Massive List of Easy Ways to Wake Up That Actually Work

Massive List of Easy Ways to Wake Up That Actually Work

If you struggle to find ways to wake up that actually work or that aren’t boring, look no further! This blog post is intended to be a massive evergreen resource that I will keep updated with all the stupid easy ways to wake up early that I can think of over time. It’s going to be a list of obvious and not-so-obvious tips and tricks that have been working for me over the course of the past few years. Comment with your own suggestions, too! I’d love to read your ideas!

If you’re looking to read all the typical ways to wake up such as going to bed at the same time every night, those will be more toward the top of this list. As my slow brain dump gets more sophisticated and creative over time, you’ll find that my more novel ideas about getting up easier will be further down on the list. Scroll down toward the middle and bottom if unconventional and maybe even downright weird appeals to you! 😉

So without further ado, let’s jump into the list of ways to wake up!


traditional ways to wake up
The Tried and True Wake-Up Methods…

Traditional Ways to Wake Up

1 – Splash cold water on your face. This tried and true way to wake yourself up is effective to the max. If you’re looking for an instant jolt to your system, this is the wake-up method for you. It works every time! Wash your face and exfoliate while you’re at it.

2 – Use an alarm. Yes, I know most people already use an alarm to wake up. Most alarms suck, though, to be perfectly honest.

Old school analog alarm clocks, more modern digital alarms, and cell phone alarms all do the job, don’t get me wrong. If the idea is to scare the heck out of you or if you are a heavy sleeper and tend to sleep through gentler alarms, then go with any one of those traditional options and wake up to the most annoying, startling alarm sound possible.

Here are my two cents regarding alarms: I successfully (and happily, I might add) use an unconventional sunrise alarm clock that eliminates the grogginess I used to feel when waking up to my cell phone alarm because it wakes me up gently and gradually. Check it out here on Amazon because that’s where you’ll find the best price.

Seriously, a sunrise simulation alarm is a must-have tool for waking up early. Out of all the ways to wake up that I suggest in this ginormous list, the sunrise alarm clock has changed my life and attitude toward early rising the most.

3 – Put the alarm (or phone) on the other side of the room. This is a very common suggestion that is on everyone’s ways to wake up list. The logic is that you are forced to get out of bed in order to turn the alarm off.

As long as you have a decent amount of self-control, this method works. It usually works for me and I can resist going back to bed, but since I’ve been using the sunrise alarm as mentioned in #2, I’ve had my alarm placed next to my bed so the sunrise effect is stronger.

4 – Make your bed. Start the day off right by getting something done right away. Even a small accomplishment like making your bed will encourage you to continue crossing things off your to-do list.

Plus, a freshly made bed will make it much more difficult to climb back into it and snooze. Making your bed makes a powerful statement to yourself that you are not allowed to get back into the bed!

5 – Brush your teeth. By doing something that requires a little bit of effort and focus, you’ll start to wake up and be less tempted to go back to bed. It’s also refreshing. 

6 – Use strong mouthwash. Antiseptic Listerine is great for waking you up. Mint or cinnamon mouthwashes work well also. I talk about mint in more detail in #12.

7 – Take a cool shower. Or, if you’re brave, take a cold shower. This is a surefire way to wake up that won’t have you running back to bed. Whatever you do – don’t take a warm or hot shower when you wake up because it will relax you and lull you back to sleep.

8 – Do some deep breathing. Including deep breathing exercises in your morning routine has benefits that are so abundant I couldn’t even begin to list them all out here.

I’ll just mention a couple benefits of early morning deep breathing:

  • It wakes up your brain for optimal clarity and concentration. This is especially useful if you plan to do any work or creative endeavors first thing in the morning.
  • It decreases stress and any feelings of overwhelm that might have hitchhiked from the previous day. Let it all go and just breathe as you welcome the new day.

9 – Go outside and take a walk or go for a run. Get your blood flowing and some fresh air in your lungs. Early morning is when the air quality is best, so take advantage of that and use the crisp, morning air to help wake you up more quickly. The walking or running movement coupled with cool air and deep breaths will get you going in a jiffy!

10 – Drink water. In fact, drink a full glass of water upon waking. Your body is dehydrated from 8+ hours of sleep, so be sure to rehydrate yourself before you go about your other morning business. 

11 – Eat citrus fruit, drink some OJ, or squeeze some citrus into your glass of water. Or all of the above! Citrus is zesty and refreshing – and it wakes you up.

Citrus scents such as lemon cause the body to produce serotonin, a hormone that makes you feel happy and alert. The citrus scent also calms you by reducing the production of the stress hormone norepinephrine. This creates a balanced sort of calm happiness that is vital for morning success.  

12 – Consume or smell something minty. This can be anything: gum, a mint, a candy cane, essential oil, lip balm, shower with mint shower gel or soap, an actual sprig of mint in your water… You get the idea. Mint wakes up the senses, and as a result, wakes you up! OMG, this botanical mint body wash is heavenly… If you enjoy mint, you will want to check it out.

Or if you’re looking for a super high-quality mint shampoo that will wake you up, take a look at this one. I like it way better than any other salon brand I’ve tried in the past.

For the guys, this Time to Energize kit is highly recommended. It includes extremely high-quality herbal cleansing gel, shaving cream, and after-shave at a great price.

13 – Eat some protein. Protein is a great way to wake up that allows your body to synthesize the enzymes that signal to your brain that it’s time to wake up and be alert.

Some morning protein suggestions: A protein bar, protein shake, protein smoothie, eggs, yogurt (strawberry granola parfait perhaps?), cottage cheese, peanut butter, protein pancakes… Google some recipes and you’ll be golden.

14 – Drink coffee or tea. Meh. For very personal reasons, which you can read about in this blog post, I am not an advocate for consuming caffeine on a regular basis. However, there is no denying that coffee and tea are very effective, traditional ways to wake up. I reluctantly have them on this list because they work and many people rely on one or both. 

15 – Aromatherapy. Citrus or minty essential oils are best for the morning. Avoid lavender essential oil in the morning because it will make you sleepy. Save lavender for bedtime.

Dab on or spray on some essential oil on your wrists, neck, and/or your upper lip for an energizing aromatherapy session. 

You can also use a tea light holder to heat up and burn off your essential oil scent mixed with a little water in the dish.

An essential oil diffuser is a great option, too. This is my absolute favorite essential oil diffuser, after trying many. It’s an appealing balance of price and functionality.

16 – Candles. This is similar to aromatherapy, except it involves burning candles – not essential oil. A lovely scented candle (especially citrus or mint) is an enjoyable way to wake up and start the day.

17 – Incense. Incense sticks (or cones) are also similar to aromatherapy in the sense that they involve burning a scent. There are many attractive, energizing incense scents available.

For example, these Japanese incense sticks from Amazon are a joy to experience in the morning. I’ll burn one from time to time and it always wakes me up.

18 – Eat some dark chocolate. 90% cacao is best (and healthiest). In addition to being delicious and healthy, eating a couple bites of dark chocolate will wake you up due to its caffeine and sugar content. I wouldn’t do this one every day, but once in a while doesn’t hurt.

19 – Sleep with the blinds or curtains open. This is a viable option if you don’t live in a city with bright lights next to the window that would prevent you from falling asleep. If you live in a city that has no regard for your bedtime like most of us do, check out #29 on this list for a nifty way to automate your blinds with a simple Amazon product.

20 – Exercise at a high intensity for a minute or two. Once you get started, you might even feel like continuing for longer and taking it outside to combine with #9.

Some suggestions: jumping jacks, high knees, jump squats, burpees, jump roping, kettlebell swings, push-ups, pull-ups. It really doesn’t matter which exercise you choose as long as it keeps you moving continuously for a couple of minutes.

21 – Stretch for a few minutes. 5 or 10 minutes is good. It’s important to get out of bed to do your stretching. Do it standing up at first, then sit on the floor to stretch. Kelli from Fitness Blender nails it in this quick 5-minute stretching video.

22 – Do yoga or pilates. There are a lot of great free YouTube videos that can guide you through a killer yoga or pilates routine that will wake you up and make you more flexible. This quick 5-minute yoga routine from Yoga with Adriene fits the bill.

23 – Abide by a strict bedtime. Waking up in the morning in a timely fashion really starts the night before. If you always go to bed at the same time every night, you will be able to get up easier, earlier, and feel more rested on a consistent basis. Don’t underestimate the power of this way to wake up; it’s one of my secret weapons.

24 – Get a cat. He or she will gladly jump on top of you every morning (sometimes at an obscene hour) and make sure you wake up to serve up breakfast. If you’re not up for the increased responsibility of a dog, then getting a cat is a great alternative and yet another excellent way to wake up.

25 – Get a dog. Dogs aren’t usually known to wake you up early (at least mine never have), but you do have a responsibility to get up early for their morning walk. Having a dog can be a great way to wake up (and fit in some exercise!)

These 3 keep me pretty busy. Our walks are one of my favorite ways to wake up. 🙂

Sorry if the following is preachy, but I have to say it because I am a dog lover: Only get a dog if you’re willing and able to take on the huge responsibility with a caring heart and are available to walk them a few times a day. Having a dog is almost as much of a responsibility as having a child.


unconventional ways to wake up
Not Your Typical Ways to Wake Up…

Unconventional Ways to Wake Up

26 – Drink coconut water. Packed with potassium that allows your body to efficiently convert carbs into energy, coconut water is a fantastic lesser-known caffeine alternative that is super refreshing and will wake you up and get you ready for the day. 

27 – Drink yerba mate. This South American way to wake up contains caffeine, but it doesn’t give you the jitters like coffee is known to do. It gives you more of a natural, mellow type of energy boost – if that makes sense. Give it a try for yourself to understand what I mean.

28 – Schedule a free wake-up call. Sometimes alarm clocks just don’t do the trick. Pretend you use a hotel concierge service (fancy!) and wake up to a phone call.

There are some websites out there like this one or this one that let you enter your phone number and schedule a wake-up call. The second link even has the ability to upload an MP3 audio file that will play a custom wake up message for you.   

29 – Automatically open your blinds just prior to your wake-up time so the sunlight will wake you up. This MySmartBlinds Automation Kit from Amazon affordably turns any blinds into smart blinds that open or close at a specific time. You can operate and adjust the settings with your smartphone.

30 – Put your lights on a timer. Bright lights don’t help when you’re trying to fall asleep, but they certainly do help when you’re trying to wake up!

31 – Use eye drops like these high quality glycerin-free preservative-free ones on Amazon that are so much cheaper than comparable single-use preservative-free eye drops.

Sometimes your eyes can be dry when you wake up and these particular eye drops are the only ones I buy now. Because the bottle has a special filter to keep the drops from getting contaminated, you have to squeeze a bit harder than normal, but it’s worth it. 

32 – Hold the famous Downward-Facing Dog yoga pose for as long as you can handle the blood rushing to your head. That’ll wake you up! 30 to 60 seconds is sufficient. This Wikipedia article shows you how to do the Downward dog pose.

If Downward Dog is too intimidating, you could always just touch your toes and hold your head upside down if you prefer.

Who needs to be fancy when you’re just trying to come up with ways to wake up any old way? Heck, hang your head upside down however you can manage! 🙂

33 – Find an app to help you wake up. I highly recommend that you don’t have your phone next to you in bed, but if you use it as an alarm clock it still needs to be in the same room so you can hear it.

With that said, do know that there are plenty of apps available for both Android and iOS that will provide creative ways to wake up that actually work.

There are several apps that present you with various challenges (such as a math puzzle) in order to turn off the alarm and many of them do not allow you to snooze the alarm, which is good if it’s your goal to stop hitting the snooze button.

One of the apps on that list called Sleep Cycle tracks your sleep patterns throughout the night when you place your phone face down on the mattress next to you. It gently wakes you up within a 30-minute window when you enter the REM (light) phase of your sleep cycle.

This app is good (yes, I have tried it before) and it reduces grogginess, but I hesitate to recommend it if you are not yet disciplined enough to restrain from using your phone when you know it’s next to you.

As I’ve mentioned many times on this blog, stop using all electronic devices at least an hour before bedtime.

34 – Write 3 pages. Keep a legal pad and pen on your nightstand and write until you fill up 3 pages as soon as you wake up and turn on the light. It doesn’t matter what you write or if it even makes much sense – it just matters that you write it out by hand.

Simply write what you are thinking and feeling at that moment; ramble if you want. This exercise, called Morning Pages, was created by Julia Cameron.

The beauty of writing 3 Morning Pages every morning is two-fold: 1.) it’s an effective way to wake up because it requires concentration and self-reflection, and 2.) it clears your mind immediately upon waking so that you can make headspace for the rest of your day.

35 – Schedule something official for work that starts early. This could be a meeting you have to rush into the office for early – or a video conference you do from home, for example. Either way, you’ll be very incentivized to wake up so you don’t look irresponsible or get fired. A healthy dose of fear in the morning always does the trick to wake you up! 

36 – Set up a fun early morning meeting with a friend or family member outside of the house. This should be something you look forward to. It happens to be an awesome way to wake up.

You’ll be enthusiastic to face the day, and you won’t want to let the other person down, so you’ll make it to the meeting alert and on time without problems. This could be anything from talking over coffee at a coffee shop to having breakfast at your favorite diner, or even an early morning fishing trip if you’re into that.

Do whatever is fun for your entire group. The key to making this way to wake up work is that it must be appealing to you or else you’ll call them to cancel and roll over to go back to sleep.

37 – Train yourself to wake up automatically without an alarm clock (or anything else for that matter!) I talk about how to get up early without an alarm clock in detail in this blog post. Training yourself to do this is easier than you think.

Just master wake-up tip #23 (same bedtime every night) and you’ll find that within a few days, you will start waking up around the same time every morning. Even though your inner alarm clock is reliable and accurate, you still might want to set a backup alarm, just in case.

38 – Wake up with gratitude. Immediately upon waking, list out the things you are thankful for – either iterate through those things in your head or write them down. If you decide to write them out, you can make this exercise part of your 3 Morning Pages for #34.

Waking up with a heart full of gratitude is one of the best ways to wake up – if not the best way! Taking a few moments each day to be thankful for your life and the people in your life will improve your mornings (and your life in general) exponentially within a very short time.

I always look forward to doing this every morning when I wake up. I quite literally count my blessings in a notebook – everything from the big (family) to the small (stumbling upon the perfect gift for someone who is difficult to shop for), etc.

It’s amazing just how much I have to be thankful for – and I’m sure you will discover the same thing once you start taking stock of your own blessings.

39 – Rub your hands together and cover your eyes while gently rubbing across your eyes with your fingers. Sadhguru taught me this way to wake up in the YouTube video below. I tried it and it works really well. I now do it right before I crawl out of bed in the morning because my eyes frequently feel tired and painful when I wake up.

At the 10:17 mark, Sadhguru demonstrates this awesome way to wake up and the logic behind it!

weird ways to wake up
Ways to Wake Up That Are Wayyy Out in Left Field… When nothing else works…

Weird Ways to Wake Up

40 – Use Clocky, the alarm clock on wheels. Link here if you’re curious what the heck this is. This alarm clock can jump off night stands as high as 3 feet and can wheel itself all around your bedroom, bumping into objects and changing direction, making it difficult to catch. Now you can wake up and literally chase your alarm clock around the room.

I don’t know about you, but chasing an alarm clock around my room would definitely wake me up in the morning… It could be annoying after a few mornings, but there’s no doubt in my mind that it works.

41 – Spray yourself in the face with water. Keep a spray bottle filled with water on your nightstand, within an arm’s reach. When your alarm goes off, proceed with spraying yourself in the face. Who would really want to spray him or herself in the face – especially first thing in the morning? That’s why spraying yourself in the face is in the weird ways to wake up section! It’s pretty strange, but I imagine it would work like a charm. 😉

42 – Jump on your bed like a little kid. Okay, this probably won’t work if you sleep in the bed with someone else, but if you sleep solo, give it a shot! All the 3-year-olds around the world recommend it! Just don’t break your mattress or fall off the bed… or hit your head on the ceiling… because ouch. 🙁

43 – Open the freezer door and stick your head inside for about a minute. Putting your head inside the freezer is a surefire way to wake you up, you morning zombie! 🙂

44 – Suck on some ice. Speaking of the freezer, while your head is inside, grab an ice cube and place it inside your mouth until it melts. Ice will wake you up without fail!

45 – Set your Apache Alarm Clock. We all have one! Never heard of it? I’m not surprised. You might know it as your bladder.

Allegedly, this was a method used by Apache warriors to stealthily and quickly wake up early to prepare for pre-dawn raids.

How does it work? They would chug a bunch of water just prior to going to bed and their bladders would serve as a silent, reliable alarm clock a few hours later.

If you want to try this, down 2 liters of water, go to sleep, and you’ll urgently wake up about 6-ish hours later to pee. Setting your Apache alarm clock is a guaranteed way to wake up that will get you out of bed in a hurry!


So there you have it! My list of the best ways to wake up ranging from normal to weird. I hope you can find something on the list that will work for you. Thanks for reading! 

I will continue adding to these ways to wake up as I think of more. Stay tuned… 

Last updated February 15, 2019 – 45 ways to wake up and counting…!

I'm the owner of WhyGetUpEarly.com and an enthusiastic early riser. Let's discuss why that is... and maybe I can make you a believer in magical mornings as well!

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