The ‘scientific formula’ for starting the day in a good mood

Wake up at 6.44am, treat yourself to an extra half-hour in bed and have a 21-minute morning work-out: The ‘scientific formula’ for starting the day in a good mood

  • Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon devised a formula to ‘wake up on the right side of bed’  
  • Numbers are based on a survey of 2,000 Britons morning routine habits
  • Formula allows people to tweak their routine to meet their own preferences 

Do you regularly feel like you’ve woken up on the wrong side of the bed?

A mathematician claims to have found the winning morning routine formula to get you off to the best possible start of the day.

Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon, a former child brainiac who presented Countdown earlier this year, says Britons will wake up in a good mood if they follow her model.

It was developed based on a survey of 2,000 adults in the UK who were asked about their morning routines and how they felt afterwards.

There is good news for those of us who like to snooze the alarm clock but not so great if you’re not an early bird. 

The survey found 6.44am is exactly the best time to wake up — but you shouldn’t actually get out of bed until precisely 7.12am. 

This should be followed by 21 minutes exercising, spending 10 minutes in the shower and 18 minutes eating breakfast, results suggested.

Dr Imafidon says that while these times appear to be optimal, you can use her formula to plug in your own timings to find the perfect, personalised routine.

The only thing that’s non-negotiable is you must get eight hours of sleep. 

The perfect start to the day could be as simple as following a simple formula, according to a mathematician. Graphic shows: The formula for whether you have woken up on the ‘right side of the bed’. The minutes spent eating breakfast, exercising and showering in the morning divided by how much less than eight hours you spend sleeping and how far you are from leaving bed at 7.12am, plus the minutes you spend doing other ‘getting ready’ activities should add up to more than 37 to be having a good morning

Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon (pictured), a maths child prodigy who hosted Countdown earlier this year, says Britons will 'wake up on the right side of the bed' if they follow her tips

Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon (pictured), a maths child prodigy who hosted Countdown earlier this year, says Britons will ‘wake up on the right side of the bed’ if they follow her tips

Britain’s brainiest family: How Anne-Marie Imafidon and her siblings achieved extraordinary success

All five of the Imafidon children have achieved extraordinary academic success, passing GCSEs when they were as young as six and going on to study for degrees at universities including Oxford and Harvard.

Anne-Marie, 31, passed A-level maths aged 11; Christiana, 28, passed GCSE maths at nine; Samantha, 24, passed GCSEs in maths and statistics aged six; while twins Paula and Peter, 21 passed GCSE maths aged six and A-level maths aged seven. 

Their exceptional talent earned them the nickname ‘Britain’s brainiest family’. 

Professor Chris Imafidon encouraged sibling rivalry, gave out , their father’medals when his children succeeded and supported them playing computer games to learn. 

They also learnt two musical instruments and competed in a number of sports, as well as learning languages. 

She said: ‘It’s interesting to see how different factors in our morning routine can set us up for the rest of the day. 

‘Having this formula is a great tool to help start the day right. 

‘Not everyone has the same routine but a combination of the different elements should be key to “getting out of bed on the right side” — especially after so many of us admit to regularly getting up in a bad mood.’

The original survey found three in ten Britons say they regularly ‘wake up on the wrong side of bed’, while a quarter do not see their mood lift till 11am.

Four in 10 said they do not know how to turn their day around if it starts badly.

Half blamed broken sleep for their rough wake-up and three out of 10 said it was because they did not eat enough breakfast.

A third said they set aside lots of time to enjoy their first meal while 

Based on this data, Dr Imafidon constructed a formula to weight how long people should spend showering, eating, exercising and doing other activities based on how long they slept and stayed in bed.

The total minutes spent showering and exercising plus twice the minutes spent eating make up the first part of the formula. 

Minutes spent eating breakfast are given a double-weighting because of how much survey participants said they valued the first meal of the day. 

This is then divided by the difference between eight hours — the amount of time recommended to be asleep — and the actual time spent sleeping, multiplied by the more hours away from 7.12am it is that you get out of bed.

Finally, the minutes spent doing other ‘getting ready’ activities, like reading or meditating, is added on.

If the final number is greater than 37 you are likely to be having a good morning, Dr Imafidon said. 

The formula is not based on exact scientific data and acts more as a rough guide for how long you should spend based on average preferences. 

The NHS says adults should get six to nine hours of sleep every night, although getting closer to eight hours is ideal.

The poll was commissioned by Kellogg’s Special K Crunchy Oat Granola.


Preschool (3-5 years): 10-13 hours

School-age (6-13 years): 9-11 hours

Teen (14-17 years): 8-10 hours

Young adult (18-25) 7-9 hours

Adult (26-64): 7-9 hours

Older adult (65 or more) 7-8 hours

Source: Sleep Foundation 


1) Limit screen time an hour before bed

Our bodies have an internal ‘clock’ in the brain, which regulates our circadian rhythm. 

Mobiles, laptops and TVs emit blue light, which sends signals to our brain to keep us awake.

2) Address your ‘racing mind’

Take 5-10 minutes before you go to sleep to sit with a notebook and write down a list of anything that you need to do the following day.

3) Avoid caffeine after 12pm

If you want a hot drink in the afternoon or evening, go for a decaffeinated tea or coffee.

4) Keep a cool bedroom temperature

Keep bedroom thermostats to around 18°C. During spring/summer try sleeping with your bedroom window open to reduce the temperature and increase ventilation.

5) Limit alcohol in the evenings

While you might initially fall into deep sleep more easily, you then wake up frequently during the night and have poorer deep sleep overall.

6) Supplement vitamin D

Vitamin D plays a role in sleep. Vitamin D is widely available online and from most pharmacies.

If you are unsure if this is appropriate or how much you need, seek advice from your GP.

7) Ensure sufficient intake of magnesium and zinc

Foods high in magnesium include spinach, kale, avocado, bananas, cashews, and seeds. 

Foods high in zinc include meat, oysters, crab, cheese, cooked lentils, and dark chocolate (70%+).