Having a morning routine that you stick to each day has plenty of benefits. It provides a structure that frames the rest of your day and offers the opportunity to form healthy habits that improve our overall health and well being.
But are all of the habits in your morning routine beneficial?
It may surprise you to learn that some of the common steps we all take each morning could actually have a detrimental impact on our health – and even promote aging.
Here are a few typical morning habits that age you and how to prevent it.
1. Rubbing your eyes
This one is so common, you may not even realize you’re doing it. But as certified sleep science coach Chris Norris explains, doing so habitually may age your skin. “The skin around the eyes is very thin and prone to wrinkling,” he says.
“Rubbing your eyes can cause broken capillaries and wrinkles by breaking down the collagen and reducing the elasticity.” If your eyes are tired or irritated, Norris recommends splashing them with water and dabbing them dry rather than rubbing.
“You can also brew green tea bags, cool them, then place them on your eyes for around 10 minutes to help relieve your eyes,” he says.
2. Brushing your teeth first thing in the morning
It’s one of the first things we all do in the morning. But if you’re brushing your teeth before having your morning coffee, dental expert Max Harland says you’re aging your teeth.
“I recommend that people brush their teeth after drinking staining liquids, preferably with a thirty-minute interval,” Harland suggests. “The thirty-minute wait is essential for the saliva to neutralize the mouth’s acidity. Otherwise, people risk damaging their teeth enamel when they brush their teeth in an acidic environment.”
3. Hitting the snooze button
Those extra 10 minutes of sleep are tempting. But as Mary Sweeney, RN explains, that added snooze is doing more harm than good.
“You’re actually depriving yourself of more time in a restorative sleep cycle,” says Sweeney.
“Instead of hitting the button, try going to bed 10-20 minutes earlier to give your body time to complete several sleep cycles.”
4. Drinking too much coffee
If your morning routine involves several cups of coffee – or inadvertently finishing a whole pot to yourself, this tip is for you.
“Drinking too much coffee can impact your health by raising your blood pressure and harming your liver, as well as emotional effects such as making you more irrational and irritable,” Lina Velikova, MD, Ph.D. explains.
“What is dangerous about coffee is its overconsumption rather than the coffee itself, so the best way to prevent coffee from messing with your health is by limiting its consumption to a little cup every morning.”
5. Skipping breakfast
If you’re not a breakfast person, here’s more evidence it’s time to convert. “Breakfast is the most important meal as it gives your body the foundation of energy for the day,” says Norris.
“Studies have shown that missing out on the protein intake of a hearty breakfast can lead to hair loss, by denying the nutrients needed for healthy hair follicles.”
6. Not drinking water
This one’s especially important for coffee drinkers since caffeine is dehydrating. “If you’re getting eight hours of sleep per night, that’s eight hours that your body is not being hydrated,” says Sweeney.
“It’s natural to wake up dehydrated, and that may make you feel sluggish or tired when you wake up.” Instead of reaching for that cup of coffee to energize you (which will further dehydrate you, make water a priority.
“Try keeping a glass of water by your bed and drinking it first thing to give your body the hydration it needs to get you going,” says Sweeney.