You might have been working on the Wake Early Habit for a few weeks, but many of have had some difficulties. That’s completely normal.

I’m here to help with some of the best tips I’ve found for creating the Wake Early Habit and overcoming common problems.

Please note that you shouldn’t try to implement these tips all at once. I’ve just compiled some good ideas that you can try, one at a time, if they appeal to you, to see what works and what doesn’t.

So don’t be overwhelmed — you can just try one and see how it fits into your habit.

Bedtime Tips

My favorite tips for going to sleep:

  1. Abstain from caffeine for at least 4-5 hours, if not 6, before bedtime.
  2. Make sure the room is dark when you go to sleep. No screens for at least an hour before bed.
  3. Give yourself a couple hours to slow down and relax before bedtime if you have an active mind that doesn’t want to go to sleep.
  4. Don’t exercise before bed. However, exercise does help a lot to help you feel tired at bedtime, if you do it earlier in the day (not right before bed). It gets your body nice and tired, so you’ll sleep better.
  5. Before you go to bed, think of something you’ll be excited to do in the morning.
  6. Try meditating in bed to help slow your mind down, lying down with your eyes closed. Just focus your attention on your breath and body for as long as you can, returning to these two things when your mind wanders.
  7. Another meditation to try: with your eyes closed, ready for sleep, think about the first action you took this morning (getting up out of bed), then the second (walking to the bathroom, for example), then the third (going pee), and so on. One at a time, in detail. I usually fall asleep before I get to mid-morning.
  8. Slowly adjust your bedtime — just 10 minutes earlier at a time, waiting until that feels normal before moving it another 10 minutes. This is a gentle process that isn’t as difficult to implement.

Waketime Tips

My favorite tips for wakeup time:

  1. Turn off your alarm (which should be across the room) and have an action you do immediately afterward without having to think about it. For me, that’s going to pee and then having a glass of water downstairs.
  2. If you’re groggy, move around a little bit. Don’t lie down or sit yet — once the blood gets flowing, you’ll feel a bit more awake. If you get groggy again, do some pushups or bodyweight squats or yoga poses until you feel awake.
  3. Set two alarms if you tend to press the snooze button– and they should be a couple minutes apart and not close to each other.
  4. Expose yourself to light upon waking.
  5. Take a hot & cold shower soon after waking if you have trouble waking up. Alternate temperatures.
  6. Have a glass of water to hydrate you (being dehydrated makes you feel sleepy). Then some coffee or caffeinated tea.
  7. Wake up a little earlier, gradually changing your wake up time. Slower is better, and a little at a time adds up to a lot over time.
  8. Jump out of bed.With enthusiasm. Jump up and spread your arms wide as if to say, “Yes! I am alive! Ready to tackle the day with open arms and the gusto of a driven maniac.”
  9. Simplify your morning routine. Don’t have a ton of things to do. Just 2-3 things. And make them things you’ll look forward to, not dread.
  10. Practice getting right out of bed. Master early riser Steve Pavlina recommends practicing getting right out of bed, when you’re not tired. Yes, it sounds weird but it’s pretty smart.
  11. Give yourself time to adjust. You might have sleep problems at first, as you change your sleep pattern, but that’s normal. After a couple of weeks, things will smooth out.
  12. In the meantime, take a short nap, to get you through the tiredness you might be feeling. I like to take a 20-30-minute nap in the afternoon when I get tired. It’s a stopgap measure that helps me when I’m not quite adjusted to a new sleeping pattern. Also, naps are nice.
  13. As with slowly adjusting your bedtime at night, slowly adjust your wake time, just 10 minutes at a time.