Tips on waking up early for people who don’t meditate at 5 a.m.

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Yeah, hell no. Photo by Jared Rice on Unsplash

We’ve all read the productivity articles: every successful person pops out of bed around 5:30 a.m. and does yoga/goes running/meditates on a velvet pillow overlooking the Himalayan mountains to start off their morning. But what about the rest of us?

I’m a chronic snoozer. Like in a “I went to the doctor to make sure I don’t have anemia” kind of way. I’m NEVER going to be a person that wakes up before 7 a.m. Dragging my butt out of bed at 7 is even tough. I’m also a napper. My day is optimized around a good 10 hours of sleep, which is mostly unrealistic. Here are some small steps I’ve been working on that I hope help you, too. And remember, it’s okay to not be a morning person.

  1. Remember that having more time in the morning translates to a better day

For all the hokey sunrise yoga pics on Instagram, there’s something to be said for having a bit of free time in the morning. I’m not saying you need to spend an hour just hanging out, but being able to go about your tasks at a slower pace is so much more satisfying and makes for a better day. Rushing through the morning SUCKS. You know it and I know it, and hitting snooze a bunch makes you nothing more than a masochist.

2. Hit snooze once. Once.

If you’re setting your alarm to where you can hit snooze several times, you’re setting your alarm too early. There is a sweet spot between “early enough to have time to wash my hair” and “late enough to forget socks on my way out the door”. Find that spot. If you’re hitting snooze five or six times, you need to just set your alarm later. You’re not getting good quality sleep like that anyway. Seriously. Y’all multiple snoozers drive me nuts.

3. Try this

Okay I swear I’m not a spokesperson for Sleep Cycle and they’re not paying me to write this article, but I truly believe in REM cycles and I keep trying to continuously make myself wake up in the middle of one. It’s just NOT working. It’s better to get up a bit earlier before you hit your REM cycle then to try to wake up in the middle. Your body will THANK you — and your sleep cycles will adjust appropriately. The first week is the hardest.

4. Drink a full glass of water as soon as you wake up

Tada! You drink a full glass of water and your brain says, “oh shit let’s roll.” Maybe not quite like that but it’s a good idea. After you’ve been asleep for a while, your body is dehydrated, which makes you feel more sleepy.

5. Journaling in the morning is bullshit

Who the hell wants to start the day writing out their intentions? Honestly, not me. I like starting off the work day by looking at goals and prioritizing, but you’re not going to catch me doing that within the first two hours of my morning. You DON’T have to journal. If you want to feel productive, spend ten or fifteen minutes doodling or practicing guitar or putting a puzzle together or something. Spend fifteen minutes making the perfect bagel sandwich. Pet your cat for ten minutes. Find that thing that brings you a bit of peace in your morning and stick to it! Trying to come up with things to write about when your brain is not fully awake is just way too hard and you shouldn’t feel compelled to do it.

If all else fails, just try one thing at a time. Baby steps. If you slip up and you’re late to work, it’s okay. It’s okay to not be a morning person. But you can still help yourself make things easier in the morning.

Written by

Austin-based writer. Interested in design, user experience, and coding.

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