9 Tips To Wake Up Early & Why It Feels So Good

Do you want to learn how to wake up early? Some people are early birds and others are night owls. For me, I go both ways. Sometimes I am good at going to bed early and then wake up early in the morning. Then I go through phases when I stay up late, really late,…

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Last Updated: August 12, 2023

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Do you want to learn how to wake up early?

Some people are early birds and others are night owls. For me, I go both ways. Sometimes I am good at going to bed early and then wake up early in the morning.

Then I go through phases when I stay up late, really late, and then wake up late in the day.

Some of the early birds I know may laugh at this because I know many who wake up at 4 a.m., and I’m definitely not one of those people. 

You don’t have to wake up at 4 a.m. to be an early bird, unless you really want to. I’m just talking about how to wake up early in the morning, maybe just an hour or two, instead of waking up in a rush for work or regularly sleeping in until the afternoon.

Now, some of you may think I’m crazy for suggesting that you even think about waking up earlier in the day.

I used to always be a night owl and absolutely did not like waking up early, so I completely understand.

Okay, I am usually a night owl and wake up later in the day than I want, but I have been focusing on learning how to wake up early. 

The reason for this is because I find that when I sleep until late in the morning, I feel like I don’t have as much time to do things during the day. I end up regretting staying up late and waking up late. While this may not be true for everyone, and I know plenty of people who thrive during the night hours, I just know that doesn’t work well for me.

Now, I’m not trying to wake up at an extremely early time, but I do know many who willingly wake up at 5 am, 6 am, and even earlier, and absolutely enjoy it. They use this time to go for a run, read a book, meditate, side hustle, and more.

When I had a day job, mornings were the absolute worst. I would wake up right before work and head out the door. Or, I would sleepily type away at my computer trying to get my side hustles done. Side hustling in the morning was something that I enjoyed, but I still had a very rushed morning.

On top of having rushed mornings, I didn’t have a good sleep schedule either. I would go to sleep very late and never had a bedtime. I would try to catch up on sleep during the weekends, which as you’ll read below, is just a huge mistake.

By going to sleep earlier and waking up earlier, I’m sure I would have had more enjoyable mornings. At the very least, I may have felt a little better.

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I now know that there are many great benefits of waking up early.

Of course, different things work for different people. However, if what you’re doing doesn’t seem to be working for you or if you feel like you don’t have enough time for things, then you may want to learn how to wake up early in the day.

As I’m telling you all this, I know the look the night owls are giving me. It’s the “you’re absolutely CRAZY” look.

Trust me, I still give that look to my friends who are waking up before the sun rises. 

However, I understand the benefits of waking up early and how it can completely change your day.

So, why might you want to wake up earlier?


You’ll get to enjoy more daylight hours.

One big benefit for me of waking up earlier is having more daylight hours to enjoy. Whereas when I stay up hours past midnight and then can’t wake up until later in the morning, I get less daylight hours. I feel so much better when I have more time to spend in the sunlight.

By waking up earlier, you can get more time in the sun, do more outdoors activities, and so on. And, there is nothing better than that early morning sun coming through your windows.

However, if you wake up at noon, there’s a chance that you may only get five or six hours of sunlight to enjoy.

And, if you wake up right before you go to work, then go to work inside all day, you may not even get to enjoy the sun outside at all. You will have to wait until your day off to enjoy the sun, and that might not be for several days. This is especially true in the winter time, when it might be dark before you leave work.

This is one of the things I dislike the most about staying up late and waking up later in the day. It always seems like the day is over before it even begins.

Like I said, learning how to get up early means you will probably have more time to enjoy the daylight. Perhaps you could go on a morning walk, take a short hike, read outside for a bit, or more!


You won’t feel as rushed throughout the day.

When you wake up late in the day or right before you need to be somewhere, you may often feel rushed to get things done. This can lead to skipping breakfast, feeling grumpy, hurrying out the door and forgetting something, and more.

That rushed feeling is one of the worst, and it can negatively impact the rest of your day. 

By learning how to wake up early if you sleep late, you won’t feel rushed and can actually have a refreshing start to your day. And, you’ll have time to do things before you start the rest of your day.

With just one extra hour in the morning, here are a few things you may be able to fit in:

  • Make a healthy breakfast.
  • Work on your side hustle.
  • Prepare your lunch for when you’re at work.
  • Workout.
  • Read a book.
  • Spend a little extra time with your partner or kids.

When I had my day job, I usually woke up early so I could spend some time working on my side jobs before I went to work. An extra hour in the morning each week helped me a ton and allowed me to make extra money.


You may sleep better.

Those who wake up early tend to have established sleep schedules. Those who are night owls tend to just go to sleep at more random times and wake up randomly as well.

While different things work for different people, having a regular sleep schedule tends to improve the quality of your sleep.

In fact, a study by the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism found that participants who didn’t have a set sleep routine tended to have poor cholesterol levels, higher body mass index, and larger waist circumference.


You can’t “bank” sleep or catch up on it.

This is one myth that always fooled me. I thought you could “bank” sleep or at least catch up on it. I thought that sleeping in on the weekends would let me make up for the fact that I didn’t get enough sleep earlier in the week. 

However, that’s not true.

Sleeping in on the weekends also made the weekends feel like they went by so much faster, and that wasn’t good either. I was in no rush to get back to my day job on Monday mornings – I wanted to enjoy my time off work.

While you may feel a little more rested the next morning, you will never feel 100% because you can’t catch up on sleep.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, Snoozing more on weekends isn’t really the solution. Here are some of the consequences they cite:

The potential short-term, negative effects include a foggy brain, impaired driving, difficulty remembering things, and reduced vision, while potential long-term ramifications include heart disease, obesity, and insulin resistance. Though you may feel more rested on Monday morning, that extra shut-eye doesn’t erase all of the drawbacks from not catching enough zzz’s during the week. While extra weekend sleep does help reduce daytime sleepiness and stress, your ability to focus and pay attention will still be reduced. It can also throw off your internal body clock (also known as your circadian rhythm) and lead to Sunday night insomnia. However, you can eventually bounce back once you’ve adapted to a steady schedule that gets you enough winks.

As you’ve read, having a sleep schedule is very important. While occasionally sleeping in won’t kill you, it’s not something you should depend on – because sleep just doesn’t work that way.


Learn how to wake up early: 9 tips for waking up earlier

Now that you’re aware of the great benefits of waking up early, you are probably interested in learning how to wake up early.

Here are my tips so that you can become an early riser:


1. Figure out why you can’t wake up earlier.

If you’re wondering “Why can’t I wake up early?,” then the first thing you’ll want to do is to dive deeper into this. I know many people will feel like they can’t wake up earlier, and that they are just too tired to wake up any earlier than they normally do.

I know this because this is how I used to feel!

Figuring out why you have trouble waking up earlier will help you to realize what you need to work on.

Are you going to bed late? Are you not sleeping well because of stress? Is there a medical issue that is preventing you from getting a good night’s sleep?


2. Set an alarm.

To learn how to wake up early, then you’ll most likely want to set an alarm. There are different kinds of alarms that help different kinds of people.

Here are several kinds of alarms:

  • A normal alarm clock – I’m talking about a traditional alarm clock that beeps.
  • An alarm clock that plays music.
  • A sunrise alarm clock – I have heard of many people getting a sunrise alarm clock and how much they love them. Sunrise alarm clocks mimic the sun coming up and give you a more natural feeling of waking up, instead of something like a loud beeping sound.

Some people may have special powers in which they can wake up early without an alarm clock, but that’s most likely not possible for the average person. Setting an alarm clock is usually the best way to learn how to wake up early for school, work, to get more daylight hours, etc.


3. Go to sleep earlier.

Can a night owl become a morning person?


One of the first things you’ll want to do is simply to go to sleep earlier.

Going to sleep earlier than normal will probably be the hardest thing to do when you start because your body is used to being awake until a certain time at night. However, it’s not impossible. 

If I need to get up early but am afraid I’ll have a hard time going to bed, I will read in bed for a bit or go for a late night run. Both help me fall asleep faster!


4. Open your curtains before you go to bed.

If you want to learn how to wake up early without an alarm, then I recommend opening up your curtains before you go to bed. You could even reposition your bed so the sun hits you when it comes up.

By opening your curtains at night, you’ll almost be forced to wake up as the sun comes up. 

If it’s pitch black in your bedroom, it’ll be much more difficult to wake up (especially if you don’t have an alarm) because your body will still think it’s still time to sleep.


5. Set a curfew for electronics. 

This might sound like something for kids, but stepping away from things like your phone, tablet, and TV can help you fall asleep. 

Some studies even suggest that electronics make it more difficult for you to get to sleep because they suppress melatonin (the hormone that helps you sleep), they keep your brain alert in times of rest, and they can actually wake you up.


6. Wake up with a cold shower.

If you want to know how to wake up early and not feel tired, then I highly recommend starting your day with a cold shower.

A cold shower first thing in the morning can help you quickly wake up early, and in fact, cold showers are what I have been enjoying a lot lately. I find them refreshing, and it feels really good when it’s scorching hot outside.

That cold water immediately wakes me up!


7. Don’t hit the snooze button.

Many people hit the snooze button over and over again in the morning.

Sleeping for those few extra minutes after your alarm goes off isn’t going to change your life. And, there are many scientific studies proving that hitting the snooze button does nothing good for you.

Still, I know many people who set their alarms to go off anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour before they actually want to wake up. While they think it will help them get up early, they never do. Or, they think that this will make it easier for them to start their day, but that doesn’t work either.

I’m not going to lie. When I was going to college and wanted to learn how to wake up early in the morning and study, I set my alarm much earlier than I needed to, but I just kept hitting snooze. It definitely did not work, as I always felt extremely groggy and sometimes even more tired! That made it even harder to study in the morning.

Instead, you should wake up when your alarm first goes off so you can use those valuable minutes towards something else, such as making a better breakfast or working on your side hustle.


8. Slowly start to wake up earlier.

Do you want to learn how to wake up at 5am? Here’s something that might surprise you, you should ease into it.

This is the case no matter how much earlier you want to start waking up in the morning. Start out by just waking up 10 or 30 minutes earlier than usual. You can slowly wake up earlier and earlier until you are waking up at the time you desire. Sure, waking up five hours earlier on day 1 is possible and may shock you into waking up earlier, but it can be more difficult over time.

Some may be able to shock themselves into waking up earlier, for example, by going from waking up at 8 am to waking up at 5 am. However, this may not work for the average person.

Instead, try pushing your alarm earlier by 15-30 minutes every few days.


9. Move your alarm across the room. 

By having your alarm out of reach, it won’t be as easy to hit snooze and continue sleeping. Instead, you’ll have to get out of bed to stop the noise! 

If you have difficulty waking up early and are wondering “Why can’t I wake up early?”, then I hope today’s article was helpful for you.

Do you know how to wake up early? Are you an early bird or a night owl?

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Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Author: Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Hey! I’m Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and I am the founder of Making Sense of Cents. I’m passionate about all things personal finance, side hustles, making extra money, and online businesses. I have been featured in major publications such as Forbes, CNBC, Time, and Business Insider. Learn more here.

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