Winter break is a much-needed time to relax and catch up on lots of sleep. But as the new semester kicks into gear, early morning classes can leave some of us groggy and half-asleep. Waking up can become increasingly challenging!
Here are a few healthy tips to help you jump out of bed and make it to those early morning classes on time and with energy this semester.
The Basic Approach: Coffee or Tea
For many students, faculty, and staff on campus, caffeine-rich coffee or tea is a staple of the morning routine. If you feel yourself struggling in the morning or falling asleep mid-lecture, a quick trip to one of the local coffee shops around campus may be a necessity on your way to class (or to save money, brew it at home or in the dorm!).
In addition to increased productivity and mental clarity, from a health standpoint, coffee and tea offer benefits including a large dose of antioxidants and a decreased likelihood of type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and dementia. Further, people who drink coffee and tea regularly tend to have fewer cases of certain types of cancers and strokes.  
Like all things in life, though, moderation is key, and too much of anything tends to lead to trouble.
For more information on the benefits and risks of coffee, check out one of our previous Healthy Heels blogs, “Coffee – Good for You?”
The Alternative: Lemon Water
For those looking for a caffeine-free alternative for the morning rush, try a glass of lemon water. This is not your average little wedge of lemon on the side though; we are talking about pretty intense lemon water here. Try a half lemon for folks under 150lbs and a whole lemon for those above 150lbs in a glass of room temperature water. The taste may take a little time to get used to, but the jolt of energy will be immediately noticeable.
In addition to perking your system in the morning, highly concentrated lemon water helps with hydration, stomach issues, and bad breath. Lemon water is also known to freshen your skin, pump up the immune system, and cleanse your liver in the process. 
The Hardcore Option: Early Morning Workouts
Nothing gets your mind and body awake quite like a morning workout. For those looking for the ultimate solution to a healthy morning pick-me-up, look no further. Working out in the morning has been shown to increase your mental clarity for 4-10 hours post-workout and tends to give people an all around increase in productivity. It may be a struggle to get yourself out of the bed and into the gym, but if you can muster the strength and have the time, the results can speak for themselves. 
Whether it’s coffee, tea, lemon water, a short workout, or even just eating a solid breakfast, start your day off with a healthy kick this semester and ace those early morning classes.
As a Side Note, let’s be clear–you need to sleep! No morning pick-me-up is a replacement for a good night’s rest. Sleep is an uncompromising necessity to your overall health and well-being as a student. For more information about the health benefits of a good night’s rest, and the consequences of sleep deprivation, check out this old Healthy Heels blog: “Missing Impossible: Sleep and the College Student.”