7 Strategies for Waking Up Early

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated May 2, 2022 | Published April 20, 2021

Updated May 2, 2022

Published April 20, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Starting your morning right can help set you up for a successful day and make the most of the hours you have available. Rising early can benefit you personally as well as professionally, so it may be worth considering this daily practice. In this article, we discuss the importance of waking up early, the benefits of getting an early start to the day and strategies to become an early riser.

11 tips for waking up early

Here are some strategies to help you start your day earlier:

1. Establish your goals

Begin by deciding what you'd like to accomplish by waking up early. You might set a specific objective for your extra morning time such as making breakfast or completing a workout. You might also set goals that relate directly to waking up, such as only hitting “snooze” on your alarm a set number of times. Knowing your goals in waking early can help motivate and inspire you when those early morning hours arrive.

Related: SMART Goals: Definition and Examples

2. Make a plan

Next, make a plan for accomplishing the goals you've set for your mornings. Try to decide on specific steps that you can follow to help support your plans as an early riser. For example, if your goal is to wake up early for a workout, you might set your exercise clothes out the night before to ease your morning routine. Thinking ahead might make you more likely to wake up early consistently and achieve your objectives.

3. Adjust habits gradually

You may wish to include an incremental adjustment to your wake-up time in your plan for reaching your morning goals. This can help you acclimate to your new habits more gradually, which might be more comfortable for some. Try setting your alarm 10 or 15 minutes earlier each day until you reach your intended time.

4. Establish a bedtime routine

Training your body to fall asleep earlier may help you rise earlier each morning. Most adults should aim to get between seven and nine hours of sleep each night. Consider “unplugging” from smartphones and devices at least 30 before bed for a better night’s sleep and turning off silencing your phone. Notifications can wake you in the middle of the night and disrupt your sleep cycle. 

5. Watch what you eat or drink

Eating the wrong foods late in the evening may cause health issues such as acid reflux and raised blood sugar levels, making for a restless night. Large amounts of caffeine, alcohol and sugary drinks can make it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep. Consider ditching snacks, high-carb foods, sodas, alcohol and coffee late at night. 

 6. Implement a routine

Try to leverage your morning plan into a routine. Following the same pattern each morning might help make it easier to get up early in the morning because you'll know what to expect in the early morning time. Remember that you can always adjust your routine to meet your needs if it is useful to do so.

7. Reward yourself

Try motivating yourself to follow your new routine with a special incentive. For instance, you might have a particular type of coffee you only drink when you wake up early. You might also motivate yourself to get to bed earlier, which may help you wake up earlier, by rewarding yourself with a chapter of your favorite book or another enjoyable restful activity.

8. Be consistent

When you are practicing your new routine and waking up early, try to keep your habits consistent. This may mean waking up at the same time on weekends as you do on weekdays. Doing so might help keep your mind and body in the habit of waking up early, which might make it easier to continue reaching your morning goals.

9. Take a quick nap

While adults do best with seven to eight hours of sleep, it’s not always possible. If you are waking up earlier without going to bed earlier, you may wake up sleep-deprived. Sleep professionals call it a "sleep debt" and it must be repaid for your body to function well. You might consider squeezing in a nap, even a 10-minute one, during your lunchtime or afternoon break. 

10. Reflect and adjust

Periodically reflect on your morning routine. Decide whether your current wake-up time and morning habits are still serving you well. Review your original goals and measure your outcomes if possible. For example, you might notice how many days each week you snooze your alarm only once, how often you eat breakfast and how frequently you work out in the mornings. Remember to make adjustments accordingly to help you reach your early morning personal and career goals.

11. Seek professional help

If you’ve tried all the steps but are still struggling to wake up at your chosen earlier time, you may seek help from a sleep specialist. There may be other factors impairing your sleep routines such as sleep apnea, acid reflux, impairment or other issues. 

Benefits of waking up early

Here are some potential benefits of waking up early:

Increased productivity

Waking up early may help you accomplish more in a day thanks to increased energy and more available hours. This may be a result of increased motivation associated with your early start. This may be especially true when people use their early morning hours to reflect and consider the day ahead.

Related: How To Be More Productive

Enhanced outlook

Starting your days earlier may be associated with traits like positivity and optimism. Early risers may also enjoy greater stability and overall better mood patterns through personal activities such as self-care. This can be an important part of achieving balance and well-being for many people, especially those with busy schedules and many interactions throughout the day.

Related: How To Stay Positive at Work (Q&A)

Better sleep

Going to bed and getting up earlier may result in better sleep overall. This may have to do with the benefit of a predictable sleep routine and may be particularly true if a person's sleep patterns naturally align with an early alarm.

Time for breakfast

Many people find that they have a more enjoyable day when they eat breakfast in the morning. Eating breakfast may be connected to positive physical effects as well. If you are a person who could benefit from eating a morning meal, getting up early can be a good opportunity to do so before your other responsibilities begin.

Opportunity for exercise

If you want to exercise and aren’t sure you can fit in a workout, consider using mornings for this activity. Some people may even notice benefits such as increased energy if they exercise in the morning, depending on their situation.

Related: 25 Steps To Become a Morning Person

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