The Morning Habits of the Longest-Living People in the World
Did you know that people in some regions of the world tend to live longer than others?
These geographic areas are commonly referred to as the “Blue Zones.”
Residents of the Blue Zones are often nonagenarians and centenarians. This means it’s not uncommon to live well over 90 and 100 years old in these areas.
In addition to longevity, they are in good physical shape and have good cognitive health
The term “Blue Zone” was first used by author Dan Buettner.
He began by researching areas around the world with a longer life expectancy.
Once he could pinpoint these locations, he drew blue circles around them (hence the name Blue Zone).
Areas in the Blue Zone include:
- Icaria, Greece
- California, USA
- Okinawa, Japan
- Nicoya Penninsula, Costa Rica
- Sardinia, Italy
After researching these locations for years, he concluded that all populations seemed to have two things in common, good health habits and social engagement.
These populations didn’t have a secret brew (except for tea and coffee!) or a fountain of youth. They simply had better habits than those in other areas.
As we all know, we can’t stop the whole process of aging.
However, as Buettner discovered, there is evidence that certain habits can prevent premature aging and help you live a longer, happier life.
Practicing morning affirmations first thing when you wake up, making life fun and engaging, having better sleep habits are among many ways to promote longevity and pave the way for a productive day.
In this article, we will discuss 4-morning habits of the longest-living people in the world.
4 Morning Habits For Longevity
1. Drink Coffee or Tea
People in the Blue Zones typically drink up to three cups of coffee as part of their morning routine.
During the rest of the day, they move to tea and then wine around 5 P.M.
Both coffee and tea have incredible health and weight loss benefits and key nutrients to slow down premature aging and ward off chronic disease.
They also have caffeine which can give you an extra boost of energy and jumpstart your metabolism for the rest of the day.
Starting your day with a glass of green tea or coffee is a quick way to get in polyphenols and antioxidants.
These compounds reduce inflammation, fight off free radicals, lower blood pressure, and prevent degenerative diseases.
In fact, one study found that those who consume green tea at least three times per week and maintain intake long term have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality (1).
According to a post from the American Heart Association, drinking over one cup of caffeinated coffee each day may lower the risk of heart failure (2).
To reap benefits associated with drinking coffee or tea, avoid adding sugar or heavy creamer. Opt for adding honey to your tea and or plant-based milk to your coffee instead of artificial sweeteners.
2. Make Breakfast A Daily Habit
As most of us fast throughout the night, we often wake up hungry and dehydrated.
Dehydration can lead to headaches, muscle cramps, and more.
In the Blue Zones, residents prioritize hydration with water and tea.
Next time you wake up, consider drinking a glass of water on an empty stomach first thing when you wake up.
A glass of water first thing in the morning is the best thing to do to rehydrate. It can also keep you from overeating at breakfast time.
Once you hydrate, get in the habit of eating a hearty meal as part of your A.M. routine.
As many Americans tend to skip breakfast, those who live in the Blue Zones often make it their most important meal of the entire day.
Blue Zones founder, Dan Buettner, reports following a plant-based or Mediterranean-style diet is common among those living in these regions.
This is no surprise as both are known to be associated with better health outcomes.
Starting your day with a healthy breakfast rich in whole grains, fruit, and healthy fats can lead to improvements in overall health.
Plus, it will help you maintain positive energy and prepare you for the workday ahead.
Buettner reports that a 105-year-old woman living in California swears by eating oatmeal every morning.
Oatmeal is high in B vitamins, complex carbs, and fiber to promote healthy digestion. It also helps you feel full and improves energy levels. It is great for on-the-go and pairs great with greek yogurt, berries, and nuts.
One study by the National Institutes of Health found that those who ate high fiber diets had a lower risk of dying from respiratory disease and cardiovascular disease (3).
Other longevity-promoting breakfast foods include smoothies with chia seeds, cottage cheese, citrus fruits, and leafy greens.
An older study found that citrus fruits like grapefruit and oranges high in vitamin C are tied to a reduced risk of death (4).
According to the Blue Zones Project, we should stop eating when our stomach feels 80% full. This is what residents in the Blue Zone naturally do.
Listening to our natural hunger cues can lead to weight loss, reduced disease risk, a longer life, and other positive outcomes.
3. Establish Good Morning Routine to Reduce Stress
Many people in the Blue Zones naturally fall asleep in the evening and wake up in the morning without setting a specific time on an alarm clock.
This naturally reduces stress levels and can promote longevity.
Stress is often referred to as the silent killer and can cause significant damage to our bodies.
Unfortunately, for most of us, this is near impossible.
While most of us have responsibilities that force us to be certain places early in the morning, there are ways to naturally become an early riser and develop natural sleep patterns similar to those in the Blue Zones.
When we wake up in the morning, it’s important to establish a morning routine to set ourselves up for success.
One study found those who are morning people tend to live longer than those who are night owls (5).
In addition, many successful people report that they wake up before 5 A.M. and stress less.
So, how do you go about becoming a morning person and stop hitting the snooze button?
4. Get Enough Sleep
Night owls usually don’t fall asleep early enough to fit in the recommended amount of sleep each night.
Be sure to plan for at least 6-8 hours of sleep each night.
Before you go to bed the evening before, open the curtains to allow the sun’s natural light into the room in the early hours of the morning the next day.
Your body’s internal alarm clock is sensitive to natural light. Not only will it help you naturally wake up, but it will also give you a hefty dose of vitamin D and improve your mood.
To get an adequate amount of shut-eye and help you fall asleep naturally, avoid using your smartphone and other electronics before bedtime.
Additional Morning Habits Tips
When you start changing patterns and getting adjusted to waking up earlier, it may be difficult at first.
Once you wake up and have a morning stretch, if you’re still feeling groggy– try to fit in a quick 20-minute workout or take a cold shower.
A morning workout can release endorphins to boost your mood and increase your energy level.
A cold morning shower can stimulate your central nervous system, help manage stress, and improve your willpower to manage your workday ahead.
Plan for The Day Ahead
Create a to-do list of important tasks the night before to avoid feeling overwhelmed when you wake up the next day.
Start your morning with the most challenging task first. Some of our best ideas and work productivity happen early in the morning.
Some refer to this as “eating the frog.” Eating the frog essentially means starting your morning with your most dreaded task first.
As you finish items on your to-do list, mark them off and celebrate your small wins!
Before you leave for the day, be sure to pack longevity-boosting snacks and nutritious foods like complex carbohydrates, hummus, carrots, and fruit.
Even if you aren’t a morning person, getting into the rhythm of a good morning routine will help you naturally become an early riser and reduce the stress that could shorten your lifespan.
It’s all about mindset. You will be able to rest better at the end of the day, knowing you’ve had maximum productivity during the day.
Discover Your Life’s Purpose
People in Blue Zones specifically tend to have a purpose and are happier, more successful people.
Moreover, they have a morning ritual to keep the positivity flowing.
With the hustle and bustle of life and daily stressors we face with everyone looking picture perfect on social media, our purpose may gradually slip away from us.
This can lead to anxiety, depression and be detrimental to our mental health.
Thankfully, Buettner uncovered some specific morning habits of those in the Blue Zone that can help you start your morning off on the right foot and rediscover your purpose.
Residents in the Blue Zones have been found to be grateful for everything positive in their lives.
As very spiritual people, they often reflect on the good surrounding them.
Research shows practicing gratitude in the morning can slow neurodegeneration, significantly increase the quality of life, and promote longevity (6).
Practicing gratitude each morning is essential to improve your mood and start your morning off on the right foot.
When your alarm clock goes off, go somewhere quiet and free of distraction. Be sure to leave your smartphone behind.
Grab a book and a pen and jot down everything you are grateful for. Change your tone and try to look at all of the good things in life.
People in the Blue Zones are firm believers in meditating to reduce stress and help them stay on course for a successful day.
To reap the longevity boosting benefits of meditation, go to a quiet space free of distraction and silence text messages.
Deep breathing is a great way to meditate morning.
Calmly, take a deep breath, inhale positivity and exhale all of your insecurities and rediscover your purpose.
Being inspired is a way to improve your mindset and find your life’s purpose.
This can include reading a good book filled with positivity as part of your daily routine.
If you’re running short on time, you can also play an inspiring video or watch podcasts on your smartphone.
By getting into the rhythm of including gratitude, meditation, and positive affirmations into your morning routine, you will not only have a more productive day but find inspiration and discover your purpose in life.
Summary of Morning Habits
While there isn’t one ideal morning routine to live longer, some everyday habits found among residents in the Blue Zones are proven to promote longevity.
Finding your purpose, sipping on coffee or tea, having a good morning schedule, and starting your day with a healthy breakfast will not only promote longevity but improve your wellness and promote stress management.
The best way to increase your chances to live a longer life is to live similar to the successful people of the Blue Zones.
It is essential to develop healthy habits such as the ones mentioned above to have a happy morning and start your day with a positive state of mind that will last the whole day.
Gradually incorporate these small morning changes on a day-to-day basis.
Once you get into a natural rhythm, you will start to feel positive until the end of the day and give you your best shot at a longer life.
- Xinyan Wang et al, “Tea consumption and the risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality: The China-PAR project,” European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, January 8, 2020, doi.org/10.1177/2047487319894685 bit
- www.heart.org. 2021. Coffee may help reduce risk for heart failure. [online] Available at: <https://www.heart.org/en/news/2021/02/09/coffee-may-help-reduce-risk-for-heart-failure#:~:text=Drinking%20one%20or%20more%20cups%20of%20coffee%20a,the%20American%20Heart%20Association%20journal%20Circulation%3A%20Heart%20Failure. P> [Accessed 16 September 2021].
- Park, Yikyung et al. “Dietary fiber intake and mortality in the NIH-AARP diet and health study.” Archives of internal medicine vol. 171,12 (2011): 1061-8. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2011.18
- Enstrom, J E et al. “Vitamin C intake and mortality among a sample of the United States population.” Epidemiology (Cambridge, Mass.) vol. 3,3 (1992): 194-202. doi:10.1097/00001648-199205000-00003
- Kristen L. Knutson & Malcolm von Schantz (2018) Associations between chronotype, morbidity and mortality in the UK Biobank cohort, Chronobiology International, 35:8, 1045-1053, DOI: 10.1080/07420528.2018.1454458
- UC Davis Health, P., 2021. Gratitude is good medicine. [online] Health.ucdavis.edu. Available at: <https://health.ucdavis.edu/medicalcenter/features/2015-2016/11/20151125_gratitude.html> [Accessed 16 September 2021].