How many mornings have you jumped out of bed frantically, run out the door, grabbed a sugar loaded breakfast and barely made it to the office before realising you hadn’t even had the chance to take a full breath?

With loaded calendars, late nights and an unhealthy obsession with being busy, more and more of us are dealing with the fallout of not creating space in our mornings. Like it or not, you need a routine.  A healthy morning routine can make a huge difference between a focused, empowered day and a reactive, hectic one—and while it might be hard to lose that extra ten minutes of sleep, a good morning routine can make or break your day.

Here are five structural elements for a morning routine to jump start a focused day.

1. Make sleep a priority

Perhaps the most important part of a great morning routine is solid bedtime habits that promote a healthy and full night of sleep. Getting great sleep is one of the things most people don’t prioritize enough—a mistake in thinking that eventually catches up to us and wreaks havoc on our systems.  Luckily, there are lots of ways to make sleep more appealing.  Making your bedroom as peaceful as possible, including soft lighting, clean bedding and a light filtering app like f.lux on your devices will help promote healthy sleep so you feel refreshed in the morning. If you struggle with getting to bed on time, consider spending a weekend sleeping outside to wake up naturally with the sun and kickstart your bodies natural circadian rhythm.

2. Bring on the light

Light is nature’s alarm clock. If it’s possible, waking up with the sun is the bodies best way to get set for the day. However, many of us don’t have the luxury of sleeping until daybreak, especially in the winter months. If that’s the case, consider setting a timer on your bedside lamp or investing in a daylight alarm clock like Philips Wake-Up Light. Even if it’s not your actual alarm, consider using a light therapy device or app in the morning to mimic the sun’s wake up rays and get set for the day.

3. Set your body up with the right food

Eating within 30 minutes of waking up is a great way to energize your body for the day and create a healthy foundation for good choices. Stick to high protein foods like poached eggs, salmon, omelettes and quinoa porridge. If you’re tight on time, prepare breakfast the night before like a chia pudding you can grab before you head out the door.

4. Move

If you can pop out of bed for a morning run, good on you! However, don’t be disheartened if exercising first thing in the A.M. makes you want to bury your head in the pillow. You don’t need to invest in a full-scale exercise routine every morning to reap the benefits of getting your blood pumping. Gentle stretching in bed or a few rounds of sun salutations will set you up for treating your body right throughout the day.

5. Create a focus and empowerment for your day

Some people make lists while others chant mantras. Ultimately it doesn’t matter how you make it happen, but focusing your intent will create space for your best day to manifest itself. Consider a single goal that you want to focus on for the day. It could be ticking off a work deadline, connecting with friends and family or eating whole foods. Focusing on whatever is at the forefront of your mind will create a powerful momentum and boost your confidence. Make this intention real by saying it out loud or jotting it down in a journal. Next, create an empowerment for yourself. Take the time to visualize it in your mind and say it out loud. Create your mantra in the present tense. Focus on whatever has been dragging your confidence down and counter it with your daily empowerment.

What do you do in the morning to empower your day? Share in the comments below!

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