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Waking up is hard to do. But it's possible even for the most stubborn night owls.
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The sweet embrace of sleep: It's like a warm, cozy cocoon that wraps around you, promising moments of respite and relaxation.


For many of us — myself included — the allure of sleeping in is nearly irresistible, especially when morning brings with it the reality (read: stress) of daily life.

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But research consistently highlights the benefits of rising with the sun.

According to an August 2019 study in ‌Sleep Medicine‌, early risers tend to have better mental health, increased productivity earlier in the day and improved overall wellbeing.

With this in mind, I embarked on a mission to transform my morning routine and bid farewell to the stress that came with rushing into the day. Here's what I changed about my mornings:

1. Give Yourself a Really Good Reason

After several futile attempts to convert to a morning person, I realized the most important factor was having a really good reason to wake up early — one that could provide almost immediate benefit.


Previously, I'd set my reason as, "I'll get my workout out of the way." But because of my flexible work schedule (and my extreme dislike of morning workouts that persists to this day), I always had the option of working out later in the day, which gave me an excuse to grab some more zzzs.

Ultimately, the reason was giving myself time before the chaos that followed my kids waking up. Waking up even 30 minutes earlier gave me the chance to find the calm and focus I desperately needed to be a more patient mom and less-stressed individual overall.


So what is it that you really want out of your morning? If you hate running, don't say you'll get up to run (at least not while you're first making the transition). What's something you enjoy that you just don't find enough time for during the day? Start there.

2. Wake Up Gently

We're surrounded by so much high-tech sleep gear that it was a no-brainer to outsource some of my morning motivation to technology.



I found a few apps and devices designed to ease the transition from sleep to wakefulness. One such gem was the Yoga Wake Up app, which gently rouses you from slumber with a soothing yoga practice or meditation session.

Additionally, the Hatch Restore served as a personal sunrise simulator, mimicking the natural rise of the sun to wake me up gradually and peacefully.


3. Chug, Chug, Chug!

A trusted way to beat early-morning sluggishness is a cup of something caffeinated. Personally, I relied on Club EarlyBird's energizing drink to kickstart my day.

Initially, it was the slightly tart taste that perked me up. Then, after I was awake, it was the caffeine that prevented me from dozing and kept me more alert (these effects are backed by a January 2015 review in ‌‌Current Neuropharmacology)‌‌.


If you're gearing up for a workout, a pre-workout supplement can also provide that much-needed boost.

And when all else fails, there's nothing wrong with sipping on plain old H2O. After all, your body needs it after a night of no water.

4. Rise and Shine — and No Turning Back

The pivotal moment? Dragging myself out of bed. The key here is to resist the temptation to crawl back under the covers. Once your feet touch the ground, there's a sense of accomplishment that makes it easier to commit to the morning routine.


Need to thwart your natural inclination for the snooze button? Try Mel Robbins' 5-Second Rule: Count down from 5, then immediately act once you reach 1.

5. Do the Thing That Got You Up

Remember that reason you found to get out of bed early? Now is the time to embrace it. For me, it was about taking quiet time that was just for me — free of kids, work and other responsibilities.


I could start my mornings however I wanted! And I found some guidance in Hal Elrod's Miracle Morning book. He created the SAVERS method, which is:

I don't follow this exactly every single morning, but I do make sure I enjoy the silence, meditate, stretch and usually read.

What's the thing that you enjoy or that will set a productive tone for the day? Tackling small tasks, enjoying a quiet breakfast or perhaps indulging in a chapter of a book — all these activities can help solidify your motivation to keep the momentum going throughout the day.

6. Ease Into Working Out

If the thought of a vigorous morning exercise routine sends you right back under the covers (like me!), start simple. I began with gentle stretches in my living room and a short 10-minute walk.

The idea is to gradually build up the momentum and work your way toward more intense workouts like yoga sessions or 30-minute runs (if that's your goal). I still don't like morning workouts, so I save those for later and focus on gentle movement in the morning, instead.

This is a concept many trainers suggest for people starting to exercise: Don't go all-out right away. You can end up burning out early and quitting. Stepping things up gradually tends to be better for consistency in the long run.

The Bottom Line

My journey from snoozing my alarm to enjoying quiet, early mornings has been transformative.

Finding a good reason, using technology to my advantage, sipping on an energizing drink and easing into a routine were all pieces of the puzzle that contributed to more peaceful and stress-free starts to my day.

If I can make the shift, so can you — and trust me, the way it makes you feel is worth it.




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