Wake Up Stressed? This Biohacker Says You Should Drink Salt Water In The A.M.
Ever wake up feeling on edge? It's exceptionally frustrating: The morning should be an opportunity for peace and stillness before taking on the day, no? A stretch or two to wake up your muscles, a skin care routine to nourish your complexion, a coffee ritual to rouse your senses. But sometimes you may awaken to anxiety rather than the cheerful melody of birdsong—and if this happens more often than not, you might be wondering how to get your morning routine back to bliss.
Turns out, this is a very common place to find yourself in. And according to professional biohacker Dave Asprey, founder of Bulletproof and author of Fast This Way, there's a pretty simple measure that can help your early-bird woes: "When you wake up in the morning, take a pinch of Himalayan sea salt, put it in water, and drink it," he says on the mindbodygreen podcast.
The link between salt water and stress levels.
Let's chat about cortisol, your lovely stress hormone that also affects blood sugar, blood pressure, and inflammation. The hormone is at its highest right when you wake up1, in order to give you a kick of energy to start the day. "You have to have more blood pressure, so you don't pass out," Asprey says.
In a perfect world, this hormone would offer a boost of energy so you don't feel sluggish or groggy come the a.m. But, alas, so many of us face chronic levels of stress already—so that natural uptick in cortisol? It can cause exacerbated levels of stress, especially in the morning when the hormone is at its peak.
So here's where salt comes into play: A little sprinkle, says Asprey, can potentially lower your cortisol levels a bit—just enough to where you still gain the kick of energy without feeling overwhelmed or anxious. In fact, research has shown that increased salt intake can effectively lower blood cortisol levels2. Of course, you don't want to be drinking gallons of salty water—just a dash in your bedside glass is more than enough, Asprey says. We should also note that it's best to consume high-quality salt (like Himalayan, Redmond, or sea salt). These types of salt are chock-full of healthy minerals—like iron, magnesium, and zinc3—as opposed to table salt, which experts say doesn't really do much for you.
The result? A regulated stress response that may even last beyond early hours: "You can actually feel better all day from that, and it's pretty easy to do," says Asprey.
Feeling stressed out in the morning is super common (deemed "morning anxiety"), and there's much you can do to combat it if it bothers you—experts have also recommended eating a protein-rich snack before bed and engaging in a gratitude practice to wake up feeling more calm. But drinking a bit of salt water is such a simple trick that we might as well try it, too.
Jamie Schneider is the Beauty Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and more. In her role at mbg, she reports on everything from the top beauty industry trends, to the gut-skin connection and the microbiome, to the latest expert makeup hacks. She currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.