was going to be about a Youtube video I had watched a few days ago: passive income in the content creation economy.
I sat at my desk, opened up my laptop, and started typing away. I already had notes and a drafted-out outline from when I watched the video, so it didn’t take me long to come up with a complete draft.
I let the file sit on my hard drive for a few days, and eventually refined, proofread, and published it online. Within a few weeks, this article ended up being one of my top 10 best-performing pieces ever. My previous article to ever enter my top 10 was from over half a year ago, so this was no random coincidence. I do believe that after a few weeks of drinking a glass of fresh water every morning, my brain got used to getting fired up quicker, with better ideas.
Conclusion: Keystone Habits
“Keystone habits” is a term coined by Charles Duhigg in his bestseller book The Power of Habit:
“Keystone habits are small changes or habits that people introduce into their routines that unintentionally carry over into other aspects of their lives.”
Going by this definition, drinking a fresh glass of water is 100% a keystone habit because it enables me to spark my creativity right at the start of the day. It also became an automatic habit: I somehow forgot to drink my water a few days ago, and I felt it as soon as I started drinking my coffee. My mouth felt dry, the coffee taste was not the same, and my brain instantly reminded me I had forgotten something.
Now that I found a way to be even more fired up in the morning, I’ll never look back, and I highly encourage you to start drinking ice-cold water first thing in the morning as well.
Thanks for reading, and enjoy the journey!
CONTRIBUTED BY Joseph Mavericks
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