Coffee cup and alarm that reads

—Neil D., University of Victoria, British Columbia

When I was a student, I hated getting up in the morning. I slept in as long as I could, then I was late, rushed to take a shower and get dressed, only to run to my classes. I learned the hard way that this was not the best thing to do to have more energy in the morning. Here’s what is:

Get on a regular sleep schedule

When you go to sleep and wake up around the same time every day, you’ll function better. Look at what you want your mornings to be like and calculate from there. For example, I wanted to get up, have breakfast, do a bit of exercise, take a shower, get dressed, and get to work on time. Once I figured that out, I added the amount of time that was suggested I sleep at night and calculated my bedtime. It took a while to get used to this, but I persisted, and I now have a regular schedule. (Of course, I do go to bed later than I should every now and then—and that’s OK.)

Don’t forgo breakfast

If you eat dinner at a regular time and don’t nibble too much during the evening, by the time you wake up, your blood sugar is pretty low. In turn, you’ll feel tired and your brain won’t function at its best. What’s a solid breakfast? A mixture of fruits and veggies, protein, and a complex carbohydrate—for example, an orange, an omelette made with spinach and mushrooms, and a slice of whole-wheat toast. The orange gives you vitamins but also some simple sugars for that immediate jolt. The protein and complex carbs are slow-burning fuel that keeps you going until your next meal. I share with my dogs, but the vet tells me that’s not a good idea.

Get moving

If you can fit it in, morning workouts get those endorphins going and help you feel alive. I usually go for a half-hour brisk walk with my dogs, exploring different parts of my neighbourhood (good for both me and the dog). Decide what you’d like to do, and start easy at first, if you’re new to this.

Get to work or school early

I try to get there ahead of time to set my things up, turn on my computer, etc., without being rushed or stressed. Stress wastes a lot of energy. Save that energy up to be more productive, learn better, or do what’s fun for you.

Take a shower

Practical advice, as you want to look good and not smell. At least, that’s me.

You can play around with it, but ultimately, these are the things that will bring you that extra oomph in the a.m.