Updated: September 15, 2023


You would like to be an early morning person, you really would.  But when you alarm clock goes off in the morning – and the way you turn it off is to throw it against the wall or when your ‘rise and shine’  is more like ‘complain and whine,’ you might need some help!  Here are a few tips-tricks and strategies to help you become a morning warrior.

Everyone has a circadian rhythm that’s slightly longer than 24 hours: on average, about 24 hours and 10 minutes. People mostly stay up past their bedtime because of a combination of biological factors such as circadian rhythm length or a shifted circadian rhythm that is delayed, and behavioral factors.

If you’re not a morning person, and you find yourself struggling at the start of your day, try these tips and strategies to get going.

1. Shift Your Wake-Up Time Gradually

You would love to be one of those folks that pop out of bed at 5:00 am.  Right now the old rooster is rattling your cage at 7:00 am.  The best way to successfully shift your sleep cycle is to do so gradually in 15-minute increments.  You should give yourself at least three weeks to get comfortable with the new schedule before you shift an additional 15 minutes.   This will take some time, but it won’t crush your sleep cycle – and slow change is permanent change.

2. Don’t Sleep Late on the Weekends

If you’re running on empty by the time Friday rolls around you may be dreaming of a Saturday sleep-in session. But staying in bed until 11 a.m. on the weekend will unravel your efforts during the week, interrupting your natural body clock.  A consistent bedtime on the weekends leads to better sleep and easier waking during the week. Plus, you get to spend that weekend morning time any way you’d like.

3. In the evening, use the 3-2-1 Routine.

The 3-2-1, from Brendon Burchard of GrowthDay, simple says three hours before bed time stop eating, two hours before bedtime no work and one hour before bed no screens (that includes Phones!).  

If you eat, your body has to work be breakdown food and can have a harder time to relax.

No work means shutting down on all goal-directed activities.  No work emails, no homework, no rigorous workouts. Nothing that will be difficult to ease out of.

Screens exposure to bright light and social media activates our minds, not slows them down.  Tuck away the devices one hour before it’s time for bed. Studies have pointed to a link between screen time before bed delaying the amount of time it takes someone to fall asleep.

Make use of curtains to block out light, invest in earplugs if your neighborhood is noisy, dim your lighting and, if possible, turn off all notifications on your phone, except for emergencies. The aim: cool, dark, and quiet.

4. Get Bright Light First Thing in the Morning

Open your blinds for exposure to sunlight as soon as you start your day. And if you’re dealing with dark and/or dreary mornings, invest in a light box for 15 to 30 minutes of light therapy.

Having bright light in the morning resets your internal clock and that’s going to help you wake up earlier in the long run.  You can also play upbeat music, splash cold water on your face, or hop in a cold shower.

5. Meal Prep and Make To-Do Lists at Night

If you’re a night owl move tasks you would normally do in the morning to the night before so you can stay in bed a little longer and make your morning routine easier to manage. Lay out your clothes and meal prep your breakfast and lunch the night before.  You could also shift to lunchtime workouts instead of morning gym sessions.

Take time the night before to draft a Get Things Done List, checking your family’s school and work schedules so you know what to expect. You might sleep better knowing you have the next day’s events in order and you won’t need to scramble in the morning.

6. Avoid Caffeine After Lunch

Experts recommend cutting off caffeine after about 12 p.m.  This could vary depending on when you’re planning to go to bed.  Most high performance coaches and researchers suggest avoiding caffeine about eight hours before bedtime. 

7. Seek Professional Help if You Can’t Wake Up in the Morning

If you’ve tried the tips above consistently for one to three months and it takes a crane to pull you out of bed, it may be time to see a professional that can offer you some help.

You may be dealing with underlying health concerns like depression or anxiety or you could have a sleep disorder that’s affecting your sleep quality.

Seek professional help sooner if your lack of sleep is creating a safety concern.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *