Are you having one of those "Blah" days?

Normally, I wouldn't presume to say, "You know what your problem is?" to a person's face, but now that I have a distant, faceless audience, I feel like I can get away with it: You don't wake up right.

I don't mean upright, as in the physical connotation of the word itself, most all of us get in that position sooner or later in the day. I mean you don't wake up properly. And now that I'm familiar with all the do's and don'ts about how to do so, I'll tell you how these rules apply to my life and maybe you'll be able to take a few pointers.

I give all credit for how I became so knowledgeable on the subject to one Rebecca Scott, PhD, a sleep specialist at the New York Sleep Institute, who wisely recommends these few simple "tweaks" to your morning routine so you can face the day feeling "alert, mindful, and energized."

Keep in mind now, you're hearing the feedback of a happily retired senior citizen, so don't rely completely on my reactions, which may be tuned into an entirely different lifestyle. You may want to develop your own plan of action for your age and fortitude. Here goes:

Before your alarm rings: Don't hit Snooze. This will only trick your body into thinking it doesn't have to wake up after all. I must admit I don't set an alarm at night period, let alone worry about the snooze button. So right there you can eliminate one important exercise.

Before you get out of bed: Stretch fully. No problem here. There is no way I could just jump out of bed without stretching even a finger.

It takes me a good half hour to loosen all the bones and muscles from head to toe before I can even consider slipping one foot out of bed to feel around for the floor. I am definitely a stretcher.

As soon as you get up: Open the shades. Besides blinding you with morning's first light, there's a bonus for this quick eye-opener. According to a study from Northwestern University, people whose daily light exposure took place in the morning tended to have lower BMIs than those exposed to light later. What the heck is a BMI, anyway?

Living in a mobile home park, you are sometimes in a situation where you can look out of your bedroom window directly into your neighbor's and vise-versa. Our neighbors are gone eight or nine months of the year, so I don't have that problem, but just in case there's somebody out there in close enough proximity to be able to get a look at me first thing in the morning, I sometimes ask my husband to go get a flashlight and shine it in my face instead. He's not usually amenable to this request, probably because he's not ready to jump out of bed at that early hour either, or maybe he's just not that anxious to get a good look at me first thing in the morning. I guess I'll have to pass on this suggestion.

While brushing your teeth: Boost your stamina. As you brush, balance on one foot, changing feet every 30 seconds. It is not an option for me to stand on one foot, even for three seconds. It would result me hitting the floor, some broken bones, and a trip to the hospital. As a matter of fact, I would actually prefer a sitting position when brushing my teeth, except the throne isn't close enough to the sink. So I'll just continue that morning exercise standing on both feet.

When you finally eat: Pick nutrients that last. (Finally being the key word here. I thought she'd never get to this part!) Pack your morning meal with 25 to 30 grams of protein. Like topping plain yogurt with pomegranate arils, pistachios, and chia seeds. What??? Or two scrambled eggs with tomato or broccoli. That sounds much better, with a side of bacon, of course, home fries, some sour dough toast with butter and strawberry jelly. And lose the broccoli. I'm up for that.

Well, there you have it. Good luck. And when you get to the "Finally" part, in case all that protein didn't do the job, here's a tasty breakfast dessert you might want to throw in.


1/4 cup butter or margarine

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons maple-flavored syrup

1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

1 8-oz can refrigerated crescent rolls

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Heat oven to 375°F. In ungreased 8-or9-inch round cake pan, place butter, brown sugar and syrup. Place in oven 2 to 4 minutes or until butter melts. Mix well; sprinkle with pecans. Remove dough from can in 2 rolled sections; do not unroll. Cut each section into 6 slices. In a small bowl, mix granulated sugar and cinnamon; dip both sides of each slice in sugar mixture. Arrange slices over butter mixture in pan; sprinkle with any remaining sugar mixture. Bake 17 to 23 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 1 minute; turn upside down onto heatproof serving plate. Serve warm.