Waking up early doesn’t have to be a drag. For many of us, though, getting up in the morning is a challenge. We hear the alarm go off. We toss and grumble. We hit “snooze.” Then we hit snooze a few more times before we ultimately, begrudgingly, all-too-slowly crawl out of bed. This is our unfortunate morning routine.
Much as we try to put one into practice, a better morning routine can feel elusive. Luckily, there are a few simple tricks for waking up earlier every day. But recognize that a new routine won’t work unless you ease into it. Our bodies are programmed with an internal clock and if you try to jump from a regular 8 a.m. to a 5:30 a.m. wake-up time in a flash, it’s not gonna work. Your best best for success? Try waking up just 10 to 15 minutes earlier each day for a week.
Ahead, we share some tried-and-true strategies. Here’s to getting that morning routine just right.
Trick 1: Ease into your sleep
Focusing on a morning routine without considering your bedtime means you’re ignoring half the equation. Think about how you typically doze off. What does your evening routine look like?
Are you stuck scrolling mindlessly through your social feeds? That blue light emanating from your phone is only making it harder to fall asleep. Consider reading a book or drinking some caffeine-free tea before bed.
And, above all, be honest with yourself about how many hours of sleep you need. Set your new alarm time and count backwards from it to ensure you’re asleep when you need to be. To be safe, start winding down an extra half hour before your bedtime so you can ease into sleep.
Trick 2: Put your alarm clock out of reach
You’re not doing yourself any favors by putting your alarm on your phone. At least, not if you’re keeping your phone within arm’s reach from your bed. If you’re lucky enough to get past the endless snooze button phase in the morning, you face yet another challenge. We’re talking about those social media feeds you inevitably end up scrolling through.
Put your alarm clock (even if it is on your phone) somewhere in your room that will force you to physically get up to turn it off. Once you’re out of bed, make it a point to wash your face or shower right away to reset your mind.
Trick 3: Embrace natural light
Are you sleeping in a cave of darkness? It’s easier for your body to wake up when you’re surrounded by a ton of light sources. If you have windows, make sure to draw open the blinds before you go to bed. You’ll wake up earlier thanks to the light peeping through in the morning.
If, on the other hand, your bedroom lacks natural light, consider an alarm clock that slowly wakes you up by mimicking the sunrise. Your body is hardwired to respond to light sources even when it’s asleep.
Trick 4: Pay for gym classes ahead of time
Try to plan any workouts in advance. Lay your clothes out the night before and get everything you need for your sweat session in a bag ready by the door. Pick a class for a workout you enjoy and book it. Having already paid for the class serves as extra motivation.
Trick 5: Get excited about breakfast
The final trick is to treat yourself for your hard work. Remind yourself what you get from waking up earlier. Establishing a positive morning routine is about developing the habits that will lead you to success.
One easy way to treat yourself in the a.m.? A delicious breakfast. Plan what you’ll eat in the morning the night before and give yourself something small to look forward to. Sometimes, an egg sandwich is the motivation we really need.