5 Strategies For Waking Up Earlier (From Someone Who Wakes Up at 3am)

“Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” – Benjamin Franklin

I don't know about you, but I love the morning. Mornings are the best time to be productive. 


Because you can spend them however you want!

You haven’t been beaten down by the stresses of the workday, you haven’t filled your body with unhealthy food or caffeine, and you haven’t been asked out for happy hour with your friends.

This is the time that you can get some serious self-improvement done.

The problem? When that alarm goes off, the last thing you’re thinking about is your long-term goals...You’re thinking about how great it would be to get more sleep!

All of the sudden, skipping today’s workout, or skipping that work you had planned, seems pretty insignificant in the grand scheme of things....

What’s one day? Plus, you can always just make up for it later, right?

We all know how this thinking usually winds up. Putting it off until tomorrow leads to putting it off again. Then we miss out on the opportunity to truly develop the habit of waking up earlier and don’t reach our goals. 

I had been through this process too many times. I would set a plan to wake up at 5am, eat a healthy breakfast, hit the gym by 6 and have a great start to the day.

It would work for a couple days–maybe even a week—but eventually there would be a day when my alarm went off and the last thing I wanted to do is leave my warm, comfortable bed. 

But in 2012 things changed...

I made another resolution to wake up at 5am, but this time it stuck. This time I was able to develop the habit of waking up early and I became extremely consistent in doing so. 

Here are the 5 things I did differently this time to wake up at 5am every day with ease:


When establishing a habit of getting up earlier, the first thing you want to do is just get your body used to it. You want to develop the habit of hearing the alarm and getting out of bed – every time.

So why not give yourself a good reason to do it?

Most people try waking up earlier so they can hit the gym in the morning. But if you hate working out, you’re doomed to eventually skip it and sleep in. [1]

Instead of this, have something fun to wake up to! Plan your favorite hobby or watch your favorite TV show first thing in the morning. Then when that alarm goes off, you’ll be excited to get out of bed and do it!


You know that strange feeling when your alarm goes off? You're may not be asleep, but it feels like you're not really awake either. 

That’s because your brain is producing “theta waves” which is a brainwave pattern that occurs between being fully asleep and fully conscious.

Because you wake up in this state, it’s much easier to hit the snooze and go right back to dream land. [2]

So, you need to do something to wake up your brain up! You want your brain to start producing “beta waves,” which is the the fully conscious state.

To do this, simply do one of the activities that people recommend you shouldn’t do before bed.

Scroll through Facebook...

Check your email.... 

Play a game on your phone...

Do ANYTHING that will get your brain to switch on to a conscious state!


We all know the benefits of eating breakfast – it really is the most important meal of the day! But to get you out of bed, simply eating a breakfast isn’t enough...you want to eat your favorite breakfast! 

When your brain anticipates a reward like delicious food, it triggers a rush of a chemical known as dopamine. [3]

Dopamine gives us motivation to act and claim the reward we want.

If your brain knows that you’re about to eat your favorite breakfast when your alarm goes off, it will trigger this dopamine release, and give you the extra motivation to get out of bed.


It’s obvious that if you want to get up earlier, you’re going to have to go to bed earlier too.

In our world of endless distractions, however, this is easier said than done. I tried a lot of tactics to help me get to sleep earlier, and the best by far was to have a set time to turn off these distractions. [4]

If you’re used to going to sleep at midnight, it’s not so easy to tell yourself to be asleep by 10:30, but you can tell yourself that you will turn off all your electronics by 10:30.

Doing so will help your brain begin to calm down and produce fewer delta waves (conscious state) and produce more theta waves (semi-conscious, sleepy state).


All of the tips above will make it easier for you to get up earlier, but none will work unless you have a great purpose for getting out of bed. You need to know deep down that you’re getting up to accomplish something important.

You’re getting up to become the person you want to become, not because of external pressures or because you think you should. A deep, passionate, purpose for getting up early will give you that extra motivation to stay consistent and meet your goals. [5]


The morning is a special time of the day. It’s the one time of the day that you have complete control over. You have a fully stocked reservoir of willpower, fewer external pressures, and more time to work toward your goals.

Doing things that you will be happy to wake up to like having your favorite breakfast, playing a game on your phone, or watching your favorite TV show; will all help you avoid hitting the snooze.

Ultimately, though, the greatest motivation will come down to your purpose. If you have a great, motivating reason to get a head start on the day, you will be far more likely to put your feet on the floor.

Rise and grind!