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Productivity & Lifestyle

The Optimum Morning Routine; From Science

Nicki Empson
11 June 2018

Are you STILL trying to find the best morning routine where you feel rested and ready for the day? Then check out this wonderful read on how you can make that possible!

Pt. 1 in our 3 part series 'From Science'


Beeeeep. Beeeeep. Rise and shine! Unless you're a morning person, this is the start of a difficult hour; the hour between your alarm going off and leaving for work. Most of us have figured out a routine that makes this difficult hour a little bit easier: alarm, down a glass of water, cold shower, shot of espresso, morning radio show, leave or, perhaps: alarm, hot shower, bowl of cereal, glass of orange juice, leave, coffee on way to work or, even perhaps: alarm, dressed, leave, makeup on metro, croissant at desk.

Our morning routines are important, a good morning routine has the potential to boost productivity and a bad morning routine, well, doesn't. Although we all have our mornings down to a T, science has another one in store for us. Science tells us there are actually specific things you can do in the morning to increase your productivity and output throughout the day.

At OneCoWork, we believe in bringing the best out of people, professionally and personally, so we've done the research and rounded up the top ways to ensure your morning routine really is setting you up to have the best day possible!


This one depends on one important factor; your age. Those in their 20s have the luxury of having an ideal wake up time of 09.30, says neuroscientist and sleep expert Dr. Paul Kelley. The process of wakefulness is controlled by two hormones: melatonin, the hormone that helps us sleep and orexin, the hormone that wakes us.

In a 20 something year old, the orexin output doesn't override that of serotonin until mid-morning. For those in their 30s, the ideal wake up time, unfortunately, significantly decreases to 08.10, for the 40ers, this time is 07.50, in your 60s it's 06.30, and in the 70s a very early 06.00.

In order to have the most productive day, allow your body clock to guide your waking hour. All you need to do is: remember your age, slot yourself into one of the given age brackets, set your alarm to the corresponding time and watch your productivity soar!


Science says yes, but it must be warm! We hear it too often, people proclaiming they had a genius idea in the shower or found the solution to their dilemma while covered head-to-toe in foamy shower gel. This isn't a coincidence. Alice Flaherty, a renowned neuroscientist, explains that a warm shower in the morning increases our creativity. Why? Because a shower does two things; it increases the dopamine flowing around our body and it distracts us. Dopamine makes us more creative.

A study published in 2012 in The European Journal of Neurology shows a strong connection between dopamine levels and the ability of Parkinson's patients to create outstanding poetry, novels, paintings, sketches, and sculptures. So as not to get too sciencey here, please see Here, here and here for some more interesting reads on this topic.

And distractions? Well, they put our ideas into what scientists call 'the incubation period'. When we take our mind off an idea or problem that we have been subconsciously scrutinising over, the ideas have a way of planting themselves into our conscious mind and therefore making themselves known to us. Our brains are so cool!


There's a reason Spotify partnered with music psychologist and Cambridge PHd student David M.Greenberg to create the perfect playlist for people to wake up to in the morning. Greenberg says music is hugely important in the morning and the correct type of music can make your brain more alert, increase motivation, and increase your feel-good feelings. He says we should be listening to the following types of music in the morning: music that builds, music with positive lyrics, and songs with a strong beat, ideally that emphasise beats 2 and 4 of each measure, ideally with the bass and drums, and approximately with a BPM of 100-130! FYI, the playlist is called 'Wake Up USA', it includes some great hits like 'Vida La Vida' and 'Can't Sleep Love' and can be found on Spotify - you're welcome!


You've probably heard it before, but we're going to tell you again: breakfast is the most important meal of the day. A good breakfast can help with emotional stability, increase concentration and focus, prevent energy crashes later in the day and boost productivity levels. So we've established that you should absolutely be eating breakfast - this isn't a meal to miss, but what should you be eating? A varied meal consisting of healthy fats, proteins, vitamins and minerals. Here are some ideas for productivity-boosting breakfasts:


Whole Grain toast with 100% peanuts peanut butter.


Greek yogurt, oats and honey


Eggs on toast

Fish - salmon topped with mustard or salsa

Avocado on whole grain toast


We just want to quickly begin this section by saying; have a long, hard think about those people that tell you not to drink coffee, you don't need that type of negative energy in your life! Coffee is extremely good for your health; we hear a resounding 'phew!'. However, there are ideal times to drink it and first thing in the morning is, surprisingly, not one of them. Neuroscientist, Steven L. Miller, recommends drinking coffee when your SCN (suprachiasmatic nucleus) isn't releasing much cortisol. Drinking coffee when you already have high levels of cortisol limits coffee's positive effects since you are already experiencing the same effects of coffee but from cortisol. You will be double-wired up, so to speak. Coffee+cortisol= too much stress.

So? When are cortisol levels high in the body i.e. when should you not drink coffee? Between 08.00 and 09.00, 12.00 and 13.00 and 17.30 and 18.30. Based on these timings, when is the best time to drink coffee? Between 09.30 and 11.00, says Miller.

Can we make a suggestion that you begin your morning with hot water and lemon instead, since it alkalises the body, hydrates your muscles and balances hormones. Save the coffee for later in morning to reap all its benefits!!


At OneCoWork, we don't underestimate the little things. We know that the little things go a long way (like coffee at 10.30 rather than at 09.00); that is why, in all our spaces, we have: unlimited free and fresh coffee, making your 10.30 coffee easy, healthy-food caterers waiting patiently for you in the kitchen every morning to supply you with your productivity-boosting breakfasts, and fruit-infused and chilled water quenching your every thirst. We want to make your mornings, and days, as easy and productive as possible. Please don't hesitate to get in contact to find out all the ways we can support you.

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