26 votes

How do you wake yourself up in the mornings?

I often have a really hard time getting myself to wake up and get out of bed in the mornings in time to go to work or whatever else I need to do. I was hoping people might be willing to share any good strategies they use to get themselves up and going every day.

36 comments

  1. [4]
    balooga
    Link
    I can't stand being startled awake. Some people may appreciate the burst of adrenaline and elevated heart rate that come from a sudden blaring sound in their ears, but not me. I'm also not a heavy...

    I can't stand being startled awake. Some people may appreciate the burst of adrenaline and elevated heart rate that come from a sudden blaring sound in their ears, but not me. I'm also not a heavy sleeper, so any more than a minimal alarm is overkill for me; I wake up to this calming electronica song. I live far enough north that the sun is up bright and early in summertime, but winters are a different story. A Philips sunrise lamp has been very helpful with that.

    Though I like to ease gently out of sleep, I've found that lingering in bed and dragging things out isn't a good way to begin the day either. I've trained myself to get out of bed immediately. It doesn't make every morning a breeze, but generally just getting on my feet goes a long way toward getting there. The mornings I snooze, I invariably end up feeling sleepier and more difficult than the ones when I get out of bed as soon as I hear the music. I don't have any tricks for making this part easier, but it does come more naturally with practice.

    I don't have a programmable coffee maker but I enjoy making iced coffee this time of year. I'll brew it before I go to bed the night before. It's nice to just pull a pitcher out of the fridge and pour a glass as soon as I enter the kitchen.

    16 votes
    1. CALICO
      Link Parent
      I wear a Fitbit near constantly, and its alarm function is very nice for waking up softly. I still set backup alarms on my phone just in case, but the gentle buzzing on my wrist is a peaceful way...

      I wear a Fitbit near constantly, and its alarm function is very nice for waking up softly. I still set backup alarms on my phone just in case, but the gentle buzzing on my wrist is a peaceful way to wake up.
      Starting hydrated makes it difficult to stay in bed for long once waken as well, nature calls to us all.

      6 votes
    2. mjangle1985
      Link Parent
      I have a Philips sunrise lamp. I can attest to their usefulness.

      I have a Philips sunrise lamp. I can attest to their usefulness.

      3 votes
    3. sqew
      Link Parent
      I think you're absolutely right in your second paragraph. One problem I sometimes have is that I'll be awake, chill in bed before getting up, and then just pass out again. I really need to find a...

      I think you're absolutely right in your second paragraph. One problem I sometimes have is that I'll be awake, chill in bed before getting up, and then just pass out again. I really need to find a good method to force me to get right up and then make a habit of that.

      1 vote
  2. teaearlgraycold
    Link
    I've tried a number of things but the only way that really works for me is the most obvious one, getting enough sleep (on a consistent schedule) and drinking plenty of water.

    I've tried a number of things but the only way that really works for me is the most obvious one, getting enough sleep (on a consistent schedule) and drinking plenty of water.

    15 votes
  3. [3]
    DrStone
    Link
    Routine. Wake up every day, including weekends at the same time. Go to bed the same time every day. Eventually it will become routine to the point where you’ll wake up at that time naturally. You...
    • Routine. Wake up every day, including weekends at the same time. Go to bed the same time every day. Eventually it will become routine to the point where you’ll wake up at that time naturally.
    • You can play with the bedtime to find one that gets you adequate rest and has your desired wake up between sleep cycles. IIRC, sleep cycles are around 90 min for most people, so you can work backward in multiples of that from your wake up time to get in he ballpark. Adjust and test for a week, repeat as necessary.
    • Light. Don’t use blackout curtains and let your body get accustomed to the gradually increasing light. It’ll help both in waking up naturally and avoiding the unpleasant shock of going from pitch black to day bright.
    • Get out of bed immediately. No snooze, no lingering. It’ll be tough at first, but the discipline is worth it and eventually you’ll be able to jump up without problem.
    • Prepare yourself for the day as soon as you get out of bed. No bumming around in PJs for a while. Shower can help, or at least wash your face. Finish with a little cool (doesn’t need to be freezing) water. Get dressed. It’ll help get you in the mental state of daytime.
    • Try not to rely on stimulants. A cup of coffee or tea in the morning is great for mood and routine, but your goal should be to be awake and functional before/without that. It’s easy to use caffeine as a crutch to cover other bad sleep habits or become dependent on the cuppa to get going (nobody likes the “don’t talk to me until i’ve had my coffee” irritable people)
    • Bed is for sleep and sex only. Do not let yourself associate it with any other waking activity. It’ll make both getting out of bed and falling asleep much easier.
    8 votes
    1. [2]
      Cosmos
      Link Parent
      I've been trying no black out shades. The problem I'm finding now is that sunrise is at 5:30, causing me to wake up waaaay too early and get even less sleep. It is nice though. If only you could...

      I've been trying no black out shades. The problem I'm finding now is that sunrise is at 5:30, causing me to wake up waaaay too early and get even less sleep.

      It is nice though. If only you could control when the sun came up.

      3 votes
      1. DrStone
        Link Parent
        Oof, that is early. Perhaps something that lets through some light, like sheer curtains, so that it’ll have to rise higher before it gets bright in the room. I could see either finding a few...

        Oof, that is early. Perhaps something that lets through some light, like sheer curtains, so that it’ll have to rise higher before it gets bright in the room. I could see either finding a few thicknesses to accommodate changing sunrise throughout the year, a layered setup so you can close more or fewer.

        Or if you want to get real fancy, I’ve seen DIY setups where blinds are controlled with some electronics to open slowly at a preset time.

        1 vote
  4. mjd
    Link
    I'm a coffee drinker, so the most helpful thing for me was to get a coffee machine with an automatic brew setting/alarm clock. I can set it up the night before and the smell of fresh coffee gets...

    I'm a coffee drinker, so the most helpful thing for me was to get a coffee machine with an automatic brew setting/alarm clock. I can set it up the night before and the smell of fresh coffee gets me out of bed.

    6 votes
  5. DMBuce
    Link
    One thing that helped me get out of bed is from a self help book, I forget which one but it might have been 5 Hour Work Week. Anyway, I'll try to take the first half-hour-to-an-hour of the day to...

    One thing that helped me get out of bed is from a self help book, I forget which one but it might have been 5 Hour Work Week. Anyway, I'll try to take the first half-hour-to-an-hour of the day to work on a personal project before heading into work. The first part of the day is when I'm at my freshest, and I find that if the first thing I do after brushing my teeth is something I'm passionate about, it gives me something to look forward to and prevents that feeling of dread you get when you're lying in bed thinking about the shitty stuff you "have" to do throughout the day.

    As far as an alarm clock goes, I have a script that runs in cron every weekday morning on my laptop that sets up an hour-ish long playlist. Each slot in the playlist is randomly chosen from a group of songs:

    1. Something to get me pumped for the day: either the Pokemon Theme or Eye of the Tiger or a BabyMetal song
    2. A song from an Adult Swim show (usually ends up being Cowboy Bebop since I have more songs from that show)
    3. Something techno-y (from my Dance or Electronic folders)
    4. Something jazzy (from my blues, jazz, or funk folders)
    5. Something that rocks (from my rock or psychedelic rock folders)
    6. Something metal (from my hard rock, metal, death metal, or industrial folders)
    7. A cue that I really need to start the day if I haven't gotten up yet (a BabyMetal song or The Final Countdown)

    I also have cron jobs set up to load, shuffle, and play my library just before I get home from work and on weekend mornings.

    5 votes
  6. [3]
    vivaria
    (edited )
    Link
    The best way I've found is to have a plan for the morning. Some sort of... task, or goal, or incentive that I can focus on and that I can start immediately after the alarm goes off. I tend to be...

    The best way I've found is to have a plan for the morning. Some sort of... task, or goal, or incentive that I can focus on and that I can start immediately after the alarm goes off. I tend to be tempted to fall back asleep the moment I'm allowed to question my morning routine. "Do I reeeeeally have to get up? Ah, I'm sure it'll be fine if I just crawled back into bed. I have some wiggle room to snooze a bit more." If I'm thinking about it, then I'll start slipping into the mindset where I convince myself it's okay to not wake up.

    I find that the times when I can wake up early enough, I usually end up appreciating it so much more. I love the quiet mornings, and I love the feeling of being up before everyone else. I love having that much more time in the day. If I can bottle that enthusiasm and translate it into a plan for what the morning will look like ("I'm going to wake up, and I'm going to do these things, and I'll feel all the better for it"), then it somehow makes me excited to wake up? Along the same lines of what @culturedleftfoot describes as an "intentional routine". Visualization, affirmations, etc.

    (Definitely would also rep the regular wakeup time suggestions, too. Same time, every day!)

    5 votes
    1. unknown user
      Link Parent
      This is weird, as a messed up night owl I share this trait with you: I love waking up before the sun. I feel as stupid silly happines when I wake up around that time. Yet I can't get myself to...

      I find that the times when I can wake up early enough, I usually end up appreciating it so much more. I love the quiet mornings, and I love the feeling of being up before everyone else. I love having that much more time in the day.

      This is weird, as a messed up night owl I share this trait with you: I love waking up before the sun. I feel as stupid silly happines when I wake up around that time. Yet I can't get myself to sleep early enough. I envy those who can spend some nights sleeping after 4am or even after dawn, then can just snap back to their normal sleep schedule.

      2 votes
    2. Keegan
      Link Parent
      Having a plan of things I need to do really helped me get up. Before doing that I would, just like on your comment, question if I really had to get up and just go back to sleep. I've started...

      Having a plan of things I need to do really helped me get up. Before doing that I would, just like on your comment, question if I really had to get up and just go back to sleep.

      I've started planning meetings, appointments, etc. for in the morning so that I have a good reason to get up on some days, which helps make me get up on days when I don't have anything to do, since I am adjusted to getting up earlier.

      1 vote
  7. just_a_salmon
    Link
    I use a couple different things to help wake me up without wanting to murder someone. I have Hue lights fade in for ~20 minutes, when my alarm goes off. I picked a song that is calm, and feels...

    I use a couple different things to help wake me up without wanting to murder someone. I have Hue lights fade in for ~20 minutes, when my alarm goes off. I picked a song that is calm, and feels like a “dawn song,” if that makes sense. I might hit snooze a couple times. Once I’m somewhat conscious, I’ll start reading a book that is interesting enough to keep me from wanting to go back to sleep. I’ll use the snooze as a timer for reading.

    4 votes
  8. [2]
    rmgr
    Link
    I use an alarm clock app that makes me do math problems to turn it off and it starts playing the breakdown on Bleed by Meshuggah quietly and hits maximum volume at the point where the song drops.....

    I use an alarm clock app that makes me do math problems to turn it off and it starts playing the breakdown on Bleed by Meshuggah quietly and hits maximum volume at the point where the song drops.. Normally I wake up on the quiet bit and can turn it off before it scares me awake but it does the job when I'm really deeply sleeping.

    Then a double espresso before I do anything.

    4 votes
    1. sqew
      Link Parent
      I read something a while back where someone said that they play the soundtrack from DOOM (2016) as their wakeup/hype routine every morning, so I guess you're doing something similar with Bleed....

      I read something a while back where someone said that they play the soundtrack from DOOM (2016) as their wakeup/hype routine every morning, so I guess you're doing something similar with Bleed. Seems like a pretty solid strategy to me!

      2 votes
  9. [2]
    stromm
    Link
    Like clockwork, I wake up at 3:30am M-Sa (not Sunday). That's the time as a kid I spent 8 years waking up to start my paper route (no Sunday paper). It doesn't matter if I go to bed at 2am, I wake...

    Like clockwork, I wake up at 3:30am M-Sa (not Sunday). That's the time as a kid I spent 8 years waking up to start my paper route (no Sunday paper). It doesn't matter if I go to bed at 2am, I wake up at 3:30am. It doesn't matter if time changed because of Day Light Saving time. My brain just knows it's "really" now 3:30am.

    Then I roll over and go back to sleep till about 5:30a and I just wake up. My alarm is set for 6am just in case. I can count on one hand how many times that alarm has actually gone off. And it's scared the crap out of my wife (and kids when they were younger). It's an ancient 1976 Lloyd's LED alarm clock/radio with a buzzer that has no modern comparison. You can hear it outside the house.

    I wake up and go. I don't drag around. Just "time to get up" and I do.

    But don't mess with me when I get up. My brain is on autopilot and if anything breaks my routine, chances are I'm forgetting to take something to work.

    I also just go to sleep. No struggle. I kiss my wife goodnight, I close my eyes and I'm out. It really frustrates her because it can take an hour or more for her to get to sleep. I feel so sorry for people like that. Me, I could decide right now to go to sleep and I will.

    I almost never feel like I'm fighting against sleep either. I'm either awake, or I'm not. My dad, both grandfather and some uncles on both sides were the same. Maybe it's genetic. My kids are not biologically mine, so I don't know. But my son can fall asleep right in the middle of a movie, or playing a game (HA, he'll keep moving his thumbs to keep the game from timing out). He's 29.

    3 votes
    1. sqew
      Link Parent
      One strategy of mine I used for a while was consecutive max volume buzzer alarms on my phone. Yours sounds like that on steroids, and now I really want one.

      It's an ancient 1976 Lloyd's LED alarm clock/radio with a buzzer that has no modern comparison. You can hear it outside the house.

      One strategy of mine I used for a while was consecutive max volume buzzer alarms on my phone. Yours sounds like that on steroids, and now I really want one.

  10. joelthelion
    Link
    This book (or very long web page, whatever you want to call it), really helped me a lot. Understanding what sleep is, how it works, and what we can do about it really helps a lot.

    This book (or very long web page, whatever you want to call it), really helped me a lot. Understanding what sleep is, how it works, and what we can do about it really helps a lot.

    3 votes
  11. tomf
    Link
    My Hue bulbs come up slowly, then I have Seven Inch Soul from SomaFM playing. The trick is to just gtfo out of bed, regardless of how tired you are. Sometimes it's like Trinity in the Matrix ("GET...

    My Hue bulbs come up slowly, then I have Seven Inch Soul from SomaFM playing.

    The trick is to just gtfo out of bed, regardless of how tired you are. Sometimes it's like Trinity in the Matrix ("GET UP... GET... UP!"), but get up and out quickly is the best.

    I tried the barcodes, puzzle alarms, etc -- but they're only frustrating. I moved to pure will-power.

    2 votes
  12. [2]
    Tuna
    Link
    Getting up in the morning is something I still struggle with, since I can sleep through the loudest alarms. The tactic that works best for me is planning to stand up at a certain time. The last...

    Getting up in the morning is something I still struggle with, since I can sleep through the loudest alarms.

    The tactic that works best for me is planning to stand up at a certain time. The last thing I do before falling asleep is planning the next morning and specifically think that I will wake up at a certain time and imagine myself doing my morning routine. This somehow makes my body set up its own alarm and often enough I wake up before my physical alarm clock rings.

    2 votes
    1. sqew
      Link Parent
      Thanks; that's a really interesting method. I'll give it a try!

      Thanks; that's a really interesting method. I'll give it a try!

  13. skullkid2424
    Link
    Some of the ways I deal with my sleep issues. Melatonin at night to get to sleep on time Switch screens and lightbulbs to block blue light (which increases melatonin production Stop using...

    Some of the ways I deal with my sleep issues.

    • Melatonin at night to get to sleep on time
    • Switch screens and lightbulbs to block blue light (which increases melatonin production
    • Stop using electronics before bed. No electronics in bed.
    • Use an alarm clock that turns on the lights (ideally ramping up slowly rather than just lights on)
    • Alarm clocks should be on the opposite side of the room so that you must physically get up.
    • I've dabbled in caffiene pills in the morning (I'm not a fan of hot drinks for the usual coffee/tea). Especially in combination with a (planned) snooze. Get up, take caffiene pill, sleep for 15 more minutes, and then the caffiene will have kicked in.

    And while probably not helpful, I've found that a job situation that accommodates my later sleeping habits helps alleviate a lot of the "problems" of sleeping in. Working 10-6 instead of 9-5/8-4 means I'm much closer to my body's natural tendencies, and that definitely helps.

    1 vote
  14. Akir
    Link
    I am a slave to my biological clock. If it's time to wake up, I wake up. If I go to sleep too late, it's too bad, because I'm up. Do I feel terrible and want to go to sleep? Well, too bad, 'cause...

    I am a slave to my biological clock. If it's time to wake up, I wake up. If I go to sleep too late, it's too bad, because I'm up. Do I feel terrible and want to go to sleep? Well, too bad, 'cause the body won't do that.

    It's bad when we go back or forwards by an hour. But when I need to change my sleep schedule for a weekly basis, it is hell on earth. When I need to get up early, I need to consume an ungodly amount of caffeine all day in order to function.

    Lately, though, I have had a few days where I nap in the middle of the day. I suppose it's better than keeping myself awake with caffeine, but it takes up so much time it basically ruins the entire day.

    1 vote
  15. culturedleftfoot
    Link
    If I absolutely have to wake up by a certain time (not a regular occurrence, thankfully), I set about 10 alarms on my phone to go off within about a half hour. It gradually gets me up even if I...

    If I absolutely have to wake up by a certain time (not a regular occurrence, thankfully), I set about 10 alarms on my phone to go off within about a half hour. It gradually gets me up even if I hit snooze a couple times. In the days when I was on someone else's time, I had an alarm clock that sat across the room from my bed. I wasn't necessarily a ray of sunshine when I did get up, but it worked.

    At another point, I also did a routine that I suppose would fall along the lines of being intentional - as I settled in, I'd affirm to myself that I'd wake up at a specific time and visualize it happening. I found that it actually worked very reliably... as long as I got a certain minimum. I couldn't will myself awake if I tried to wing it on three or four hours, but I could do it on six everyday if I needed to. Your mileage may vary.

    1 vote
  16. Diff
    Link
    There are a lot of alarm apps that will detect when you're in a lighter phase of sleep and play a nice gentle sound that is enough to wake you up in that lighter phase. I use one of those, and...

    There are a lot of alarm apps that will detect when you're in a lighter phase of sleep and play a nice gentle sound that is enough to wake you up in that lighter phase. I use one of those, and since I have some LEDs mounted on my bed I turn those on to burning cyan to keep myself from rolling over and going back to sleep.

    1 vote
  17. ggfurasta
    Link
    I use an app called sleep cycle. Instead of waking you up with a calm sound or light in the middle of your comfortable sleep and leaving you tired, it wakes you up in a lighter phase of sleep. You...

    I use an app called sleep cycle. Instead of waking you up with a calm sound or light in the middle of your comfortable sleep and leaving you tired, it wakes you up in a lighter phase of sleep. You can give it a window of time (the recommended is 30 mins) and it will try to wake you up when your sleep is the lightest. I've tried it for a bit and every time it's woken me up easily and I haven't felt groggy or annoyed since using it.

    1 vote
  18. knocklessmonster
    Link
    My phone's alarm. I set two. For this coming morning, I need to be up at 8. So, I'll set one for 8:00, and one for 8:03, infinite snooze at five minute intervals. What this does is wake me up at...

    My phone's alarm. I set two. For this coming morning, I need to be up at 8. So, I'll set one for 8:00, and one for 8:03, infinite snooze at five minute intervals. What this does is wake me up at 8, three minutes later, I get disturbed again, and two minutes after that, once more. It demotivates me to go back to sleep. I do shift work, plus school when that's in season, but this system has worked for the past six months, and I'll be keeping it.

    1 vote
  19. crdpa
    (edited )
    Link
    I'm in heaven right now. My new job starts at 9:00 and the room i'm in has a balcony with a glass door. I'm an early riser and i wake up naturally when the sun shines through the curtain.

    I'm in heaven right now. My new job starts at 9:00 and the room i'm in has a balcony with a glass door. I'm an early riser and i wake up naturally when the sun shines through the curtain.

  20. dysoco
    Link
    What's been working for me is just leaving the phone with the alarm clock far away from the bed, that way you have to wake up. Once you turn it off don't use it and don't sit on the bed or...

    What's been working for me is just leaving the phone with the alarm clock far away from the bed, that way you have to wake up. Once you turn it off don't use it and don't sit on the bed or anything because you'll fall asleep or procrastinate again. Reminding yourself that you sort of have to go to class/work or you'll fail/get fired seems to work fine most of the days.

    I usually don't have much time for breakfast because I wake up just on time to commute so I take the bus, and then grab a coffee before entering class, that usually wakes me up. I used to no do breakfast in class as to save a couple of bucks but I sometimes fell asleep in class and once I even passed out so now I don't skim on that.

    Talking about sunlight I'm really jealous of all of you, I normally get about 2/3 hours of sunlight in my apartment and definitively not in the morning, so I wake up in complete darkness which is sort of screwing me up a little bit, I hope to move to a nicer place next year because it's been over a year here and I still can't get quite used to living in perpetual night once I'm inside my apartment.

  21. [2]
    Smittyrb
    Link
    Niccotine. I keep a strong vape next to my bed and hit it immediately on waking up; works so well it's insane. Changed my life.

    Niccotine. I keep a strong vape next to my bed and hit it immediately on waking up; works so well it's insane. Changed my life.

    1. DrStone
      Link Parent
      To each their own, but with the addictiveness of nicotine and the questionable health safety of vaping, I don’t think this is responsible advice.

      To each their own, but with the addictiveness of nicotine and the questionable health safety of vaping, I don’t think this is responsible advice.

      1 vote
  22. eutrimonia
    Link
    Triathlon culture is very bullish on early morning workouts to the point where there is a movement of coaches (such as Matt Dixon) trying to harp on the importance of sleep and that waking up to...

    Triathlon culture is very bullish on early morning workouts to the point where there is a movement of coaches (such as Matt Dixon) trying to harp on the importance of sleep and that waking up to get the hours in is counter productive.

    That being said I had always wanted to be an early morning person but never reached that state until I started triathlon training. Now when I'm training I'm up at 04:45 and feel great going for a swim -- it should be note again however, that it can be counter-productive to chronically cut sleep to get that early morning workout. I'm usually in bed by 21:00, worst case 22:00.

    Triathlon may not be the answer for you, however an early morning game of squash, weightlifting, running, cycling or any sort of physical activity may help you settle into a habit where various strategies about how to wake up become less important because you were lucky enough to figure out a good why.

  23. NaraVara
    Link
    I had the same problem. Nothing worked. Then I got a dog who whines to be let out sometime between 6am and 7am every single day so the problem kind of resolved itself. The other thing that helped...

    I had the same problem. Nothing worked. Then I got a dog who whines to be let out sometime between 6am and 7am every single day so the problem kind of resolved itself.

    The other thing that helped (before the dog) was regular intensive exercise. When I did boxing 3 or 4 times a week I was usually too bushed to stay up very late. I’d end up falling asleep around 10 every night and wake up around 5 or 6.

  24. FeEnthusiast
    Link
    My best advice is to be consistent. You can play around with the finer points of the morning routine, but the point is to make one part that's pretty much set in stone, that's the part that gets...

    My best advice is to be consistent. You can play around with the finer points of the morning routine, but the point is to make one part that's pretty much set in stone, that's the part that gets you going. The alarm goes off you get up. It's a learnt response, you don't have to be awake for it, as such. You get up and [complete task], and that's the wake-up point. Task can be brush teeth, eat breakfast, make coffee, whatever, but it's a set thing and it's easiest if it doesn't take more than 5mins. The point is it gets you moving.

    To learn to get out of bed you start with setting an alarm for the same time every day for a month. Same alarm, same snooze, same time. And you get up every time. This sucks, so it's easiest if you get a lot of sleep, more than is needed, to make it easier to deal with. After you have done it a month, reduce your sleep time. Slowly reduce it to a point you are happy with, (half an hour a week) but don't change the time on the alarm or the snooze, and always do [task]. Then the loop is built and you'll be one of those people that wakes up and "just" gets up.

  25. aymm
    Link
    For myself I've found that consistency is the key. I get up every day at the same time, ande ven on the weekends don't go to bed (much) later and get up (much) later. I used to set an alarm clock...

    For myself I've found that consistency is the key. I get up every day at the same time, ande ven on the weekends don't go to bed (much) later and get up (much) later. I used to set an alarm clock on the weekends to stay in the habit (plus, morning runs before it gets hot in the summer are the best), but that's not necessary anymore. I tend to wake up a tad later on weekends than on weekdays, but that's mostly because I'm not as strict with my bedtime then. (That is, half an hour later or so is okay)

    I also have a fixed routine in the morning (get up, small workout, shower, duolingo, and then I read for a bit until I leave for the office). I usually skip it on weekends, but I want to eventually get around and keep it up even then.