How to hydrate yourself in the morning…

The first sensation most of us register when we wake up is thirst. If you’ve managed to sleep well, you’ve just gone seven-plus hours without drinking a drop of water. If you’re in a dry climate, worked out the previous afternoon, or partied hard the night before, you likely hit the pillow at a fluid deficit out of the gate. Depending on the temperature of your room, you may have even accelerated the dehydration process through sweat. In combination, the vapour from respiration and perspiration can often amount to a pound of water lost overnight. As a result, we regularly wake up feeling like we’ve been nursing on a cotton ball.

You would think that the logical response to this condition would be to get up and drink some water, to lubricate all those critical internal components we need to fire correctly for our bodies to be most effective today and for the long haul. Instead, what most of us do is hide under the covers, hitting the snooze button like a snare drum until the last possible moment, at which point we hurry out of bed, strip our clothes off, step into the shower and pour gallons of water over our body, then dump three more quarts through a drip coffee maker. We rarely think to actually drink any of this water before it goes down the drain or through the filter, which is insane; if the physical sensations we experience when we wake up happened to us in the middle of our day, we’d say “Damn, I’m thirsty” and then crush a glass of water. Starting the day, though, it always ends with us holding a cup of coffee.

There are studies on both men and women showing that even mild dehydration resulting from fluid loss equaling roughly 1 percent of your body weight can cause headaches, moodiness, irritability, anxiety, and fatigue.

Decreases in mental performance and short-term memory loss can start at as little as a 2 percent loss in water. You ever find yourself being 1 or 2 percent lighter in the morning than before bed? That is enough.

But it isn’t just the water itself that is the problem. We lose electrolytes and minerals over the course of our sleep as well. Minerals are key to modulating and supporting numerous body processes, from the muscles to the organs and even the brain. Without adequate minerals, many of the body’s normal functions start to diminish. Well, guess what, we are just as bad at replacing our minerals on a regular basis as we are at getting ourselves moving and into the sunlight to start our days.


Sixty percent of the average adult human body is made up of water. About the same percentage of Earth’s surface is covered by water. The world is water, we are water, yet here we are, every morning, essentially starving for it. And we wonder why we wake up feeling miserable so often.

A glass of water from the bathroom faucet or tipping your head back in the shower is not going to cut it, however. This isn’t just about curing cottonmouth. Health coach and sleep expert Shawn Stevenson calls that first glass of water in the morning “a cool bath for your organs.” Another way of putting it: it’s priming your internal fluids before hitting the road.

Just swap your first-thing-in-the-morning coffee for some water and minerals, in a drink Aubrey Marcus calls the morning mineral cocktail. You don’t have to eliminate coffee—God forbid, coffee is delicious—just hold off on it until you’ve hydrated properly and can mix it with some fats like butter or coconut oil to slow it down. The components of the morning mineral cocktail are water, sea salt, and a splash of lemon.

Morning Mineral Cocktail

0.4 to 0.7 litres of filtered water

3 grams sea salt (=flat tip of a tea spoon)

1/4 lemon, squeezed

  • The water should be room temperature. When you’re looking to maximize mineral absorption and aid digestion, room temperature is always best for any beverage.
  • Sea salt contains upward of sixty trace minerals above and beyond the sodium, chloride, and iodine in regular table salt, including phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, potassium, bromine, boron, zinc, iron, manganese, and copper.

    Together they are essential for healthy bodily function and contribute meaningfully to optimal performance. Sodium binds to water in the body to maintain the proper level of hydration inside and outside our cells. Along with potassium, it also helps maintain electrical gradients across cell membranes, which are critical for nerve transmission, muscle contraction, and various other functions. Without it, needless to say, we would be toast.

This post is an extract about hydration from the first chapter of Aubrey Marcus‘ book:
Own the Day, Own Your Life


Aubrey Marcus is the founder and CEO of Onnit, a lifestyle brand based on a holistic health philosophy he calls Total Human Optimization. Onnit is an Inc. 500 company and an industry leader with products touching millions of lives, including many top professional athletes around the world.

To hear more from Aubrey Marcus, listen in on one of these podcasts:

Keeping healthy blood glucose levels

We should all be concerned about insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome X, and diabetes – different names for a health condition in which your blood glucose is elevated above normal levels.

One must understand that blood glucose is one of the most important things to keep within the normal range, and the most current scientific data indicates that keeping it in the lower part of the normal range is better.

Terms like “insulin resistance” and “metabolic syndrome” have been used to describe what is occurring prior to and up to the development of full-blown diabetes, which is when elevated blood glucose starts a cascade of other health problems. For example, with elevated blood glucose, one can develop high blood pressure, an increase in lipids (cholesterol), an increase in weight, and a host of other problems that are far better avoided.

If someone has elevated blood sugar or diabetes, they are at fourfold increased risk of developing heart disease. Why? Because when blood glucose is elevated, insulin (the well-known hormone secreted from the pancreas that helps bring glucose into the body to be utilised as fuel) resistance develops over time because of the continued consumption of highly refined carbohydrates and processed foods (e.g. white bread, white flour tortillas, doughnuts and pastries), highly sweetened snacks (e.g. candy bars) and sugary drinks (e.g. soft drinks), and other triggers that cause inflammation of the pancreatic cells.

This inflammation in turn causes an imbalance whereby the body cannot absorb glucose into its cells, muscles, and organs, and the glucose instead remains in the blood stream. This excess fuel – or energy – that the body cannot use is then converted to fats (both excess weight and elevated lipids/cholesterol).

Additionally, once blood sugar is elevated, there is an increase in the metabolic pathway to convert more omega-6s, triggering more inflammation – not only systemically but also in the internal lining of the arteries – leading to more cholesterol and plaque formation. This plaque formation is the body’s attempt to calm the inflammation initially, but when there is chronic inflammation, the repair becomes a hindrance. This pathway of inflammation and the complications from it become a vicious cycle.

If you obtain most of your calories from highly processed and refined foods, this creates spikes in your blood-glucose levels, and over time your insulin loses the ability to bring it down.

All food has a glucose number, called its glycemic index (GI), which tells how much your blood glucose will rise once you consume that food. White bread is the standard measurement to which other foods are compared, as it has one of the fastest glycemic indices.

Carbohydrates with a low GI (55 or less) will make your blood glucose rise slowly and fall gently over a longer time. Carbohydrates with a high GI (70 or more) are digested and absorbed quickly causing your blood glucose levels to spike and then crash.

White bread and similar highly refined grain foods have been “pre-digested”: The manufacturing process removes the whole-grain and fiber content in addition to other core nutrients. This makes the processed grain product easier to chew, cut, slice and pull apart, and it also increases the rate of absorption and conversion to glucose. As a result, blood glucose spikes immediately after consuming these refined foods. While that doesn’t sound very appetising, these types of foods are popular, because a glucose spike gives a quick, satisfied feeling of having instant energy. But soon thereafter, energy levels crash, and you feel hungry again. And so you eat again. This rapid cycle is part of what makes these foods so addictive.

Food companies create their foods so precisely, that once the average teenager at school or adult in the workplace eats a snack, his or her physiology is basically on a timed cycle to spike and crash exactly as food companies want it to. Most of these packaged products have been calculated to create that specific rollercoaster of soaring highs followed by a massive crash – timed to happen right before the next class or workplace break.

Avoid this rollercoaster ride by not allowing yourself to get on it to begin with. That is the willpower you need. Try to learn not to put these foods into your grocery cart when you go shopping. Do what you can to replace these quick-fix foods with something that you really like that is genuinely satisfying – generally foods that don’t come in a box.

And when you eat, stick to three meals per day. One of the worst dietary advice in the last years has been to eat whenever you feel hungry. As a result you are having snacks every couple of hours sending your blood glucose levels on rollercoaster rides all day long.


This post is a summary of the relevant chapters of Sunil Pai‘s book:
An Inflammation Nation – The Definitive 10-Step Guide to Preventing and Treating All Diseases through Diet, Lifestyle, and Use of Natural Anti-Inflammatories


Dr. Sunil Pai, MD is the founder and medical director of Sanjevani Integrative Medicine and Lifestyle Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He was one of the first physicians to become a Fellow of the Program in Integrative Medicine at University of Arizona directed by Dr. Andrew Weil, the “father” of Integrative Medicine and was one of the first Board Certified MD’s in Holistic Integrative Medicine in the United States.

To hear more from Dr. Pai, listen in on one of these podcasts:

The mystical Pineal Gland and its Functions

The Pineal's location within the brain

The Pineal Gland is also called the pineal body, epiphysis or ‘Third Eye‘. It has the size of a grain of rice and the shape of a tiny pine-cone (hence its name).
It is tucked in a small groove between the two hemispheres right in the centre of your brain.
The pineal gland is not covered by the blood brain-barrier so it can secrete its hormones straight into the bloodstream.

Mystery has always surrounded this tiny organ. Modern medicine knows little about the gland’s role, but it has a rich metaphysical history. René Descartes believed the pineal was the “seat of the soul,” the interface where the mind meets the brain.



Pineal Gland’s Function

The Pineal’s function is not fully understood yet.
Pinealocytes are the main cells contained in the pineal gland. The primary function of the pinealocytes is the secretion of the hormone melatonin, which regulates your circadian rhythm, seasonal rhythm and your sleep/wake cycles.

In a study from May 2013 the researchers Barkera, Borjiginb, Lomnickaa and Strassman confirmed the existence (and, they argue, production) of dimethyltryptamine (DMT) in the pineal glands of rats. Further research has to be done to determine whether endogenous DMT in humans also originates in the pineal gland.

Pineal Gland and Third Eye

Nearly all vertebrate species possess a pineal gland. In some species of amphibians and reptiles the pineal gland is directly linked to a light-sensing organ.

The parietal eye (very small grey oval between the regular eyes) of a young bullfrog

Parietal Eye

Reptiles (mostly lizards, frogs, salamanders and some fish) have a so called parietal eye, also known as a third eye or pineal eye. This eye acts as a calendar: It can see days getting longer and nights getting shorter, and the reverse, and so tells the brain how seasons are changing. It regulates the animal’s circadian rhythm and its body temperature.

The parietal eye uses a different biochemical method of detecting light than rod cells or cone cells in a normal vertebrate eye.

Humans’ Third Eye

The human third eye is a mystical concept of an invisible eye located around the middle of the forehead, slightly above the junction of the eyebrows. This inner eye provides perception beyond ordinary sight and can lead to outer body experiences and lucid dreaming, to name a few.

Scientifically this is not understood yet. So far science has revealed that pinealocytes and photoreceptors of the retina share common components of signal transduction. Whether this supports the pineal gland’s mystical role in human consciousness remains to be seen.

The development of a bony cranium in mammals has obscured light from the brain and the mammalian pineal has lost direct contact with light. Without direct light input, a complicated neural circuitry has developed in which visual information from the photoreceptors of the retina is directed to the suprachiasmatic nucleus of the hypothalmus. Within the suprachiasmatic nucleus is an endogenous circadian clock that is reset daily to entrain the clock to the environmental lighting cycle. Output from the suprachiasmatic clock is transmitted to the pineal where during darkness the pinealocytes produce increased levels of melatonin that are released to the circulating blood.

The vastly disparate signaling systems in human photoreceptors and pinealocytes of the pineal gland may actually be variations on a common theme. As the mechanisms of phototransduction in retinal photoreceptor cells has become more clear, it has equally become apparent that pinealocytes have retained a selective group of retinal proteins that are involved in the phototransduction cascade. How the pineaIocytes utilize these proteins and whether the “retinal photoreceptor” proteins participate in signal transduction in the pineal is still unknown.