How To Create a Low Dopamine Morning Routine

5 Min Read | By Matthew Fox

Last Modified 5 March 2024   First Added 25 August 2023

This article was written and reviewed in line with our editorial policy.

In the hustle and bustle of modern life, finding moments of tranquillity and balance can be a game-changer for your overall well-being. The concept of a low dopamine morning routine offers a unique approach to kickstart your day with calm and clarity.

This routine is all about stepping away from the usual rush and embracing practices that help you start your day with a serene mindset. From mindful practices to deliberate choices, a low dopamine morning routine can be your gateway to a more centred and peaceful beginning.

What exactly is low dopamine and why can it be beneficial?

While a low dopamine morning routine may sound like one that swings more towards negative emotions than positive, it’s actually about calmness and relaxation.

The neurotransmitter dopamine surges in response to stimulation and can cause us to react impulsively. Small things like Instagram likes can make it surge, as can larger events such as winning a race or completing a large task for work – although hopefully, these aren’t part of your normal morning routine!

An increase in dopamine typically makes our heart rate increase, and, in its aftermath, our bodies try to counter-balance by allowing the body to crash.

Here’s a quote from on the matter:

Because our brains are wired to restore balance, peak levels of dopamine can be followed by painful crashes, marked by cravings for more thrills.

So, ideally, our mornings should be calm and avoid any major dopamine triggers. This allows us to start our day in a more considered, relaxed, and balanced manner.

How to do the low dopamine morning routine

Creating a low dopamine morning routine is about setting the stage for a day that’s driven by intention rather than stress. Ideally, you’d start the night before with a clean sleep routine, but when the morning comes, begin by allowing yourself a gentle wake-up – avoid jumping out of bed and, instead, take a few moments to stretch and breathe deeply.

Engaging in mindfulness practices, such as meditation or deep-breathing exercises, can help reduce the cortisol rush often associated with immediate alerts and information overload.

Then, keep the following in mind:

  • Try a sunrise lamp – Using this instead of a traditional alarm clock will create a gentler waking process.
  • Keep the phone away – Avoid your phone for the first hour after waking up, at the bare minimum.
  • No caffeine for 90 minutes – Swap the coffee or tea for a glass of water or juice.
  • Eat a high-protein breakfast – Think eggs, tofu scrambles, sausages (ideally low-carb ones) and other similar things.
  • Do a low-intensity workout – Try not to go too intense in the morning, and opt for walks, jogs, or yoga.

After all this, gradually ease into your morning tasks, avoiding the rush that can lead to dopamine spikes and a frazzled mindset. Prioritise nurturing activities that calm your nervous system and set the tone for the day.

A white clock on a white bed being held still

What are the benefits of a low dopamine routine?

The concept of a low dopamine morning routine is rooted in the science of neurochemistry. Dopamine, often referred to as the “feel-good” neurotransmitter, is closely linked to motivation and reward. However, excessive dopamine spikes can lead to stress, anxiety, and even burnout.

A high-protein focus for breakfast aims to keep you from sugary breakfast foods and, instead, choosing foods that reduce hunger between meals. Protein is also a slow-release energy source, so it will keep your blood sugar and productivity levels from spiking and crashing during the first half of the day.

Some of you may be unimpressed by the suggestion of forgoing your morning coffee. It should be noted that while people have reported avoiding caffeine can be personally beneficial, there are no studies that point towards it being useful in the long term if you don’t consume excessive amounts. Low doses of caffeine have been shown to have positive effects on mood and anxiety, but an intake of more than 500mg can make you irritable and stressed out.

By adopting a low dopamine morning routine, you’re deliberately avoiding activities that trigger intense dopamine releases, allowing your body and mind to experience a gentler awakening. The focus on mindful practices, distance from the phone and caffeine, as well as a solid breakfast, contribute to a steady neurochemical response, promoting a more balanced and focused mindset for the day ahead.

Not a morning person? We can fix that!

Does a low dopamine morning routine work?

Like with many sleep routines, its success may vary. There are those, like @nat0sh, who have seen the benefits of adopting this routine in their everyday life:


I PROMISE YOU… i used to not be able to get out of bed. Debilitated. Obviously there’s many moving parts to healing but give low dopamine a try! We all need it in this world tbh. #lowdopamine #morningroutines #morningroutine #health #healing #vlogs

♬ original sound – Natasha

However, the effectiveness of a low dopamine morning routine lies in its ability to promote a calm and composed start to the day. By intentionally avoiding overwhelming stimuli, you’re creating a buffer against stressors that often trigger cortisol and dopamine rushes. This approach fosters a sense of tranquillity, enabling you to engage with your surroundings and tasks with a clearer perspective.

While a low dopamine morning routine offers unique benefits, it’s essential to remember that everyone’s sleep routine is personal. Some individuals may find other methods, such as exercise or creative pursuits, equally effective in setting a positive tone for the day. And while some find that keeping away from screens before sleep and after waking up is helpful, others may not be affected nearly as much. The key is to experiment and discover what resonates with you on an individual level.

Ultimately, the goal is to cultivate a morning routine that supports your mental and emotional well-being, setting you up for a day of success and contentment. Whether you’re easing into mindfulness practices, taking a leisurely stroll, or enjoying a nourishing breakfast, the choice is yours to craft a morning routine that truly aligns with your needs.

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