How to Wake Up Early Without Feeling Tired

Self-discipline is still important to cultivate, but when we are doing something we enjoy, it gets a lot easier.

Sobaan Saeed


Photo by Josh Felise on Unsplash

Each morning when I wake up, I start my day by getting three simple things; movement, water, and sunlight.

Together these three tiny habits quickly get me past that initial groggy stage and help me feel fully awake.

Why are these habits so effective in particular?

First and foremost you don’t have to wake up early in the morning to be a productive person. The fact of the matter is different people operate on different schedules.

The truth of the matter is that it’s possible to live a perfectly productive life as a night owl. I personally have found that when I carve out time in the morning and actually go through a morning routine. I tend to be more productive.

Again, this is a personal thing, but I’ve found through experimentation and personal experience that I tend to use the morning hours more productively than I do my evening hours.

You might be in the exact same boat. You might find that your mornings are just more productive, you have energy, and you have more drive if you wake up early.

If that’s you, you probably have also faced the same problem that I faced which is that when you wake up in the morning you feel like a truck hit you, you feel groggy, and you feel tired.

The only thing you wanna do is hit the snooze button.

Let’s focus on that sequence of three habits, I talked about in the intro water, sunlight and movement. I’ve found that this sequence of habits is possibly the most important thing to getting your body woken up.

Besides, of course, getting enough sleep. So let’s start with the movement.


When I first started discovering the power of movement to wake my body up when I was in college.

Just do an hour or a half of exercise to feel awake in the morning. The main thing I observed is just getting myself out of bed, having some kind of deadline got me past that lethargic feeling before I even left my bed.

When I was getting that initial movement right after waking up that groggy feeling that I had immediately after waking up didn’t last very long.

So getting some initial movement even just a little bit in the morning can really go a long way to helping you feel more awake especially if you also add water and sunlight.


Sunlight affects our body’s circadian rhythm which is this internal clock, this process governs when you feel sleepy, when you fall asleep, and when you wake up.

When sunlight hits the photoreceptors in your eyes, they actually send signals to your brain telling you, “Hey, it’s time to wake up.”

Circadian-effective light is an interesting term because it doesn’t just refer to sunlight. Rather it refers to certain qualities of lights including their intensity, and how well it covers certain areas of the color spectrum.

There are certain areas of the visual light spectrum that are associated with triggering those photoreceptors and governing our circadian rhythm.

Most of the lights in our interior environments don’t cover that area of the color spectrum.


Through personal experience, I’ve found that when I wake up and drink a glass of water, it gets me past that groggy stage really quickly.

It’s a great way to help me feel even more awake.

So, get out of bed immediately, and move to a different room in your house. So you get some movement and ideally some sunlight and drink a glass of water.

This assumes you can get yourself out of bed in the first place and avoid the temptation of the snooze button.

Getting Out of Bed

Well for that problem, let’s think back to that deadline. I talked about how when the alarm went off and I never once hit the snooze button.

If you’ve ever had to get up for an early morning flight, you wanna get up at 4:00 AM but the prospect of missing the flight gets you out of bed all the same.

But here’s the problem carving out time for yourself in the morning and building a morning routine by definition means there’s no real strong deadline or pressing engagement and you have to get out of bed.

What do you do in these situations?

There’s a phrase that goes,

You can’t compete with someone who is having fun

I think that sentiment applies to many things in our life, including the prospect of getting out of bed earlier than we normally would.

Add something, it could be anything. No matter how small you’re excited about the morning routine. When I was building my morning walk habit, it was something that I was excited about and it get much easier for me to get up.

Self-discipline is still important to cultivate, but on the other side of the coin when we are doing something we enjoy where the resistance does not overweigh, how much we enjoy the thing. We don’t have to rely on self-discipline in the first place.

Personally, that thing for me is taking a morning walk along with listening to an audiobook or a podcast. Recently, I joined a gym that is actually a mile or two away from my place

So, during my morning walk. I prefer to go to the gym while listening to a podcast, getting to learn, but also getting to be outside and active. This is something that I actively look forward to every single morning.

Whenever I get up to do it, I’m super excited to get up, get dressed, and get out of the door.