Queen B Knows Best

The best feeling after a long day at school or work is coming home and putting on an oversized t-shirt and sweatpants to sit on the couch for hours and watch Gossip Girl or Sex and the City reruns. We complain to our roommates about our hard days while we idolize how effortlessly Blair Waldorf and Carrie Bradshaw look beautiful when they wake up in silk pajamas and an eye mask. We may not be New York royalty or get paid $4.50 per word we write in Vogue, but we deserve to pamper ourselves.

Carrie Bradshaw on New Years Eve in her pajamas and pearls. (Photo: Pinterest.com)

Carrie Bradshaw on New Years Eve in her pajamas and pearls.
(Photo: Pinterest.com)

Buy cute pajamas, not for someone else, but for you. Buy the expensive night cream to put on your face every night. Take a bubble bath before you get into bed, even if you’re tired and don’t have the time. Taking care of your body at night will make you feel that much better about yourself in the morning. I’m in a happier mood when I wake up already showered and my hair blown out because doing more the night before means doing less in the morning. I know how tempting it is to come home and throw your clothes on the floor and hop into bed, but make it a habit to clean up around you before falling asleep. Even if you have to stay up a little bit later, sleeping in will feel so much better.

If you wake up looking pretty, I can guarantee you’ll feel like royalty when you stretch out your arms and smile at the sun shining through the window. Half of the burden of waking up is your body fighting getting out of bed, but the other half of the burden is your mind not ready to take on the day. Wake up feeling like your best self, even if that just means that you’re bathed, or maybe that you wear pearls when you sleep like Carrie Bradshaw.

Pinkies Up!

Spending countless dollars on Starbucks coffee is not just a basic white girl problem. Studies show that 54 percent of American adults drink coffee every single morning. So whether it’s a 19-year-old sorority girl chugging an iced caramel macchiato before her English mid-term or a 56-year-old business man drinking black coffee out of a mug with his children’s faces on it, coffee is a lifeline for a majority of Americans. I propose a different source of caffeine, a new lifeline for sleepy Americans: TEA.

Green tea has become a major trend in the U.S. because of our newfound love for “green” or organics products. Living in Austin, Texas and minutes away from a Trader Joe’s has expanded my knowledge of just how much many Americans have embraced natural peanut butter and free-range eggs. With a heightened awareness of healthy food, I believe the best thing we can do for our tired bodies is look to ancient Chinese and Indian recipes of putting leaves in water. This is the basis of tea, which is the second most popular drink in the world next to water. We feel sophisticated and modern when we drink green tea, the same way we feel when the words chai tea latte roll off our tongues in the Starbucks drive-thru instead of the standard iced coffee with nonfat milk.

Besides the satisfaction of feeling hip and trendy, tea is naturally caffeinated and gives us energy. Although tea contains less than half the amount of caffeine as coffee, that little bit of natural caffeine goes a long way. Black coffee contains the most caffeine, with green tea in second place. I used to be an avid coffee drinker, but I hated the jittery feeling I had after drinking a cup of coffee as much as I hated the constant coffee breath. After moving in with health conscious roommates, I adopted their love for drinking tea in the morning or late at night when I am awake studying. No, tea does not taste like a sugary pumpkin spice latte, but it is an acquired taste. The warm feeling inside and almost immediate alertness and energy boost makes tea worth sacrificing your daily trip to Starbucks. Try drinking a full glass of water when you first wake up, and then replacing a cup of coffee with a cup of hot tea. Your body will be hydrated and energized, and the upcoming day will feel a lot less exhausting.

Soak Up the Sun

Believe it or not, sunlight is good for more than the tan on your skin. As much as Thomas Edison and his lightbulb transformed the world by bringing us the ability to have light at every hour of the day, artificial light is one of the main reasons we cannot get to bed on time, or wake up in the morning. Our bodies are programmed to react to the light given off by the sun. After reading a New York Times article about an architect’s plan to use more natural light, I learned that the part of the body that controls sleeping patterns and our ability to wake up is most affected by light with shorter wavelength, or in the blue region. Natural light provides this short wavelength light. On the contrary, artificial light exists in the red region, or provides long wavelength light.

Children spend a majority of the day under the artificial light of even the most modern classrooms.  (Photo: http://teachinglearning.albapages.net/stop-lecturing/)

Children spend a majority of the day under the artificial light of even the most modern classrooms.
(Photo: http://teachinglearning.albapages.net/stop-lecturing/

A health journalist’s research posted on a medical website suggests that sunlight produces up to 10 times more lux (measurement unit of light) than artificial light, and the lack of this natural light can lead to an increase risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and even cancer. Most of all, the lack of natural light can leave you feeling lackluster and unfocused in the morning. Studies have shown that standardized test scores can be increased by up to 26 percent if a student is tested in a room with natural lighting, instead of surrounded by four cement walls. Despite obvious evidence of the health benefits of natural light, we continue to spend all day inside, avoiding sunlight for a majority of our day.

Make sunshine your morning companion. Leave your curtains open and appreciate the warm feeling of sunlight on your face in the morning. Set your alarm a few minutes early and lay in the sunlight for those few minutes before getting out of bed, sort of like charging your battery before you take on the day. Choose to drink your morning coffee on the porch or near a window because waking up to the sunshine will affect your productivity for the rest of the day.