How to Wake Up Early and Get More Done

How to Wake Up Early

We have all heard of the advantages of getting up early. For one it allows us to have room to do more and squeeze extra activities into our daily routine. Several studies point to rising early can lead to success in one’s career, instills discipline, improve concentration and allows you to achieve higher levels of productivity. Even Benjamin Franklin as a testament to waking up early penned his famous words’ Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise’ in his book Early Rising: A Natural, Social and Religious Duty.

Not just Benjamin Franklin but a whole cast of successful individuals standby waking up early has helped them succeed in life. These include retired U.S. Army General Stanley McChrystal, Apple CEO Tim Cook and president of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios, Ed Catmull.

The key to being productive starts with energy and vitality in the morning.  So, if you want to know how to wake up earlier and are convinced of the benefits of waking up early you will first need to know something about sleep hygiene to make the process of waking up early as painless as possible. Sleep hygiene is basically your behaviors and patterns that lead up to you going to sleep.

Good sleep hygiene will allow you to fall asleep faster and enjoy a good night’s sleep.  This means you should have consistency in your bedtime and wake up time. A routine helps your body reduce stress, improve memory and put you in a better mood. In addition to consistency you will need to also make sure you slot enough hour for your sleep time. The Center for Disease Control advises an average adult will need 7 or more hours of sleep a night. If you don’t have a good night’s sleep, you’re going to be groggy, irritable, and not your best self in general.

Here are 10 steps for how to wake yourself up early.

How to Wake Up Early

Set Your Alarm

Waking up using an alarm clock is probably the most common way of getting up early, especially if you have to wake up at 5:00 am. This is a great start towards building an early daily routine. But in time you will need to build a routine that can help you get up without the need for an alarm.

Avoid the Snooze Button

You should be strong and resist the urge to hit the snooze button. Place your alarm clock further away from your bed to resist the temptation. Just get up and seize the day.

Make Your Bed

Navy SEAL Admiral McRaven once said, “If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed“.  Sounds overly simple but it tells your brain by simply making your bed you have accomplished one task already early in the day. This feeling will help set you up to be more focused and get motivated to tackle more tasks throughout the day. It also has the additional benefit of discouraging you from going back to bed.

Limit Your Screen Time

Limiting your screen use during bedtime can help you as well. Try to avoid those pesky e-mails, late-night shows or the internet for 30-60 minutes leading up to your bedtime. The backlight from these devices will provide a false perception that it is light outside and it is not time to sleep. Going immediately from your phone or laptop to bed will prevent you from falling asleep.

Have a Pre-Bedtime Ritual

A pre-bedtime routine can help your body to wind down.  They can help create a mindset for going to bed. You can either take a warm shower, meditate or read a book. You can also dim the lights and try to relax. This can help you set a relaxing bedtime routine. And always remember to use your bed for sleep not for work. It will help you relax and ready your body for some sleep.

Go to Bed Early

Waking up earlier can be counterproductive if you get only a few hours of sleep the night before. You will need to be consistent with your bedtime and wake time. If you are a night owl and go to bed late it will not only affect your productivity but your health as well. You should also avoid heavy meals and alcohol. Ideally, we should get something between seven to eight hours of sleep a night. You can count backward from when you need to wake up to find out when, exactly, you should go to sleep. It is important to have some good hours of sleep every day and stick to that routine.  This will make the chore of waking up earlier more bearable. Try to keep this routine for the weekends as well for good effect.

Open the Curtains

Sleeping with your curtains open is an old and effective way of waking up with daylight. The natural sunlight will help gently wake you up in the morning which is a better option than a loud and irritating alarm. This is because early morning is telling your biological clock to enter into light sleeping phase and thus prepare you for waking up. Natural morning light will also help keep your internal clock on a healthy sleep-wake cycle and bring some balance to your life.

Take a Cold Shower

Cold showers in the morning can give that extra push to get up and running. A 30 seconds cold shower as a morning routine can give you that extra nudge in the mornings. Coldwater will contract your blood vessels allowing blood to move closer to your organs to keep them warm. This increases the blood circulation in your body and makes you more energetic.

Get the Blood Pumping

A 10-15 minutes work out at the gym or at the home can be enough to help get your blood pumping but also lift your mood. This will prompt your brain to stay alert and also keep you healthy as well. Studies have shown exercise helps promote better sleeping habits, lower blood pressure and reduces stress.

Take Small Steps

You might be tempting to go cold turkey and commit to an earlier waking time from your routine. In some cases that could work however it might not always be the case. Resist the temptation to suddenly start getting up one hour or two hours before your normal routine. You can start with a modest goal of waking 15-30 minutes ahead of your regular wake up time and gradually build up to reach your goal. This helps your body to get adjusted to the new time with a manageable transition without struggling too much to adjust.

Take Your Morning Coffee

Let’s admit it coffee does help in making our early mornings slightly bearable. A healthy dose of caffeine can give you that extra spring in your step. Experts, however, do warn against taking your morning dose of caffeine right after you wake might be counterproductive. They say coffee will increase the amounts of cortisol; a hormone that can make you feel alert or anxious. Instead, they advise taking coffee during the mid-morning for good effect. Conversely, avoid drinking coffee late in the afternoons as it will disrupt your sleeping time.

Some of these tips on waking up earlier can be easier to include in your routine while others aren’t. The key is to build a sleep schedule that helps you reach your goal. The good thing about routines is they allow you to foster habits that match your goals and personal aspirations. With the right routines in place, you will have a more defined structure, clarify your priorities, embark on a healthy path and reach your full potential.

What are the Benefits of Early Rising?

There are 5 benefits of getting up earlier. Entrepreneurs use early rising to:

  • Get more done before meetings and interruptions eat up their day.
  • Be more creative while their minds are fresh.
  • Find time to stay in shape and exercise.
  • Maintain work-life balance by meditating, spending quality time with family, or other activities.
  • Get prepared for the day by looking over their calendars and reviewing goals.

How Do I Wake Up Early Without an Alarm?

The best way to wake up early without an alarm is to create a consistent routine in your daily life. You will need to go to sleep around the same time every night and train your body to wake up at your goal time. The key is for you to start getting in the habit of making a good night sleep a priority; otherwise, it will be counterproductive. Make sure you set a time early enough for you to get some good night’s sleep.

Why are Early Risers Successful?

Early risers are successful because they:

  • Start their day feeling in control.
  • Gain confidence by successfully accomplishing something right away.
  • Have more willpower earlier in the day, and are less likely to become distracted.


Samson Haileyesus Samson Haileyesus is a staff writer for Small Business Trends and has been a member of the team for 5 years. He has several years of progressive experience in media, communication and PR working with government, NGOs and private sector.