How to Wake Up Early (and Why You May Want to Start)

Last Updated on September 15, 2022 by 37 Comments

How to Wake Up Early (and Why You May Want to Start)
Blog / Business / How to Wake Up Early (and Why You May Want to Start)

You’re probably tired (pun intended) of hearing the discussion around how great waking up early is. The problem is, your bed is a pretty nice place to be too, so it’s often a struggle to get out of it. However, we can’t deny there are undeniable benefits to seizing the day, and you’re missing out on them by hitting the Snooze button.

The earlier you wake up, the more time you’ll have to get stuff done – it’s that simple. Learning how to wake up early and sticking to it can make for a drastic change in your life. In this article, we’ll go over four tips to help you catch the worm.

Let’s roll out of bed!

Why It Pays to Be an Early Riser

Let’s face it, given the choice, most people would prefer to lounge around in bed for a while before getting up in the morning. However, this isn’t a productive use of your time. The math is simple – the earlier you wake up, the more time you’ll have to do stuff, like the following:

  • You’ll be able to dedicate the time to cooking and eating a healthy breakfast.
  • You can sip your coffee or tea in peace before you have to rush to work, maybe while catching up on personal emails.
  • There’s an opportunity to get a head start on your daily work.
  • If you’re one of those people, you can get some exercise done in the morning to start your day off with a burst of endorphins.

Not only does waking up early come with a whole heap of benefits, it’s also a great way to exercise a bit of discipline. If you can find the strength to wake up early every day, you’re probably a force to be reckoned with.

You might argue that you can still do all of those things without waking up early. For example, you might decide to exercise in the evenings or keep working late into the night. While this approach works for some people, chances are you’re not at your most productive after a long day (unless your name is Bruce Wayne).

For example, developers and designers have a reputation for being night owls. However, you can make your efforts stretch much further by deciding to start your day earlier. Plus, if you habituate yourself to work during the evenings, communicating with other members of your team becomes a lot harder. You don’t want to be the guy stuck sending emails at three in the morning, so do yourself a favor and set your alarm clock to a nice, respectable hour.

How to Wake Up Early and Increase Your Productivity (4 Tips)

Quite simply, anyone can wake up early. The trick is to stick with it over the long term and not give up after a couple of days. To do this, you’ll need to make some underlying changes to your routine, which is where these tips come in.

1. Establish Healthy Sleeping Habits

Setting your alarm clock for sunrise won’t be ‘doable’ if you went to bed in the wee small hours. The first step for cementing your new waking routine is to establish healthy sleeping habits. By this, we mean making changes to the way you approach sleep. You’ll feel well-rested in the mornings, even if you wake up at an ungodly hour.

Historically and empirically, this is the lifestyle change people struggle with the most. However, healthier sleeping habits come with their own set of benefits:

  • You’ll have more energy in the mornings and throughout the rest of the day.
  • Once your body gets accustomed to the change, you may have an easier time falling asleep.
  • If you exercise throughout the week, getting more sleep will help you recover faster.

As far as what constitutes ‘healthier’ sleeping habits, it’s not a ‘dark art.’ First, you’ll need to get seven to nine hours of sleep every night, based on the 90-minute cycles our bodies go through. This means you may have to start going to sleep earlier depending on when you want to wake up. To be fair, some people can do just fine with less sleepy time. However, anything fewer than seven hours usually won’t cut it.

Second, you’ll want to develop a bedtime routine that doesn’t involve digital screens, as they disrupt your brain’s behavior when it comes to sleep. This is because the blue light they emit tells your body it shouldn’t produce melatonin, which is the hormone that causes you to fall asleep.

Given this, look to restrict your use of devices to at least half an hour before you plan on going to bed. Instead, try reading a book, or maybe listening to a podcast while you try and fall asleep in the dark.

Finally, if you have a tough time falling asleep when you’re supposed to, exercise before going to bed is usually a great idea. Combine this with a hot shower, and you’ll probably fall asleep before your head hits the pillow.

2. Give Yourself a ‘Wake-Up Range’

Usually, people will tell you to just set your alarm clock at the time you want to wake and ‘man up’. However, it’s sometimes better to ease into the routine of waking up early by setting a range during which you can get out of bed. For example, if your goal is to start getting out of bed before seven o’clock, you might set your wake-up range between 6:30–7:00. As long as you get up within this range, you’ll be good to go.

Giving yourself a wake-up range can be a great idea because it puts less pressure on yourself. If you end up falling asleep a bit later than usual, you’ll welcome twenty more minutes of sleep. Then, on those days you slept well, you can enjoy a bit more rest.

However, to pull this off, you might need to set more than one alarm in the morning. This can be somewhat jarring though, so another excellent approach is to place your bed in an area of your room that gets a bit of sunlight in the morning.

If don’t have this, investing in a wake-up light can be a great idea. These devices slowly increase their brightness in the mornings, simulating a sunrise. This makes them the perfect tools if you want to give yourself a wake-up range.

3. Don’t Lie in Bed Once You’re Awake

Regardless of how you decide to wake up in the morning, there’s one thing you should always do: Get completely out of bed as soon as possible. Of course, many people hate getting out from under the covers in the morning. If this rings true, you’ll likely need all of your willpower to get out of bed.

If you put off the moment too long, you’re more likely to succumb to the temptation of staying in bed five minutes longer. Those five minutes become ten, and by the time you realize it, you’ve lost half an hour or more.

There’s no trick to convince yourself to get out of bed immediately in the mornings. It’s a habit you have to exercise continuously until it becomes second nature. However, some approaches work for different people:

  • Keep a glass of water next to the bed so you can take a sip as soon as you wake up.
  • Use some fun music as your alarm instead of the same classic noises everyone uses.
  • Roll out of bed to do a few pushups or some other form of light exercise after waking up, to get the blood flowing.

To be fair, this last one is unlikely to happen unless you used to be in the military or your name happens to be Rambo. Even so, you have nothing to lose by trying it out!

4. Put Together a (Productive) Morning Ritual

If you follow the three previous tips, you should be able to adjust your body to wake up earlier. However, for the routine to stick, we recommend you try and make good use of your extra morning time.

Let’s hark back to your previous routine. You may have woke up, brushed your teeth, hopped into the shower, grabbed a quick bite, and downed some coffee – all in a hurry. Of course, it’s no fun to always be under the gun, especially first thing in the morning. With the extra time, you can go through your morning routine more calmly and ‘luxuriate’ a bit.

The answer here is to find a routine you enjoy that works for you. This way, waking up early won’t be something you dread, but look forward to. Here’s an example of what this writer’s ideal morning routine looks like:

  • Wake up at 6-7 AM and get a coffee pot going.
  • Brush your teeth and take a shower.
  • Enjoy your first cup of coffee while you read the news or watch random videos on YouTube.
  • Cook a hearty breakfast and eat it without hurry.
  • Sit down to work or head to the office.

If you love exercise, you can also throw a quick workout in there, given that you’ve afforded yourself more time. Then, by the time the rest of the city rolls out of bed, you’ll already be at 100%.


There’s something pleasurable about going to bed and waking whenever you please, and it’s impossible to deny. However, the sheer number of benefits you get from waking up a bit earlier each day are overwhelming. You’re actually missing out on a lot of benefits by sticking to your current routine.

If you’re ready to get up with the roosters, here are five tips to help you seize the day:

  1. Establish healthy sleeping habits.
  2. Give yourself a wake-up range.
  3. Don’t lie in bed once you’re awake.
  4. Put together a productive morning ritual.

Do you have any questions about how to wake up early in the morning? Let’s discuss them in the comments section below!

Article thumbnail image by tynyuk /


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  1. As studies show, there are different types of “sleepers”. Some have a rhythm making them wake up early, some later. We also need different hours of sleep. And according to your age, these hours differ, too. A teenager needs way more hours of sleep than somebody 40+.

    If your natural rhythm makes you stay awake longer and wake up later and you force yourself to change that and get up early, you will feel miserable because your acting against your natural rhythm.

    I think the best way is, to listen to your body and do what feels best for you, then you’ll be more productive than forcing yourself to get up really early and struggle the whole day to concentrate.

    • Good insight, Maurice – the underlying concept is that science has figured out what we need to do. The only action we have to take initially is follow the advice. 🙂

  2. Thanks for this post, I enjoy both the business/professional development posts as well as typical Divi and WordPress related content. Keep up the good work.

    • Thanks for the kind words, Louise. 🙂

  3. I’m laughing at the negative comments directed at Elegant Themes “business professional” line of blog entries. I have a visualization of everyone those naysayers — as we all probably do — and it isn’t pretty. Maybe the naysayers are depressed from sleeping too much — especially late into mornings? HAHAHA!

    Elegant Themes — Keep up the great work. I LOVE LOVE LOVE these types of blog entries.

  4. Your article is spot on! Getting up an hour earlier in the morning (and going to bed an hour earlier) has been a game changer for me. I was NEVER a morning person, then read The Miracle Morning which gave me the mindset to get up. I have gained an hour of my day and am back on track with my blog because of it.

  5. Hi John,
    Keep on reading you from Spain, great work!
    Thank you so much.

  6. Nice Tips to awake early. After reading this I’m changing my routine.

  7. Is there any WP plugin t fix this “Don’t Lie in Bed Once You’re Awake”? (Just kidding). This is what happens to me, I took about an hour to leave bed after awake :p

  8. For all of those saying this blog post doesn’t belong here. Well, nobody forced you to read it. Elegant Themes can post what they want on their blog and you can either read it or not. Some don’t want to read it…and that’s fine, but there are also those that do. So, if you see a topic you are not interested in then skip it, don’t comment that this isn’t the place for it, because you’re wrong. This is a place for Elegant Themes to post any type of article they feel may be beneficial to their client base. Sometimes it is…sometimes it’s not. Learn to move on and skip what your not interested in, instead of trying to tell others what they can post on their own blog.

  9. I’m one of those people who find it difficult to get out of bed.
    After reading this I’m changing my routine.
    Thank You.

    • That sounds great, Jim. Best of luck! 🙂

  10. Really love this part “There’s no trick to convince yourself to get out of bed immediately in the mornings. It’s a habit you have to exercise continuously until it becomes second nature.”

    John Hughes thanks for sharing

    • I’m glad you enjoyed the article, Barika! 🙂

  11. This all sounds great and I’m envious of those who can go to bed at a reasonable hour. Alas, after 42 years of trying, I’ve come to realize my natural rhythm is later. It just is. I’m most creative at night and I love the evening hours. Still, the wakeup range works for me. I use an app called Sleep Cycle and it’s great for gently waking me up within half an hour of the target range (it waits until I’m starting a natural wakeup in the sleep rhythm) and that sip of water first thing helps a great deal. I’m never hungry first thing, so I use that time to put in a hundred braids, find missing socks, feed the dog, and do all of those things three little kids need you to do for them. Morning is that thing I get through the best I can to get to the afternoon and then to my favourite and most productive part of the day, the evening! Whatever works…Plus, morning people are annoying, am I right? LOL

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts and insights with us, Andi. You’re absolutely right that there is no “one size fits all” solution for everybody. As long as you find a pattern that works, that’s what matters. 🙂

  12. is this a WordPress blog or an amateur life coach blog?

  13. Cosmic article John. Thank you. Getting up early is absolutely one of the essential ingredients for me as a freelancer. And requires all you mention. Your posts are always spot on. Please keep ’em coming… Cheers.

    • I’m so glad to hear that, Ritchie! 😀

  14. I read this blog for tips about Divi and WordPress etc.

  15. I thought was a great post. This is a problem for many website developers.

    My wife has been after me to go to bed much earlier since I am one of those graphic and website designers that work late into the night. She is a early riser and I always felt we lost so much time together because I got up late. Also, since I am in Phoenix getting up late makes it much harder to connect with people on the east coast. Half the day is done for them.

    • That’s great to hear, John! Of course, I’ve been in the same situation, and it can certainly be a strain both personally and professionally.

  16. Wow, just what I need, another Mother. Wait, BOTH my parents understood I work better at night. Quiet. Less distractions.

    Gee, how did I become such an infamous, published, exhibited and beloved early punk rock photographer and get up at 6 AM? Oh, I slept a bit later.

    IF I am forced to wake before 8 am I AM MISERABLE.

    Coffee is TOXIC to our bones. My doctor gave me a paper about that. Causes me great distress.

    Ever consider that just maybe if you slept hours which work well for you that you don’t need that shot of caffeine? And maybe don’t need that equally toxic sugar?

    My fave way of relieving stress and sleeping well is reading in bed, drifting naturally off to sleep. Around midnight to 1 or 2 am. I naturally wake up around 9 or so.

    I manage to put in a very productive 12-14 hour work day, 7 days a week, make ALL my meals from scratch (being mostly raw foodie and 100% vegan who doesn’t eat salt and other seasonings, I kinda have to make my own meals), make art, teach online, active online life, and more. Plus I keep a very clean and organize home for myself.

    Gee, I dunno how I managed this far in my life by getting up around 9 am most mornings. AFTER I stay in bed, thinking about day ahead. OR I think about what I’m gonna do.

    A very few mornings I do jump outta bed, ready to get going. But a nice envisioning of my day, reviewing dreams and whatnot, works for me.

    I am so fed up with people insisting we get up early. You know that’s from being FARMERS. When people had to get up with the sun. Or people who have to deal with people in different time zones.

    The great part about working for ourselves is setting our own hours.

    It’s 2018. WAKE up and get real. PLS learn to meet people where they are! Accept people for how THEY live. Stop telling others how to live. There’s NO scientific basis for this crap. Just judgmental, outdated ideas.

    Elegant Themes: I love ya! I keep promoting and talking you up in FB biz groups and elsewhere. WHY are you allowing this hateful, mean post??

    The day before Thanksgiving? Grinches!!

    • And yet another person who thinks this post revolves around her. If you don’t agree, stop reading. It’s with the best of intentions.

    • Hi Jenny!
      I’m very sorry to hear that you feel that way. I want to make it clear that my intention was not to discourage or shame anybody, nor was it to claim that everybody must follow certain sleeping habits.

      Of course getting up with the sun is not possible or beneficial to everybody. However, to several people (myself included) finding a good balance can be tricky, which was something I wanted to discuss in this article.

      Finally, I want to thank you for sharing your thoughts and insights! All feedback is very appreciated. 🙂

    • Valid point Jenny 🙂

      I guess it all depends on individuals, professions, lifestyles and dispositions in general. I see little point in the “How to wake up early” post and feel it doesn’t belong on this particular blog, although it is a really good post for those who have a need for the incite, but it does not belong on this blog in my opinion. 🙂

  17. Awesome article, great tips and probably helpful for some, but is this the place for a healthy lifestyle topic! 🙂

    I’m pretty sure waking up in the morning is an involuntary automatic process providing one has had adequate sleep the night before!

    You are right, waking up with the birds at (sunrise) is pretty awesome, to the uninitiated, it would feel like the sudden addition of a few extra hours have been added to the day!

    It would be great if there were a way to simulate the addition of an extra day in the week! Adding an extra Sunday, can you imagine….

  18. I really just want to say the title of your blogs of “why you may want to or why you should” come off as very… pushy. I read the articles for good tips on WordPress not on how I should read my life. I think we get enough of that from Facebook which I stopped using because of that reason 🙁

    • Hey Darrel,

      We’ve recently added a few categories that are meant to be complimentary to our normal blog content about WordPress and Divi. Including: Business, Design, and Marketing. Within the business category we plan to write regularly on personal and professional development as these topics have proven to be helpful to so many people in the community (just check out our Divi Nation podcast!).

      Of course, not all of these posts will apply to each and every individual in the community. But many will benefit. So if one of these posts isn’t helpful to you personally, just know we’re not trying to tell you specifically to do anything. Just offering what we hope is helpful information to those who do want/need it.

      • Thank you Nathan for sharing all of that! Personally, if every post on this blog was to do with Divi and WordPress, I’d probably get bored, and the writers would probably get bored writing too! I appreciate the knowledge and experiences shared by all the writers, and the variety on here is great, and the thing is, not every blog post is going to please everyone – it’s impossible to please everyone!

        And just regarding the title of this blog post, i.e. “How to Wake Up Early (and Why You May Want to Start)” – when you actually break it down, word for word, it is purely suggestive. It suggests, “why you MAY want to start” waking up up early – it’s not telling anyone you MUST wake up early.

        I read the article, got a lot of value out of it, and, I’m taking it with a grain of salt! Nonetheless, thank you Mr John Hughes for taking the time to craft and share this blog post with us 🙂

    • same as you and Alexina, i’m here as a customer of Elegant theme, subscribed to this blog to follow the advices to how to use better Divi and make a better website but NOT to read “this”…
      I hope elegant themes will stop with it or make a possibility to unsubscribe to it while still getting the mails about what we are here for, if not i’ll unsubscribe too…

    • Agreed on every count. Also, not everyone is a morning person or is productive in the morning. Hell, I used to write my university essays at night (not last-minute, heh) because that was when my ideas were clearest. “Why you should…” works for you, not necessarily everyone else.

  19. Making your bed impeccably in the morning will start the day off with a wonderful accomplishment.

  20. In the book My Morning Routine: How Successful People Start Every Day Inspired, some of the entrepreneurs reccomend taking a shower at night instead of morning because showers are supposed to relax you which is good for bedtime. Also, if you are super productive in the morning, you could be spending that time working instead of showering. Just another perspective, thanks for the article!

    • if you take the ice-cold-shower .. you are sure you are not getting too ‘relaxed’ and you are ready for work 😉

    • How about having a shower before bed then again when you get up. Best of both worlds 🙂

    • Thank you so much for sharing that, Becca! 🙂

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