Get a Great Start in the Morning

Not all of us are early birds chirping cheerfully to greet the new day. Thanks to our natural body clocks, some of us are cranky in the morning. But if you want to wake in a better mood and get a jump on your day, here's how to get rid of the grumpies:

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Set your coffeemaker to be brewing for your wake-up time.The aroma of coffee releases a mood-boosting association. A study published in Life Sciences found that caffeine creates an endorphin release by stimulating beta-endorphin levels in the blood. Just inhaling coffee's aroma triggers a release of these feel-good brain chemicals.

Wake when the alarm goes off. Studies have shown that hitting the snooze button can make you drowsier than rising when it first goes off. To ease into wakefulness, choose a chime setting rather than a loud buzzer.

Stretch. And do it before you leave the bed. While lying on your back, hug your knees into your chest to stretch your lower back.

Let the world know. If you don't have to worry about waking anyone else, shout out "Good Morning!" It's bound to bring a smile to your face, and studies show just smiling makes us feel happier.

Avoid the news. Want to be bummed out? Listen to the news first thing in the morning. Want to be happy? Put on your favorite music.

Eat a healthy breakfast. It will not only make you feel happier, but research shows eating a healthy breakfast will energize you and boost your brain power. Avoid empty calories with sugary cereals or pastries, and choose a protein packed poached egg on whole-grain toast, or yogurt, and fresh fruit.

Shower. The same kind of mood-enhancing negative ions that are released near a waterfall are also felt in the shower.

Robin Westen is ThirdAge's medical reporter. Check for her daily updates. Her newest book, co-authored with Dr. Alyssa Dweck, is "V Is For Vagina."