How to Wake Up Early and Not Feel Tired or Groggy (Yes, Even You!)

How to Wake Up Early and Not Feel Tired or Groggy (Yes, Even You!)

I love waking up early. It’s one of my favorite things to do, and lucky for me, I get to do it daily. Good for me, right? You’re just here because you want to know how to wake up early and not feel tired, groggy, or drained of all your energy before you even get started for the day, amirite? πŸ™‚

The biggest piece of advice I can give you is to stick to a bedtime and wake up time schedule 7 days a week. Bedtimes are especially important, so make sure you’re in bed at the same time every night. Another thing that has helped me start waking up all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed is to stop waking up in the middle of a REM cycle. To help with this, I use a wake-up light alarm clock like this one from Amazon that I’ve been using and recommending for months.

Finally, and possibly most importantly, you must keep your attitude in check. Be a good sport when you wake up and you’ll always feel much less tired in the morning. 99% of our struggles in life start and end in our heads.

how to wake up early and not feel tired

Who Am I and Why Am I Dishing Out Advice About Waking Up Without Feeling Tired?

In the scheme of things, I’m no one special, that’s for sure. But… Someone like me is ideal for answering your question because I’m enthusiastic about waking up early (Duh! I made a whole blog about the topic…), but most importantly, because I too have been in a position where I genuinely didn’t know how to wake up feeling refreshed and energized.

I can relate to where you’re coming from and I can offer you realistic, actionable advice so you can wake up without being #tired. I practice what I preach, and as a result, wake up rather energetic every day after I got comfy in my morning routine.

I think the last time I woke up tired was when I made an exception to stay up late and drink margaritas with friends before one of them moved across the country. We went out to a bar until midnight, which is obviously wayyy past my bedtime as a 5:30am riser. I didn’t want to be a party pooper and suggest that we all meet up over tea at 6am. Nobody would’ve wanted to do that because that’s just weird and not a very fun going away party.

The fact that I was tired the morning after the party was definitely my own fault, but sometimes sacrifices must be made for social activities. As an early riser, I’ve had to force myself at times to not be a social outcast. That’s probably one of the only real disadvantages I’ve experienced so far.

The point here is that since I make the decision to go to bed at the same time 99.9% of the time, my occasional tiredness is almost always self-inflicted and can be traced to the 0.1% of times that I stayed up late or had a particularly loud neighbor. The problem is easy to identify and easy to fix. As you will read in the next section, a regular bedtime is a crucial part of the recipe for waking up alert and refreshed.

set a bedtime to avoid waking up tired

Set a Bedtime That Allows You to Get 8 Hours of Sleep and Stick to It

If you can religiously stick to the bedtime you chose, you will go very far on your quest to wake up ready to conquer the world on a daily basis. Try it out for a week and you’ll notice how much more alert and refreshed you feel upon rising in the morning. There’s a very good reason parents give kids a specific bedtime and generally make them abide by it. Why not be the same way with yourself? 

Most people don’t go to bed at the same time every night and they pay the price every morning without realizing their error. They think they’re just a bad sleeper or had too much on their mind. Sometimes those things can contribute to tiredness because they can cut into the amount of sleep you get, but I dare say it’s mostly due to an erratic bedtime.

The body loves a regular routine, including a set bedtime, so help your body out and commit to the same time each night. When you start making that set bedtime a habit, you will start waking up at about the same time in the morning (many times without an alarm.)

Also, because you’re getting up early in the morning (hopefully earlier than you used to get up!), your consistent bedtime is going to be appealing because you’ll be sleepy earlier.

The “bad sleeper” or the “overthinker” in you will shut itself off, too, because you’re sleepy. The regular bedtime and naturally-induced regular wake-up time combo essentially “flips” your tiredness. Instead of being exhausted upon waking, you’ll be exhausted at bedtime. Perfect! πŸ™‚

put away devices to avoid waking up tired

Have Some Self-Control and Put Away the Electronic Devices

Having a bright, over-stimulating device in your face just prior to bedtime is going to throw a monkey wrench into your whole routine. The blue light confuses our eyes and causes our pineal gland to slow down the production of melatonin, delaying our sleep – sometimes by hours.

Have fun lying in bed awake for hours after YouTube surfing in bed… Been there done that, and it really is no fun.

Put away your phone, tablet, or whatever electronic devices you use at least 1 hour before bedtime. Do it 1.5 to 2 hours prior if you’re hardcore like me. By 8:00pm I am usually getting worn down and exhausted, so I willingly shut off my phone. I don’t even wanna deal with it that time of night.

If you can manage to put all your devices away on time every night, you will fall asleep earlier and faster, giving you a better quality sleep that will help eliminate the tired feeling upon waking. The refreshed feeling you have the next morning is so much more rewarding than scrolling through Facebook one more time or watching just one more YouTube video. Do a test run for yourself and tell me this isn’t true. I guarantee you’ll agree with me.

We consume too much social media content already. Why sacrifice our sleep quality for it, too? It’s just not worth it.

stop watching tv before bedtime

Watching TV right before bed has the same negative effect, but it’s not quite as bad as a phone or tablet since it’s further away from your face. I still don’t recommend watching TV at bedtime either. You’re better off moving the TV out of the bedroom completely.

Try listening to music or an audiobook on an iPod without a big screen or reading a real, physical book next to your sunrise light or some other nighttime reading lamp. Sometimes I read an e-book on my Kindle Oasis E-reader (here it is if you wanna check it out).

The Oasis E-reader is the only exception I make with electronic devices before bedtime because it reads like regular paper without glare. You can also listen to audiobooks on the Oasis… pretty cool.

sunrise alarm clocks improve sleep quality

Stop Annoying Yourself

Traditional alarms are annoying. They startle me and get me in a tizzy when I wake up. Who wants to start the day that way?

Cell phone alarms are a little better because you can choose from different sounds and melodies or even add your own custom sound clips or songs, but I still feel tired when I wake up to a cell phone alarm.

Once in a while, I remember my phone’s alarm would glitch and not go off as well… Which made me late to work, I got super stressed out, and it had a negative effect on the rest of my day. That was back before I was getting up at 5:30 am, of course, when successfully getting up early was just a pipe dream. Oh, how times change. πŸ™‚

You most likely use one of those two types of alarms, so waking up groggy and feeling worse than when you went to bed might be the norm for you. 

That doesn’t have to be the case, though. You’re not supposed to be tired when you wake up – if you put some basic effort into preparing the night before. You’re supposed to feel rested and alert. Life is only as hard as you make it out to be and the same goes for taking charge of your sleep habits.

Do yourself a favor and start using a wake-up light alarm clock that simulates a sunrise inside your bedroom. I received mine (you can go here to check the latest price here) as a birthday gift, but I can safely say it has changed my life. I am gently, gradually lured awake as I complete a sleep cycle to the sound of chirping birds and a realistic, soothing light that is very much like a real sunrise.

The sunrise alarm clock provides me with a beautiful and energizing morning awakening experience that I look forward to. I don’t say this to sound cheesy; it’s a simple fact for me these days. It really does set the stage for a good day. Considering all the stress and complexity in most peoples’ lives nowadays, we need all the help we can get to be rested, energized and happy.

In my experience so far, Philips is the best brand for the sunrise alarm clocks. I tried the cheap $30 or $40 generic brand ones and they would always have a problem and end up getting chucked in the recycle bin. The light stopped working properly on one and on another one the alarm sound stopped working when I changed the wake-up time. Just another case of you get what you pay for, I suppose.

You can also use the Philips light to wind down for bedtime and simulate a sunset. I don’t use it for that purpose because I always have my lights dimmed and candles lit at night for a hygge atmosphere, but the sunset light is definitely a useful feature as long as you have your electronic devices put away. If you’re sitting there using your phone and have the sunset light on, you’re negating the sunset’s effectiveness.

improve your attitude to avoid waking up tired

Give Yourself an Attitude Adjustment

If you have a nasty attitude toward getting up early, you are going to have to fix that first. Anytime we feel negative toward something, that gets stamped onto our subconscious and affects the outcome we’re seeking. Always. Every time. No exceptions. Trust me, I’ve tried looking for loopholes and exceptions to this during my devious, “always take the shortcut” teens and 20s and it never works. You can’t fake a good attitude.

For example, if you outwardly say you want to get up early without being tired and that getting up early is the greatest thing in the world, but if deep down you resent it and don’t understand why you’d ever want to sacrifice sleep to get up early, your subconscious belief (that getting up early sucks) is going to override your superficial gung-ho affirmations. Superficial affirmations are ineffective. 

It’s common sense that getting up and starting the day earlier is great for productivity, stress management and Me Time, but it’s a whole other thing to get the subconscious mind on board with this sentiment. It takes longer for some people than it does for others.

It’s your attitude that must change if you want to make any progress with getting up early and not being miserable. And really, there’s not much I can do for you except to give you some suggestions. You have to put in the real work and change your own mind. You essentially have to sell yourself on the benefits of waking up early.

To change your attitude and mindset, you have to see the value in it. The truth is that your entire world will change for the better if you improve your attitude and take your challenges in stride. I recommend that you become patient, but firm with yourself until you change.

Once you do actually change, the whole tired thing will likely disappear, too. Tired is often just an excuse the subconscious makes for you. An ingrained habit (like the habit of assuming you are tired the second your obnoxious military style alarm wakes you up) is comfortable (AKA familiar) and doesn’t require any effort.

Because people tend to dwell on being tired and this dwelling is within the comfort zone, the feeling of being tired gets reinforced and becomes stronger than if you just ignore it.

My advice? Ignore it and just get up early. Get on with your day. Go outside and get some sunlight ASAP and you’ll feel so much more alert if you’re tired.

As long as you’re going to bed on time and getting your ~8 hours per night, the tired, groggy cloud will lift away in a few days after you get acclimated to early rising. Stick it out long enough and you’ll realize you now have more energy than ever.

Recognize that you probably won’t start loving waking up early overnight, but as you stick to a firm bedtime, use the sunrise alarm clock and recognize the beauty and possibility each morning holds, you will start to see a gradual shift in your opinion of early morning rising.

One day very soon you will realize it’s not so horrible anymore and that most days you wake up feeling great.

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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