Woman raises arms in gratitude for beautiful sunrise.

15 Tips to Wake Up Earlier

Being part of the cool “5 AM Club” looks glamorous from the outside, according to many aesthetically pleasing YouTube videos. But is it doable?

While this depends on each person’s lifestyle, goals, and schedule, for most people, the answer is yes. It shouldn't come at the cost of getting enough sleep though – it’s always a good idea to prioritize your sleep and wellbeing. 

Here are 15 tips to make the switch to waking up earlier a little bit easier.

Be Patient With Yourself

woman awake early standing at kitchen counter with coffee yawning.
Image Credit: Ariwasabi/Shutterstock.

Although many inspirational videos present this change as an overnight switch, the reality may differ. It’s important to recognize that any change, including waking up earlier, takes time to integrate into your habits.

There are a lot of things in the background that impact how seamless or challenging the switch is: accumulated fatigue, overall health, habits, mindset, the list goes on. And like with any new habits you’re trying to develop, be patient with yourself during this process.

Consistent Bedtime

man about to turn off beside light to go to sleep.
Image Credit: nimito/Shutterstock.

Going to sleep at the same hour every day (even on weekends) programs your body to get sleepy regardless of where you are or what you’re doing. Nothing beats a consistent bedtime in helping you sleep earlier.

To make this process easier, it can help to keep a schedule in mind, and complete any tasks or activities before your sleep time. That way you don’t end up postponing sleep due to last minute groceries, walking the dog, or quality time with loved ones.

No Coffee After 12 PM

woman multi-tasking by holding coffee talking on phone and driving at the same time.
Photo credit: Depositphotos

Another small habit that helps is limiting any caffeine intake after 12 PM. Some people have a high tolerance to caffeine and can drink coffee even until 3 PM without any side effects. But if that’s not the case, you might try replacing coffee with a lower caffeine green tea, which will give you a little energy boost but also is less likely to interfere with your sleep.

Sleep At Least 8-10 Hours

Man sleeping on bed
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Quality sleep is essential for optimal health and productivity. According to The American Academy of Sleep Medicine, the recommended amount of sleep for teens is 8-10 hours, for adults aged 18-60 it’s 7 or more hours per night, and for 65 or older, it’s between 7-9 hours. 

Avoid Screen Time 2 Hours Before Sleep

Woman lying on bed looking at tablet at night.
Image Credit: silverkblackstock/Shutterstock.

According to The National Sleep Foundation, people who use phones, laptops or tablets in bed experience a lower quality of sleep. The blue light from these devices is known to boost alertness and brain function. As such, exposure to it before bedtime can negatively impact sleep patterns, and interrupt the circadian system. In addition to this, the information overload can keep you wired, anxious, or even overwhelmed. 

Avoid Heavy Meals 2 Hours Before Sleep

Happy family eating a meal together.
Parenting

Heavy meals right before sleep can affect digestion and, as a result, sleep quality as well. To ensure healthy digestion, try to enjoy your dinner two or even three hours before sleep. That way your body has enough time to process the food so it doesn’t disrupt your rest.

Wind Down With Relaxing Activities

Woman lying down and reading book
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Having a relaxing evening is a great way to ease into a good night’s sleep. You can do this by taking a bubble bath, reading a book, journaling, or cuddling with a loved one. Whatever way you prefer to unwind, that’s the way to go.

Make Your Bedroom Cool And Dark

Woman sleeping in dark
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Bright lights and too many blankets might have you twisting and turning, or waking up mid-dream. Instead, try to keep your bedroom dark and at a slightly lower temperature to improve sleep quality.

Reward Yourself

person wearing winter sweater eating delicious looking breakfast with fruit.
Image Credit: Foxys-Forest-Manufacture/Shutterstock.

A reward-based system can be very effective. Use treats, fun activities, or anything else that motivates you to roll out of bed in the morning.

It could be an inspirational podcast, a delicious smoothie with strawberries, your overnight oats with caramel topping, or even just taking your dog out for a walk – whatever makes you feel excited to face the new day.

Enjoy The Sunshine

Woman getting out of bed in sunny morning.
Image Credit: Depositphotos.com.

Go for a quick walk or enjoy your coffee on the balcony as soon as you wake up. Exposure to natural light recalibrates your circadian rhythm, making it easier to wake up early as a habit. Plus, you get to enjoy Vitamin D first thing in the morning, so you’ll feel refreshed and energized.

It Might Be Harder In Winter

Woman in bed hiding face in pillows as she doesn't want to get up yet.
Image Credit: Ilona-Kozhevnikova/Shutterstock.

One thing to keep in mind is that it can be more challenging to wake up earlier in the cold season. Naturally, our bodies require more rest, and the lack of sunlight (depending on your location) also causes fatigue. So try to be extra gentle with yourself if you’re trying to upgrade your sleeping habits during winter.

Remember That It Gets Easier With Time

practice self-compassion written on a paper note next to a cup of coffee.
Photo credit: Depositphotos

It takes time to implement any new habits. The hardest step is always the first one. Likewise, the first days or weeks might be the hardest to push yourself out of bed while it’s still early out.

But after a month, it should get easier until you’re waking up automatically without even an alarm clock. And if a month later it’s still challenging, don’t worry – the next tips are for you.

Maybe Waking Up Early Is Not For You

Sleepy Mom pouring coffee on table with head down while a surprised toddler looks on.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Some people are early birds, effortlessly waking up at the crack of dawn and running errands straightaway. Others are most efficient at 2 AM when the world goes quiet. If you’re part of the latter group and you’ve tried all the tricks in the book without success, it might simply be that it’s not in your nature to be optimal so early.

It’s okay to be a night owl and honor whatever sleep schedule feels most authentic and healthy to you. After all, your sleep schedule should work for you – not the other way around!

Consult A Doctor

woman lying in bed so tired.
Image Credit: Maridav/Shutterstock.

If you’ve tried all the previous tips and waking up earlier still feels like torture, there might be health-related reasons. Sometimes, your body just requires more sleep, or you might have other things going on, and discipline isn’t the solution.

In such cases, it’s good to check in with your healthcare practitioner, as they can best advise on next steps.

More Simple Habits to Start that Boost Well-being

happy woman waking up early in the morning.
Image Credit: Gladskikh-Tatiana/Shutterstock.

Use Bed For Sleep Only

Woman sleeping in bed
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

When you use your bed for scrolling on social media, studying, or working, your brain starts associating it with active or even stressful activities, thus disrupting your sleep. This also applies to watching TV in bed, as it keeps you awake, along with the blue light.

Instead, try to use the bed for rest only. That way, when your head touches the pillow, you know it’s time to disconnect from the day and rest.

Reward Yourself

person wearing winter sweater eating delicious looking breakfast with fruit.
Image Credit: Foxys-Forest-Manufacture/Shutterstock.

A reward-based system can be very effective. Use treats, fun activities, or anything else that motivates you to roll out of bed in the morning.

It could be an inspirational podcast, a delicious smoothie with strawberries, your overnight oats with caramel topping, or even just taking your dog out for a walk – whatever makes you feel excited to face the new day.

Enjoy The Sunshine

Woman getting out of bed in sunny morning.
Image Credit: Depositphotos.com.

Go for a quick walk or enjoy your coffee on the balcony as soon as you wake up. Exposure to natural light recalibrates your circadian rhythm, making it easier to wake up early as a habit. Plus, you get to enjoy Vitamin D first thing in the morning, so you’ll feel refreshed and energized.

It Might Be Harder In Winter

Woman in bed hiding face in pillows as she doesn't want to get up yet.
Image Credit: Ilona-Kozhevnikova/Shutterstock.

One thing to keep in mind is that it can be more challenging to wake up earlier in the cold season. Naturally, our bodies require more rest, and the lack of sunlight (depending on your location) also causes fatigue. So try to be extra gentle with yourself if you’re trying to upgrade your sleeping habits during winter.

Remember That It Gets Easier With Time

practice self-compassion written on a paper note next to a cup of coffee.
Photo credit: Depositphotos

It takes time to implement any new habits. The hardest step is always the first one. Likewise, the first days or weeks might be the hardest to push yourself out of bed while it’s still early out.

But after a month, it should get easier until you’re waking up automatically without even an alarm clock. And if a month later it’s still challenging, don’t worry – the next tips are for you.

Maybe Waking Up Early Is Not For You

Sleepy Mom pouring coffee on table with head down while a surprised toddler looks on.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Some people are early birds, effortlessly waking up at the crack of dawn and running errands straightaway. Others are most efficient at 2 AM when the world goes quiet. If you’re part of the latter group and you’ve tried all the tricks in the book without success, it might simply be that it’s not in your nature to be optimal so early.

It’s okay to be a night owl and honor whatever sleep schedule feels most authentic and healthy to you. After all, your sleep schedule should work for you – not the other way around!

Consult A Doctor

woman lying in bed so tired.
Image Credit: Maridav/Shutterstock.

If you’ve tried all the previous tips and waking up earlier still feels like torture, there might be health-related reasons. Sometimes, your body just requires more sleep, or you might have other things going on, and discipline isn’t the solution.

In such cases, it’s good to check in with your healthcare practitioner, as they can best advise on next steps.

More Simple Habits to Start that Boost Well-being

happy woman waking up early in the morning.
Image Credit: Gladskikh-Tatiana/Shutterstock.

Author: S.K. Lumen

Title: Writer

Expertise: women's personal development, mental health, self love

S.K. Lumen is a writer, artist and blogger who is passionate about helping women become their best selves. She writes about personal development, self-love, self-care, wellness & mental health.