Rise and Shine: How To Tap Into Your Brain Waves For An Effective Morning Routine

Rise and Shine: How To Tap Into Your Brain Waves For An Effective Morning Routine

clock-circular-outlinePosted 11 May 2022

Have you ever wondered what’s going on in your brain when you first wake up?

What if we were to tell you that when you wake up, your brain waves are actually primed to set up a morning routine that enables you to hack your mind for peak performance?

You know the feeling when the alarm has just rang and woke you from your peaceful slumber, and you’re trying to muster up the strength to peel your eyelids open?... bingo! This is the exact moment that has the potential for powerful transformation and productivity.

Your Brain When You Wake

When you initially wake from sleep, your brain first drifts through theta waves and then through alpha waves. These are the frequencies your brain is operating at when you are in a deeply relaxed state, like when you’ve just woke up or during meditation, and it’s here where the bridge between you and your subconscious mind is most accessible.

Whilst the exact workings of the brain are still a mystery to neuroscientists, there are findings that can help us understand a little better how our brain activity works when we are awake and how we can use our brain waves for an advantageous morning routine.

What Are Theta Waves?

Theta brain waves (4-7.5Hz) occur when you are in a daydreaming state, REM sleep or just before you’re about to doze off to sleep. The time your brain spends in this frequency is very short when you wake up, occurring only for about 5-15 minutes, but even still, there are ways you can harness its power for your morning routine.

Think back to a time when you’ve been going about a mundane task like washing up or taking a shower, and you suddenly have a lightbulb moment! As your mind becomes so disengaged with the automated task at hand or drifts elsewhere, it’s as if a portal opens for bright ideas to pop up – this most likely happens during the theta state.

Theta brain waves are therefore seen to help improve creativity, relaxation, emotional intelligence, and problem-solving. One way you can utilize theta waves while awake is by focusing on a problem you want to solve just as you wake up, because when you direct your focus on something in this semi-hypnotic state, you might just find the answer to your problem.

What Are Alpha Waves?

Alpha waves (8-12Hz) are the brain frequency most known for promoting feelings of calmness and relaxation and sit between the subconscious theta waves and alert and conscious beta waves.

These brain waves are important because they can help to reduce stress levels and make it easier to get into a flow and absorb information.

Children’s brains operate predominantly in the impressional alpha waves from about 7-12 years old, which is understandably why they are considered to be like sponges, absorbing new information about the world around them.

Before you get up for the day and complete all your tasks in a beta state, you should enjoy the happy and relaxed alpha waves. You can get things done with less effort and in a calmer state whilst you’re in alpha, which makes it the perfect time to journal, read, move your body, and meditate.

Since your subconscious mind is still active, you can use this time to manipulate your brainwaves to train your brain to accomplish more during the day. This is exactly where the importance of a good morning routine comes in!

The Importance Of A Morning Routine

The still early hours of the morning may be the only time we get to focus on our own self-development, creativity, and personal interests – which makes having an effective, and personal morning routine an even more vital part of your day.

Increasing our creativity isn’t just reserved for artists and musicians, it’s an essential skill to build for problem-solving and productivity, and can help us navigate through life with multiple perspectives on things.

Because you are so relaxed and highly suggestible when you first wake up, starting your day positively with things that bring you joy and meaning can kickstart your day for success.

It’s a great idea to use the first hour of the morning to create a morning routine with intentional practices that are valuable to you. This will not only have positive effects on your mental well-being but can also boost your productivity and mood.

In contrast, if you wake up and immediately check your phone, think negatively, or immediately enter a stressful situation, you are triggering your brain to enter a more alert state, bypassing the crucial time needed for your brain to be in a state of wakeful relaxation.

How Can I Create A Powerful Morning Routine?

  • Limit Time On Your Phone

  • Visualize Or Meditate

  • Use Positive Affirmations

  • Journal Your Thoughts And Ideas

  • Move Your Body

Limit Time On Your Phone

Bombarding your highly suggestible brain with social media content immediately when you wake up can spoil your morning routine.

The brain when it wakes has transitioned from deep sleep delta waves into theta waves which are important for memory, learning, and problem-solving. When you jump on your phone as soon as your eyes peel open, you’re jolting your brain straight into alertness and entering the beta waves frequency.

You’ve skipped the vital minutes your brain needs in theta, and completely glossed over the relaxed state that alpha waves offer, and this can mess with your performance for the whole day.

In addition, studies have found that checking emails, and constantly receiving notifications can trigger stress and affect your ability to concentrate on a single task, a pattern known as “switch cost” [1].

So if you want to hack your mind for peak performance and reduce stress and anxiety in the mornings, choosing to limit time on your phone will be highly beneficial (and will get that screen time down).

Visualize Or Meditate

Your brain waves in the morning are operating at the optimal frequency for visualizing what you want to create in your life. Whist your brain is in the super relaxed alpha stage, it's easy to close your eyes and shift into a meditation.

It’s as simple as propping yourself up into a comfortable seat and listening to a follow-along meditation video on YouTube or using an app like headspace as part of your morning routine.

Here you can spend time free from any negative thoughts or worries, just focusing on your breath and harnessing this peaceful time to visualize what you want from the day, your dreams, and your future self. Studies show that regular meditation even helps to boost alpha activity, which can have beneficial effects on mood and stress levels [2].

Since your brain is a record of the past, visualizing a future you want to bring about and imagining the emotions you will feel sparks your neurons to create new associations so your brain begins to see things in a different way. The brain sees these images of your goals as reality because the brain cannot distinguish real from imaginary, which is why visualizing positive outcomes can be game-changing for your own success.

Use Positive Affirmations

We’ve all had those mornings where we let negative self-talk or anxieties about the day prior get to us, and it never sets us off on a good foot. So why not use this time where you can tap into your subconscious mind to speak kindly to yourself?

You can do this by saying aloud positive statements to yourself, queuing up an affirming song, or bigging’ yourself up in the mirror as part of a good morning routine. Doing so will not only start your day on a positive note but reprograms the brain to think better about yourself.

Information that is stored in our subconscious is what we believe on a deep level, so if we can use the sleepy half-conscious state to fill it with affirming and empowering statements about ourselves, it will eventually become our reality and our belief system.

Journal Your Thoughts And Ideas

Those creative juices are free-flowing when your brain is in theta waves as you first wake up, so you might want to jot down all the ideas you have swirling around your head straight away. Because once you get up and active, chances are you’ll forget all those lightbulb moments you told yourself you’d remember... we’ve all been there!

Or how about a brain dump? Author, Julia Cameron, came up with a technique where you fill three-morning pages with a stream of consciousness about anything that's on your mind [3]. Doing so can help spark your creativity, structure your thoughts and bring clarity and direction to the day ahead.

You can also use this early morning relaxation time to write down what you’re grateful for, which is another great way to hack your brain for more positivity.

Check out our article on the science behind practicing gratitude, and how implementing this into your daily routine can actually improve your training.

Move Your Body

Although you may not want to leave your warm bed and slip onto your yoga mat first thing in the morning, you'll find that you're actually able to move a lot easier when you're still in the relaxed flow state that the early morning offers.

Once you’re up and in the zone, you’ll find getting active to be a rewarding experience, whether that’s going for a walk, gentle jog, morning yoga flow, or dancing around your bedroom.

Exercising in the morning is a great way to start the day; as it gets the blood flowing and positively affects your mood, bringing mental clarity and an all-important dopamine hit.

Even better is that you can get into the zen zone and kill two birds with one stone if you make your movement into a mediation itself, by focusing purely on the activity you’re doing and allowing yourself to flow freely through movements.

Master Your Morning

Tapping into your brain waves and setting up a morning routine allows you to own your morning and the direction of your life.

You can play around and find what feels good to you, start small and build a morning routine that brings you positive results.

By setting up routines and habits that are important to you, and mastering your thoughts in the morning, you are supporting your efforts to achieve your goals and live the life you desire.


Keen to start a morning routine but struggling with your energy levels in the morning? Take a look at our 7 ways to boost your energy levels in this article.


[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4912993/

[2] https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnins.2018.00178/full

[3] The Artist's Way Book by Julia Cameron

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