· By PYM STORE
Best Low Dopamine Morning Routine for ADHD
Does this sound like your morning? Your alarm goes off and you immediately grab your phone. You've already got notifications coming in from work, sending your stress levels up before you've even gotten out of bed. You open up Instagram or Tik Tok and start doom-scrolling. You see your friend's mom died of cancer, and now you're worrying about your own mother's health. Then you see someone's perfectly beautiful home and you start to feel down about your own home.
Now your day has started off with sadness, jealousy, anxiety and stress.
You get up and make yourself a cup of coffee, which skyrockets your stress hormones even more. You make a bagel with cream cheese for breakfast, which creates blood sugar imbalance so you'll inevitably crash around noon.
The whole rest of your day you feel irritated, overwhelmed, and like you can't keep up with your to-do's. You spend the day craving sugar and carbs and can't wait until you can go back to sleep.
Now...imagine if, just from a few tweaks to your morning routine, your whole day could go completely differently.
You may have seen the "low dopamine morning" trend on Tik Tok.
A low dopamine morning routine focuses on activities that do not flood the brain with dopamine or stress hormones, thereby helping to regulate dopamine levels and improve focus and productivity throughout the day. Read on to learn more about the low dopamine morning routine and its potential benefits, especially for individuals with ADHD.
What is a Low Dopamine Morning Routine?
A low dopamine morning routine is a sequence of activities designed to avoid the sudden surge of dopamine that high-stimulus activities can produce. Often referred to as dopamine detox or dopamine fasting, this routine aims to reset the brain's dopamine levels by engaging in calming, low-stimulus activities, particularly in the morning. The practice can be particularly beneficial for individuals with ADHD, as a regulated dopamine level can help in improving focus, patience, and overall mental well-being.
Why is low dopamine in the morning a good thing?
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter or a chemical messenger responsible for transmitting signals between brain cells. Often referred to as the “pleasure chemical,” it plays a vital role in reward and movement regulation in the brain.
Our brain releases dopamine when we do certain behaviors necessary for our survival, like eating, having sex, or being accepted by the group. We feel a sense of accomplishment and reward for doing these behaviors, therefore motivating us to do them again.
The "low dopamine" morning routine is kind of a misnomer. Different activities do not produce different amounts of dopamine. But whichever way you get dopamine in the morning, sets up your brain to seek dopamine in that way for the rest of the day.
So if you wake up and start scrolling, your brain will drive you to continue picking up your phone to get that hit of dopamine throughout the day.
Whereas if you start your day making your bed and watering your plants, your brain will seek out less stimulating activities for dopamine throughout the day. This can ultimately help you be more productive and focused during your day.
Components of a Low Dopamine Morning Routine and How it Can Help Those with ADHD
Let's break down the "low dopamine" morning routine!
1. Drink Water
After 8-9 hours of sleep, you'll likely wake up dehydrated. Hydration is crucial for brain function and overall health. Drinking water first thing in the morning helps kickstart your metabolism and hydrates your brain, allowing it to work more efficiently.
Take action: Keep a water bottle on your nightstand and make it a habit to drink a glass of water as soon as you wake up. Bonus points for adding fresh squeezed lemon to help boost your metabolism and liver health!
2. Seek Natural Light Within 30 Minutes of Waking Up
Natural light helps regulate your circadian rhythm and boosts, which naturally tells the brain it's time to wake up. It also improving your sleep quality and overall mood by helping to generate serotonin.
Take action: Open your curtains immediately upon waking or take a short walk outside.
3. Eat a High-Protein Breakfast
A high-protein breakfast can help balance blood sugar levels, leading to sustained energy and focus throughout the day.
🤯 Did you know? Protein-rich foods also take longer to digest, keeping you full for longer.
Take action: Ditch the muffins, bagels, oatmeal and sugary cereals and instead opt for meals like scrambled eggs with vegetables or a smoothie with protein powder and greens.
4. Do a Low Stress Task or Two
Completing low-stress tasks will ease your brain into the day and give you a sense of accomplishment.
Examples of low-stress tasks to add to your routine:
- Make your bed
- Low impact exercises, like going for a walk or stretching
- Make a task list for the day
- Write in your journal
- Unload the dishwasher
- Water your plants
5. Stay Off Your Phone or Computer for At Least an Hour After Waking Up
Delaying screen time helps avoid the immediate influx of dopamine and potential stress from emails, news, or social media.
Take action: Use a regular alarm clock instead of your phone to avoid the temptation of checking it first thing in the morning, OR put your phone in a different room so you have to physically get up out of bed to turn it off. Then, leave your phone in the room while you go about the rest of your routine.
6. Delay Drinking Caffeine
Waiting to consume caffeine allows your body to wake up naturally, promoting a steady energy level and avoiding the crash and dependency that can come from immediate caffeine consumption.
Take action: If you usually wake up at 7:00 AM, wait until at least 9:00 AM to have your first cup of coffee or tea.
Attention Chews for Naturally Regulated Dopamine Levels
Another great thing to add to your morning routine could be Attention Chews! Attention Chews are formulated with amino acids, vitamins and minerals to help naturally regulate dopamine levels for more motivation, focus, and productivity.*
Take them 30min before you need a boost of focus and motivation, and you'll be flying through your to-do's!*
Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Attention Chews are not intended to diagnose or treat any condition. Attention Chews are not a replacement for medication or therapy for ADHD.
Adopting a low dopamine morning routine can contribute significantly to improved focus, organization, and overall mental wellness for individuals with ADHD. By starting the day calmly and without an immediate flood of dopamine from activities like screen time or caffeine consumption, individuals can lay the foundation for a more focused and productive day. Integrating these practices into your daily life can bring structure, calmness, and a greater sense of accomplishment and well-being.