How To Wake Up Early: 5 Tips That Actually Work

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Last updated on October 19th, 2019 at 01:14 pm

Let’s talk about how to wake up early, without feeling tired. Sounds like magic and it could be so simple…

“Seriously, all you have to do is go to bed earlier.”

Me, going to bed at 9pm. Starring Ray Romano. (gif source)

Right?…..Wrong! So wrong! It’s not easy to tell anyone, including yourself, to go to bed ridiculously early. Especially when you’re still super awake and excited and want to watch another episode on Netflix. Becoming an early riser doesn’t work that way. Not that simple.

Why It’s So Hard To Wake Up Early

I remember my grandparents woke up at 5 am, no problem. They didn’t whine about it, they didn’t run around telling everyone, they didn’t make blog posts about it (I’m sure they would’ve been proud of me) and they didn’t even drink coffee. You know what they did? They were feeding their chickens, preparing their goats, making breakfast… and then they had to do other things in the garden that I don’t even know how to describe because over the years I’ve become a whiny child of the city.

Today it’s a different story. It’s a completely different world. We don’t have a lot of physical work during the day, our alarm clocks aren’t roosters, and we watch TV on our phones before we go to sleep. Even though experts and non-experts tell us we shouldn’t. Why do we do it? Because we can. And we don’t believe in consequences.

Waking Up Early And Finding More Time

Many people think that when they wake up at 5 am they’ll miraculously have more time. That’s not true. You will have the same amount of hours as all of us. What you will have is more time for yourself when you’re actually fresh. Not when you’re already done with the day. You could, of course, do everything you have and want to do for yourself in the evening, but it’s easier to say no to your desires and to just sit and watch TV.

When you start the day with some time for you, you feel better for the rest of the day. You accomplish things you might have been putting off for a while now.

Waking Up Early Benefits

  • you’ll find time to actually take care of yourself physically and mentally
  • the morning is a great time to start new healthy habits
  • doing things in the morning makes it easier to keep the promises you always make to yourself
  • less stress, because nobody’s up
  • better sleep, actually
  • enough time to work out, to be by yourself, to enjoy life in quiet for a second.

From my experience, I feel more accomplished and more at peace when I wake up earlier. Even if I’m a little tired, I decide to go and make the best of my morning. Then, within minutes, something that seemed impossible happens. I actually wake up, feel fresh and alert and move on with the rest of my day. Here are 5 tips to help you wake up early in the morning without feeling tired for the rest of the day.

How To Wake Up Early And Not Feel Tired

1. Figure Out What Time You Want To Get Up

Make sure the time you want to wake up makes sense for you. Somehow everyone’s bragging about getting up at 5 am these days. To me these days, that’s too early and it doesn’t make sense for my schedule. Especially during winter. It’s cold, it’s dark and I don’t really have to do anything at 5 am. I’m not a baker or a rooster.

Summer is a different story. The sun comes out earlier, so I might as well get up at 5 am to watch the sunrise. But most of the time I like to wake up at 6 am. That gives me enough time to actually do the things I really want to do for myself in that first 1 hour, so I can focus on other things during the day.

I can go to bed at 10:30 pm and sleep. In the morning I still have time to do my workout, my walk, to actually get dressed and put on some makeup, even though I don’t need it. (<- full of positivity today)

The Importance of Having a Plan For The Morning

I have a confession: I also fell for the: “successful people wake up at 5 am, I have to do it too”-thing a while ago. Then I decided I have to start reading, writing, gratitude journaling, goal journaling – all kinds of journaling and reading.

I knew these were important things to do, but they did not make sense for me to do in the morning. They weren’t exciting, or creative, I wasn’t finishing anything I felt I wouldn’t do in the evening. That morning routine was time-consuming and not worth waking up at 5 pm.

Then came 9 am, the time I actually wanted to be working. I was already so TIRED, that I needed sleep, but opted for a coffee. It was a “strong” milky coffee called latte. Coffee didn’t help. I was working from home at that point, so I went straight to bed at 9 am after having coffee.

I am not saying don’t wake up at 5 am or don’t do journaling in the morning. What I’m saying is: be very honest with yourself. What do you want to do in the morning? Why do you want to wake up early? Decide what time makes sense and what your priorities are, so you can stay awake and feel accomplished.

Keep your morning routine short and sweet and be clear about why you’re up at this inhumane hour. Is it to learn something new? To improve your fitness? To start your own small business on the side? Be intentional about everything you do and have a plan for that first hour. Otherwise, you will not want to wake up early the next day.

2. Start The Night Before And Keep Your Promise

Before you go to bed, look at the time and set your alarm to go off in 6-7.5 hours. When the time comes, wake up no matter how tired you think you’ll feel. Don’t hit snooze, just go. Otherwise, you’ll end up even more tired.

It’s like this. One sleep cycle is on average 90 min. The average person needs 7.5 hours of sleep, which is 5 cycles/day. To feel really rested you need to complete each sleep cycle.

Complete is the keyword here. If you interrupt a sleep cycle, for example with your alarm, you need to start over and complete the full 90 minutes to feel fresh and alert. It’s like a video game – you mess up and then you have to start all over again.

So if you hit snooze, you’re starting a new sleep cycle without completing it. Two things happen: you’re wasting time and you end up more tired.

FYI: We can get away with 6 hours – that’s the minimum. True, 7.5h of sleep is the best choice for most people, but when you’re trying to change and to wake up earlier – 6 hours of sleep for a while is the second-best choice and it will ensure you don’t feel tired.

3. Do It Every Day For A Week

The first night I decided to wake up early, I went to bed at midnight and wanted to wake up at 6 am. That’s complete 4 sleep cycles, so it was okay.

I did this for one week straight and on the weekend I wanted to wake up later, so I didn’t even set an alarm. That Saturday morning I woke up at 6:02 am. Rested. Sunday, same thing.

Your body will adjust and will set your own alarm if you give it at least a week. What’s important here is to wake up at the same time every single day. Not one day at 6 am, the other at 5 am and then the next one at 7 am. Choose a time and stick with it.

I also naturally started feeling tired in the evening and was going to bed earlier. That was one of the things I struggled with the most.

4. Do The Things That Wake You Up

To me, the things that keep me awake and improve my entire day are:

  • drinking water first thing when I wake up
  • doing a 10-15 minute workout,
  • taking a shower
  • going out for a walk. (takes me about 20min)

I do the walk as a kind of meditation when I truly relax and figure out what I want to do today, just to have some positive thoughts. And I do it by myself in a park or at the beach – somewhere where I’m closer to nature. I get so many new and fresh ideas when I do that, it’s amazing. It’s probably my favorite part of the day. It’s the time when I can truly listen to myself and come up with things that aren’t out there yet.

What I don’t like to do, what makes me really sleepy is starting my day with writing or reading, as I mentioned before. This requires some mental focus that I don’t have at the moment. To me, reading is the most sleep-inducing thing in the world, so I usually do it in the evening.

In the morning I feel like I really need to wake up the body first to be able to wake up my brain as well. When I welcome the day in this way, I’m just ready for it. I have a feeling of accomplishment already and I can’t help, but want to keep going and doing stuff that matters to me.

So what is it for you? What would make you wake up quickly? Maybe it’s washing your face right after you wake up, maybe drinking some lemon water, maybe doing some jumping jacks (best morning exercise ever!) or listening to the music you love. It doesn’t need to be anything that takes too long or is fancy.

Just get into action right away and you’ll feel more awake. If I have to choose one, personally, exercise is the thing that wakes me up the most.

Related Articles:

  • 7 Quick Morning Yoga Routines For Every Day Of The Week
  • Top 15 Free Morning Workout Videos To Feel Good For The Rest Of The Day

5. Do Something You’re Excited About

Something that makes you look forward to your mornings. Like a small reward. For me sometimes that’s getting a cappuccino, going on my morning walk, this summer it was going to the beach to watch the sunrise and to swim after my workout. The beach was empty, the sun was just out and the water was clear, it was divine.

For you it might be finishing a small project that you’re very excited about, going to a very early class at the gym, seeing the usually crowded city streets totally empty, maybe it’s feeding the ducks in the park. There are so many things you can do in the morning, you just need to decide what’s exciting for you and what you want to do more of.

Bonus tips for waking up earlier:

  • Don’t eat late or overeat
  • Eat healthier and lighter meals
  • Avoid alcohol and cigarettes
  • Use the bathroom before you go to bed
  • Don’t drink caffeine in the afternoon

These were my tips for getting up early without feeling tired, so you can achieve the things you actually want. I hope you learned something new and helpful and if you have tips as well – share them in the comments below!

READ NEXT: 6 Healthy Habits That Actually Changed My Life

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