How to Wake Up Early and Make It a Habit

How to Wake Up Early and Make It a Habit

Waking up early is a habit many want to form, but few can master. Early risers seem to have an edge over others; they feel healthier, get more done, and claim more control over their lives. Yet, pulling yourself out of bed when it’s cold and dark outside can be challenging.

This guide will walk you through the essential steps to wake up early and turn it into an effortless routine. You’ll learn strategies based on science and expert advice to set yourself up for mornings that energize you. With patience and commitment, the positive impacts of rising early will begin to compound over time.

The Struggle is Real, but the Rewards Are Life Changing

I used to view mornings as something to endure until I could return to bed. My mind felt foggy, my mood sullen. I’d drag myself out of the house cranky and tired. But I couldn’t figure out why so many successful people raved about the magic of waking up at dawn.

Over time, the more I read about early risers’ advantages, the more I realized my nights were likely the issue. I stayed up too late indulging in screens. I’d skip workouts and eat heavy meals right before bed. My sleep environment was more suited for vampires than humans. Once I understood how these habits hindered me, I became determined to optimize my evenings and wake up early feeling refreshed.

It took months of experimenting, but I can now pop out of bed before 6 a.m. feeling recharged. If I could transform from night owl to early bird, anyone can. By following the strategies below, you can also make early rising a sustainable habit.

Why You Should Wake Up Early

Waking up early delivers physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual benefits. These advantages make it worthwhile to make the required effort to reprogram your sleep habits.

Health Perks of Early Rising

Waking up early gives a boost to your physiological health. Researchers have found that early risers tend to have:

  • Lower body mass indexes and body fat percentages
  • Better cardiovascular health
  • Reduced risk of diabetes, obesity, and heart conditions
  • Enhanced immune function and hormonal balance

Early birds also have a reduced risk of depression. Sunlight first thing in the morning helps set circadian rhythms that regulate mood throughout the day.

Rise and Grind: Productivity Advantage

The quiet hours before others wake up present the ultimate environment for focusing on value-creating activities. Planning, exercising, learning, and meaningful work can all be distraction-free.

It’s no wonder that many leaders, inventors, writers, and other history-makers were known to rise before dawn. Some examples include:

  • Benjamin Franklin: Woke up at 4 a.m. to plan his day
  • Ernest Hemingway: Rose at first light to write\
  • Tim Cook: Up by 3:45 a.m. to beat the early morning email rush

Getting an advanced start on responsibilities without rushing promotes feelings of control over your life. This sets you up to accomplish more daily and pursue more significant goals.

Improved Wellbeing from Extra Time

Having a couple of hours to yourself in the morning lets you recharge your spirit through activities you genuinely enjoy. You can meditate, stretch, cook a leisurely breakfast, continue that novel, or soak up some sun with your coffee.

Starting your day according to your preferences rather than society’s schedule also reduces feelings of anxiety and burnout. You’ll have ample time for self-care, along with work and obligations. Overall, you’ll feel healthier and more fulfilled.

Assess Your Current Sleep Patterns

In order to shift to an earlier wake-up time, you first need to understand your current sleep habits. This includes your innate chronotype or internal clock.

Some quick ways to gauge your sleep patterns:

  • Use a tracking app: Apps like Sleep Cycle log details like sleep phases to show how you slumber.
  • Journal daily: Note times you get in and out of bed, feel drowsy, etc.
  • Analyze long-term patterns: Do you stay up late on weekends and struggle on Mondays? Take notice of trends over weeks and months.

From this assessment, you can spot potential roadblocks to an early rise time. For instance, times you:

  • Consume stimulating substances like caffeine, alcohol, or heavy foods late at night
  • Suffer from a sleep disorder like insomnia or apnea
  • Feel wide awake and struggle to wind down before bed

If you determine an underlying physical or mental health issue affects your sleep, consult your doctor. Certain medications or talk therapy could help in conjunction with lifestyle adjustments.

Set a Gradual and Realistic Goal

Radically shifting your wake-up time by hours overnight likely won’t stick. You’ll resent losing so much sleep and quickly revert. Instead, incrementally nudge your alarm clock 5-15 minutes earlier each week. Over two months, you can safely transition 1-2 hours earlier without painful shock to your system.

When choosing your ultimate goal time, be realistic about your schedule. Consider:

  • Commitments in the morning you can’t change like kids or long commute
  • Time you need to get ready without frustration, like showering
  • How far you want to shift from your natural tendencies
  • Incremental steps to reach the goal time

To help the new morning wake-up take hold, plan activities you’ll look forward to, like breakfasts you love, sunrise views, exercise, or inspirational reading. Be patient through the adjustment period. Remember the motivation driving this habit and how incredible you’ll feel once it sticks.

Optimize Your Sleep Environment

Set yourself up for sound slumber by creating an environment that signals rest. Studies confirm temperature, noise level, light levels, and comfort impact how you sleep.

Some easy ways to improve your sleep environment:

  • Lower thermostat to 60-67° F
  • Invest in blackout curtains and an eye mask
  • Add background white noise like a fan
  • Upgrade to comfortable, breathable bedding

Make sure your bedroom evokes relaxation rather than stress. Remove clutter and screens. Consider adding lavender, jasmine, or other calming scents. Your surroundings can either enable or interfere with quality sleep. The better you sleep, the easier early rising becomes.

Adjust Evening and Daytime Habits

Lifestyle habits significantly impact sleep, especially in the evenings and late afternoons. Optimize these areas of your routine for high performance all day.

At Night:

  • Avoid screens and digital devices that emit blue light that keeps you wired
  • Establish phone-free and TV-free buffer zones 2+ hours before bed
  • Take warm baths, which raise body temperature and then cause drowsiness when you cool down
  • Listen to calm music and practice gratitude journaling to ease anxiety

During the Day:

  • Get daylight early primarily through your eyes, to properly set your circadian rhythm
  • Exercise regularly but not soon before bed as it is stimulating
  • Eat dinners earlier, allowing time to digest before sleep
  • Nap 30 minutes or less to avoid interfering with nighttime sleep

With aligned daytime and evening habits, you’ll get sleepy earlier, sleep more profoundly, and wake energized.

Push Through the Initial Discomfort

As you transition to earlier rise times, waking up can feel jarring. You may feel tired, slow, and unmotivated until your body adjusts. Combat the inertia, dragging you back under the covers.

When morning grogginess strikes:

  • Splash your face with cold water to jolt your system
  • Consume caffeine early before its peak effects
  • Do light yoga and mobility exercises to get blood flowing
  • Play upbeat music and dance around
  • Remind yourself, “This too shall pass.”

Accept that the first two weeks make you a bit less functional. Account for lower performance initially when planning your days. Stay focused on the vision of how incredible you’ll feel in a new routine. The short-term sacrifice brings long-term transformation.

Track and Review Your Progress

Apps, journals, charts, accountability partners, and other tracking mechanisms ensure you stick to your new habit. Analyze what works well for you and what proves challenging. Experiment with wake-up times, pre-bed routines, alarm clocks, and more.

Periodically check if your original motivations still resonate. When you’ve secured early rising for two months straight, revisit your goals. Should you set an even earlier rise time? Staying data-driven and reflective prevents stagnating. You can constantly evolve and refine your mornings.

Case Study: From Night Owl to Early Bird

To show how life-changing establishing an early-rise routine can be, let’s walk through a case study:

Karen was a classic night owl. She struggled to fall asleep before midnight as she decompressed from busy days watching TV. She’d then sleep through multiple loud alarms, arriving to work groggy and stressed.

Recognizing this cycle drained her energy, Karen set a goal to wake up gradually gradually5 a.m. She started tracking her habits and soon saw how late meals, long commutes, and lack of exercise hurt her sleep.

Over a month, Karen optimized these areas and tweaked her wake-up time to fifteen-minute increments. To motivate herself, she planned relaxing mornings with breakfast on the patio. Though rocky at first, her body adapted surprisingly fast.

Instead of panicking, Karin panicked up before her pleasant alarm, feeling repressed. She journalizes, prepares healthy meals, and works on personal projects with focus. Even her job performance improved thanks to consistent sharpness. Waking up early has infused Karen with a long-lost sense of control and peace.

Key Takeaways

  • Recognize the exponential benefits of rising early and use them as motivation.
  • Gradually adjust in realistic increments vs drastic change
  • Optimize sleep environment and habits supporting high-quality sleep
  • Push through the discomfort period while your body aligns
  • Continuously track and refine your approach


Getting out of bed at dawn feels next to impossible until one day, it simply doesn’t. By incrementally nudging your wake-up earlier, effects compound over weeks. Optimizing various lifestyle domains prepares you for sound sleep and smooth waking transitions. Approach early rising as a campaign rather than an instant fix. Arm yourself with knowledge of biology and tested tactics. Maintain discipline pushing through the initial discomfort period.

If you stick with it, soon you’ll be popping out of bed motivated, rested, and ready to seize the day. Your future self will thank you for putting in the hard work now. Commit and remain patient to become an early riser. The rewards last a lifetime.