8 Tips for Waking Up Early & Conquering the Alarm Clock

From Jeff: This is a guest post by Loren Pinilis. Loren operates Life of a Steward, a site about time management from a Christian perspective. You can subscribe to his blog or follow Loren on Twitter.

Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.
—Benjamin Franklin


8 Tips for Waking Up Early & Conquering the Alarm Clock

For years, I wanted to wake up early. It seems almost all successful people get going before sunrise, and I wanted to be one of them. But when my morning alarm would go off, all the good intentions in the world couldn’t pull me out of bed.

I understood the benefits of waking up early. I made plans to wake up early and write, just like the recent challenge in the 15 Habits series. But that discipline was gone in the morning.

The groggy person hitting the snooze button wasn’t the same clear-thinking person that had set the alarm the night before.

When I realized waking up early is a battle fought on two fronts, everything changed We must prepare our bodies, but we must also trick our sleepy minds.

Here are eight tips to help you win the fight and wake up early:

  1. Take the first steps
  2. Cultivate a mental environment
  3. Develop a “get to” attitude
  4. Create some accountability
  5. Sleep well
  6. Never snooze
  7. Stick to your wake time
  8. Build momentum

1. Take the first steps

The toughest part of the morning is simply getting out of bed. An alarm across the room is an old trick, but I don’t want to wake up my wife in the process. So I have my iPhone next to my bed with a soft alarm that I can turn off quickly.

To keep myself from falling back asleep in the morning brain-fog, I have another alarm across the room set for a few minutes later.

It’s extremely loud and will jolt my wife awake if I don’t walk across the room and turn it off first. Even my foggy mind understands that, and the fear of a startled and cranky wife drives me to take those first few steps out of bed.

2. Cultivate a mental environment

Here are a few ideas to wake your brain up (and keep it alert all day long):

  • Listen to podcasts related to waking up early.
  • Read about people who were early risers.
  • Remind yourself about the importance of writing every day.

Fill in the cracks of your day with inspiration on how and why to wake up early.

You can rationalize a lot when your alarm goes off. But if you’ve immersed yourself in this environment, even your hazy morning mind will feel compelled to wake up.

3. Develop a “get to” attitude

Get excited about your day, and you’ll jump out of bed. Don’t drive yourself with guilt about why you have to wake early. Make waking early something you get to do.

Of course, the joy of creating can drive you. But don’t be afraid to motivate yourself by doing something fun in the morning. Play games or indulge in leisure reading.

Better yet, think of the benefits that others will receive from your work. You can also keep track of your progress and reward yourself when you reach a milestone.

4. Create some accountability

Recruit a friend to hold your feet to the fire. You can have weekly meetings or even call or text each other when you wake up.

There are great online groups — such as the fellow artists here on this community, the upcoming Tribe Writers community, or groups such as the Hello Mornings Challenge for mothers on Facebook and Twitter.

5. Sleep well

The struggle isn’t all mental. There’s a strong physical component and the amount — as well as the quality — of sleep you get is the most important factor.

Although it’s obvious, make sure you go to bed at a reasonable time if you want to wake up early. Also, pay attention to your diet and exercise. General physical fitness greatly impacts your sleep habits and energy levels.

6. Never snooze

Hitting your alarm’s snooze button doesn’t give you more of the restful REM sleep. Your body and mind aren’t recuperating youíre just wasting time.

Personally, I noticed that regularly hitting snooze made my thinking even cloudier when the alarm went off. Your mind starts to ignore the alarm bells.

7. Stick to your wake time

Wake up at the same time every day.

Your body becomes conditioned to this and regulates your sleep patterns accordingly. You get more of that precious REM sleep and when you have a regular wake time, your body actually begins the process of waking up long before your alarm sounds.

8. Build momentum

After you wake up early, the challenge is to stay up. Maybe you’ll love to relax and sip your coffee. But for me, getting too comfortable is dangerous.

I used to start my mornings by reading the Bible and praying. It was a fight to keep my eyes open. Now, the first thing I do is exercise. My heart gets racing, and afterwards I can give what matters most my best focus and attention.

Move through your routine quickly:

  • Have the coffee ready.
  • Set out your exercise clothes.
  • Keep a vigorous pace and you won’t feel as drowsy.

When I depended on discipline and willpower alone, I had limited success waking up early. But I’m mastering my mornings now — all due to a few simple tricks. I hope they help you, too.

Free Download: Want a free video with additional tips to help establish your early morning habit? Click here to watch the video.

What are some tips that have helped you wake up early? Share in the comments.

244 thoughts on “8 Tips for Waking Up Early & Conquering the Alarm Clock

  1. I love these tips, it’s possibly the most exhaustive list I have found on the internet. I agree especially with #7: Stick to your wake up time. I have only recently realised just how important a habit is for a healthier lifestyle. And as for #4: accountability – I got so inspired by this I created a wake up challenge that is keeping my friends accountable and getting them to wake up early. Join us and tell me what you think if you need a framework to execute all these great tips: https://www.facebook.com/events/787039881370576/. Happy wakings!

    1. fight the urge sleep, it is what’s pulling you back to bed. If need be go straight to the shower and put water on your head or do some exercise when you arise. Hope this helps!

  2. Keeping your routine everyday, except for the Sabbath, is key. Not to be legalistic about the Sabbath, but God intended for us to take a day of rest, set apart from the rest of the week. When you do this (and I fail regularly!) it makes keeping the early morning routine so much easier!

  3. Thanks for the tips! I appreciate it. I’m intending to start a workout routine in the mornings, so this article was really helpful.

  4. My good intentions couldn’t pull me out of bed, either! I used to
    be morning zombie and then I found a great new android app that
    forces you out of bed called Eject Alarm Clock. Now it gets me out of
    bed every day! There’s no snooze, so it’s impossible to oversleep.
    The phone automatically fingerprints each room’s WiFi signal, so it
    forces you to move into another room to turn it off. Brilliant!
    Download it here:

  5. I found this article in google feedback for ‘how to wake up ealier!’ Thanks for the tips. I think the biggest and most important is to lay out things the night before. It helps me a ton.


  6. still can’t wake up afer 15 alarms starting from 9:45 till 12 am :S most of them with 1min delay 🙁 i just turn them of and fall asleep after! even if i don’t im to weak to get out of bed, i mean i try hard but i can’t! than i’ll drop dead!

    1. Try sleeping earlier. Maybe, you aren’t getting enough sleep. That’s the problem for me. Try to sleep for at least 7ish to 8 hours everynight. Hope it helps!

  7. Very useful article, wish I found it earlier. I had so many problems with waking up and lately I’ve discovered an app that forces you to play some easy games and win or it won’t stop ringing. Sometimes I wish to throw my phone right to the wall, but it actually helps and I like it because of the design. If you think something like that could help, it’s this one: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/early-game-alarm/id1065376327

    Although it was not on sales when I bought it. 🙁

  8. Hey Jeff, thanks for reposting this article. I’m incredibly fortunate to live on Queensland’s sunshine coast and I surf, 12 months. Out of bed at 4.30am or earlier, in the water before 5, and into the first coffee by around 6.15. Been doing this for years, tips 3, 4 and 5 really work! This routine gets me to my FTJ before 8.30 and it’s just a great way to start the day. And of course there’s always Hal Elrod’s book, a ‘must read’ on the subject.

    The downside is that to get the 7.5 hours of sleep I seem to need, means in bed by 9.30pm latest. This kills evenings for productive time and finding balance is quite the challenge (and time to read!).

    On sleep. We are all different but whatever sleep time you need, well – that’s what you need. We are all custom designed and most people I know need that 6.5 – 7.5 hours every night. I am sure there are people who genuinely need less sleep but so far, the ones I’ve met are either stretching the truth or a bit dysfunctional. Sleep is so important to get everything back into alignment and getting up early should never mean going short on sleep.

    I 100% agree with the ‘lose the TV’ comment in your email. We only have one TV in the house and most often now, it’s only a front end to our ATV for music or photos. It’s unnecessary these days, it’s mind numbing, and there are better ways to consume media than slouching in front of the box.

  9. Whatta bout when I’m running on 6 hours of sleep for the past 48 hours. Should I snort some snow? Cause coffee ain’t helping man and you said it would! ???

  10. I had insomnia recently regarding the hard time and stress level which i experienced.I used a whole bunch of natural and chemical medicine and home remedies but a friend of mine recently bring me some Saffron tea and It has amazing effect, I asked her about the place so I can go and get some.She gave me their website, They are selling saffron but they do have saffron tea as well.It has an amazing effect on me , I have smooth sleep and I wake up so fresh 🙂

    their number is 818-416-9125
    and their website is http://www.Goldensaffron.com
    Hope that helps 🙂

  11. I’ve used almost all apps, alarms, sounds to get up early but my mind is powerful enough to get again into the bed. Not sure how to deal with this. However sometimes when I get up early and have some exercise I really feel good whole day but keep this continue is biggest challenge.

    1. You should try the alarmy app, if you use android smartphone. It won’t let you sleep even if you want to. You can’t even turn down the alarm volume. It has a lot of ways to turn off but for that you should be wide awake.

      1. I have used that. It’s great but then I just go back to closing my eyes ‘for a few minutes’

  12. I’ve found the best solution to be the Sleep Cycle iPhone app along with Phillips Hue light bulbs. The lights will gradually go from dim yellow to bright white over 30 minutes, awaking you gently.

  13. I have such hard time waking up early, Im always cold when I wake up so I just stay in bed so I’m warm. Then I start getting out of bed, I just delay the process so much! 🙁

  14. I’ve only read #1 and I want to say Thank you, this is useful and I Know it will help. Thank you

  15. Hello,

    Thanks for sharing this useful article with us. I am your fan and I have been trying to follow your instructions. I also read this article of yours which help me. I am a student so need wake up early to bed but have insomnia problem. I have read many useful references from internet but your tips are very good and I hope it will help me. Early to bed and wake up from bed is very important for everyone.

    Please write a post how to get self control over bad habits and focus on studies I am an student so I think u know the distraction we face in our daily life
    Almost all of my friends are settled and me not yet if u post a formula or at least a type of time table to follow it
    Will be a great help to people like me

  16. I always hit the snooze button and I have less time getting ready for school and I am starting secondary soon and I would really like to improve from not being a morning person yo be coming a morning person. ⭐️?

  17. I got a biggest exam next week. So, I want to study at the morning (friend suggested me). At the same time, I want a good night’s sleep. I hope this works.

  18. The most important thing which will help you get up early is to go to bed no later than 10 pm, 10.30 pm max. Our body is cleansing at night the most intensively and the strongest cleansing and restoring period begins at this time. This is what will give you energy for the next day, so do not ignore going to bed early. If you do it, you’ll see how simple it is to get up early in the morning.

  19. Nice! i will definitely keep this in mind, thanks for the help by the way. P.S. very good info.

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