By Kim Lachance Shandrow
Every morning you spring from bed, wired, ready and raring to go. You’re a shiny, happy motivated morning beast, psyched to rip into your day.
Or maybe not so much.
If you’re reading this -- yawn -- you’re probably not a morning person. Perhaps you’re a habitual snooze-button slapper. Or maybe you’re a night owl who could really use an awakening nudge in the a.m.
Either way, slam a hot cup of Joe and kick-start your mornings courtesy of this energizing list of apps that help you rise and shine, with everything from adrenaline-pumping workout routines and chill meditation sessions to healthy breakfast smoothies and more.
Image credit: Waky
Do you hate the jarring, stress-inducing clanks and shrieks of a traditional alarm clock? Then Waky might be for you.
Instead of assaulting you with obnoxious sounds, Waky uses sultry human voices to gently nudge you awake. But this human-voiced morning alarm app is as fun and wacky as its name suggests. You can select from the voices of 11 guys or 11 girls. Or even Santa. Yes, you read that right. Santa.
And if you speak Russian, you’re in luck. Waky says prosnut'sya and a whole lot more in Russkiy. We told you this app is wacky.
Waky is free, although you can purchase additional wake-up voices for $0.99 each. It’s available for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.
Image credit: Calm.com, Inc.
2. Calm app
The mood we’re in when we wake up often sets the tone for our day. The happier and more relaxed we are, the more focused and productive we’ll be. At least in theory. If you have trouble finding your happy place in the morning, try Calm, a serene, natural landscape enriched meditation app.
Calm’s two dozen-plus soothing animated background nature scenes -- ocean, prairie, rainforest, etc. -- backed with the sounds of tranquil music, tweeting birds, chirping crickets, crashing waves and pouring rain. Watch out, though: Swipe through them too quickly and the app tends to crash (it did for me, anyway).
Once you choose your dreamy theme, the app guides you through seven de-stressing “Steps of Calm,” a relaxing meditation session to get you grounded and ready to take on the day. Just say om, but don’t melt so deeply that you fall back to sleep.
Calm is free and is available for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.
Image credit: Northcube AB [Note: Northcube AB is the developer/maker of this app.]
3. Sleep Cycle
Ever woken up feeling like a zombie, like you didn’t sleep at all? We know the feeling.
That’s where Sleep Cycle comes to the rescue. The $0.99 app works with your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch’s accelerometer to track your movement while you sleep. Because waking up during the deepest, dreamiest state of sleep isn’t fun, Sleep Cycle works its magic and figures out when your lightest sleep phase is and wakes you up during it.
Image credit: Nexercise [maker of the app]
Wake up bright and early(ish), and break a sweat with Sworkit’s circuit fitness training. You’ll get your workout out of the way first thing and you’ll get an awakening endorphin boost to boot.
All you have to do is launch the app, choose a how long you’ll exercise for (five to 60 minutes), choose a workout (upper or lower body, core strength, cardio or stretching), and get your weary heart pumping. When you’re winded, exhale and wind down with some yoga poses. No equipment required.
Sworkit syncs with MyFitnessPal for seamless fitness activity tracking. It’s also designed to work with most music apps. Launch your favorite Pandora cardio station, switch back to Sworkit and “Swork hard.”
Image credit: Martha Stewart Living Ominmedia, Inc.
5. Smoothies from Whole Living
Martha Stewart is probably a morning person. You’d have to be to complete a sixteenth of the projects she slays in a day. And, apparently, she likes smoothies, too. Especially in the morning.
Blending a cold concoction from Stewart’s multi-million dollar media company’s smoothie recipe app is a smart, healthy way to start your day if you don’t have time to whip up a full breakfast before rushing out the door.
Several smoothie recipe themes are offered, including allergy-free, detox and weight-loss options, all complete, of course, with elegant, Stewart-approved snapshots to accompany each tasty recipe. Wake up, drink up and go.