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8 Tips for Waking Up Early


What’s inside this article: Eight actionable tips for waking up early that will have you starting your day on time and feeling good about it.

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Not an early bird? Some people are morning people, and some aren’t. Some people wake up when their alarm goes off, and some people hit snooze 11 times before dragging themselves to the coffee machine. 

If you relate more to the latter, then these tips for waking up early will help you train yourself to get out of bed on time in the morning. 

Why is it hard to wake up early?

For some people, it’s hard to wake up early for several reasons. Figuring out what’s contributing to your chronic snooze-buttoning (that’s a word) will help you overcome it. 

Some factors that make waking up early tricky include: 

  • Chronic sleep deficiency – consistently experiencing sleep deprivation, insomnia, poor sleep quality, etc.
  • chronic pain – affects sleep quality and falling asleep
  • sleep apnea
  • sleepwalking
  • mental health challenges like anxiety and depression
  • insomnia
  • certain medications (check your label)

If you believe an underlying medical condition is making it hard for you to wake up in the morning, speak with your physician for advice on managing your health or offsetting the side effects of medication. 

However, these tips for waking up early can help you wake up in the morning and get a better night’s sleep too. 

Tips for Waking Up Early

I won’t lie to you – a lot of these tips for waking up early are just basic strategies for living a healthy lifestyle. There might be some things on this list that you know you should be doing already, and hopefully, there are some new ideas, too. 

1. Improve Your Bedtime Routine

Do you spend the evening watching TV, looking at your phone, or catching up on work? What about drinking alcohol? 

These are a few things known to interfere with your circadian rhythm and might be squashing your efforts to wake up early before you’ve even gone to sleep.

Improving your bedtime routine can help you restore your circadian rhythm, fall asleep earlier, and sleep better. 

  • Avoid caffeine during the last 4-6 hours before bed.
  • Avoid screen time for 1-2 hours before bed – screens emit blue light, making it more difficult to fall asleep. 
  • Reduce or eliminate alcohol intake – alcohol diminishes the brain’s ability to respond to light cues that keep our circadian rhythms in sync. 
  • Have a consistent bedtime if possible – I know some people work shifts that make this impossible, but if you can, a consistent bedtime helps regulate your circadian rhythms. 
  • Wind Down Hour – Spend the last hour before bed winding down, doing relaxing things before you go to sleep, for example, taking a bath, reading in bed, meditation, drinking a caffeine-free tea, or anything that’s relaxing to you. 
  • Set a bedtime that allows 7-8 hours of sleep – If you aren’t regularly getting enough sleep, it’s that much more challenging to get out of bed in the morning. If you need to make serious adjustments to your bedtime, do this gradually, going to bed earlier in 15-minute increments every 3-5 days. 

2. Exercise Regularly

Of course, you already know exercise is important. But, if it’s one of those things that you “just don’t have time for”, making time for regular exercise can help you sleep better, improve your energy levels during the day, and make it easier to wake up. 

3. Enjoy the Sunlight – Even if It’s Artificial

Sunlight during the daytime helps regulate circadian rhythms, improving sleep and making it easier to wake up.

Getting sunlight first thing in the morning boosts mood and energy levels for the rest of the day, and it also tells your brain it’s time to wake up. 

Try opening the curtains when you wake up (or sleeping with them open). Or, if you need to wake up before the sun or don’t get the opportunity for a lot of sunlight, try using a Happy Light. 

Happy Lights provide full-spectrum (UV-free, so safe) light that our bodies react to the same way as natural sunlight. So, sitting beside a Happy Light while drinking your coffee in the morning will improve sleep, boost your mood, increase energy, and even enhance focus throughout the day.

Light-up alarm clocks also simulate sunrise, helping you wake up in the morning and maintain a consistent routine. The light wakes you up more gently, reducing sleep inertia. 

4. Drink Water as Soon as Your Wake Up

Drinking water first thing in the morning, as soon as you open your eyes, increases the amount of oxygen going to your brain. This increases energy and alertness, helping you wake up. 

Drinking water as soon as you wake up also helps rehydrate your body after 6-8 hours without any fluids.

To help you remember to drink water in the morning, try placing a water bottle on your nightstand before going to bed. Then, reach for it and take a sip after your alarm goes off. 

5. Use Music as Your Alarm

I can’t be the only one – if I use one of the alarm sounds in my phone’s clock app, my brain will literally start to block it out after the sound becomes familiar. Eventually, I won’t hear my alarm at all, and I’ll blissfully sleep through it. 

Instead, I set my alarm to start (loudly) playing a random song from a playlist I found on YouTube. It’s a Millenial Hitlist, so I wake up to something different daily. 

One morning it’s Rihanna telling me I can stand under her umbrella-ella-ella. The next morning Eminem is in my ear asking for the Real Slim Shady to please stand up, and by Wednesday, Linkin Park is reminding me that in the end, it doesn’t even matter. 

6. Have an Early Bird Give You a Call

If you NEED to be awake, whether it’s daily for a job or a one-off for an appointment, get someone you know is an early bird to give you a call in the morning. 

Especially if you’ve been oversleeping more often than is acceptable, they can help ensure you are awake and stay awake when needed. 

7. Set Your Intentions Before Bed

Before you go to sleep at night, set your intentions for the following morning. 

Write. It. Down

In a notebook or journal, write down what time you plan to wake up in the morning and what you want to achieve after waking up. 

8. Give it time

It takes an average of 66 days for a new behavior to become a habit. So, even if you’re implementing all these tips for waking up early, it’s going to take time.

Don’t expect it to feel easy after a few days or even a few weeks. Forming a new habit takes direct focus and effort initially, but over time, it becomes more natural.

Following these tips for waking up early can help you change your routine and develop new habits that make it easier to wake up in the morning. 

But remember, if you think there may be a medical reason you’re struggling to wake up in the mornings, speak to a medical professional about possible solutions.