How to Wake Up Better Even If You’re Not a Morning Person

I’ve almost always been a night owl. Starting from my school days through college, I preferred staying up late to get my studying done. Even through my adult life, my natural preference is to stay up late – be it for finishing work, or working on this blog, or just doing stuff.

I’ve tried becoming a morning person. While it doesn’t come naturally to me, enough smart people seem to attribute their (insanely) early morning wake up times to a more successful and happier life to make me want to keep attempting to transform my habits.

While I haven’t been successful yet on my mission to become a morning person, there are a couple of things I’ve learnt from my numerous attempts. Firstly, and not surprisingly, when do I wake up early with intention and a semblance of a morning routine, I tend to have much better days than usual. My productivity, my energy levels, my overall mood – everything seems to be better.

Secondly, maybe the trick isn’t so much in waking up at 5am, but rather in learning to wake up better. This was a bit of an aha moment for me, and I’ve tried working on this part of late.

Far be it from me to implore you to become a morning person, but I did want to share a few things that can help you wake up better. Because really, what’s the fun in waking up like a grumpy person each morning?

How to Wake Up Better

10 THINGS YOU SHOULD DO EVERYDAY TO WAKE UP BETTER

This is a step-by-step manual for how to wake up better and it actually starts from the afternoon before. That might sound strange, but the seeds of a better morning are in fact sown the day prior.

1| AVOID A LENGTHY AFTERNOON NAP

I will never understand why we used to hate nap time as kids, but as a full-fledged adult, I am here to tell you that an afternoon nap is one of life’s gifts that we should not pass up on when the opportunity presents itself. :P

An afternoon nap is one of my most favourite things in the world. But anything over 40-45 minutes, and I wake up as a disoriented, barely-human version of myself. And I can pretty much kiss goodbye to any hopes of sleeping at a decent hour that night.

If you struggle with this too, my advice to you would be to cut back on your afternoon nap. Make it a power nap, instead of an afternoon sleep. :)

2| PLAN YOUR MORNING THE NIGHT BEFORE

So you’re done with your afternoon nap, finished all your evening activities, and now you’re in winding down mode. Before you switch off all your planning cells, take 10-15 minutes to plan your morning and the next day.

If you’ve already got a set morning routine and plan for the day, great. If not, just take note of all the things you need to get done the next day so that you have a loose structure and you know what’s on your plate.

Constantly winging it can leave you feeling like you’re doing a lot of things but not really achieving much. Putting together a structure for the next morning and the day – no matter how loose – will allow you to relax into your night, because you won’t be playing a guessing game anymore of what all you need to get done.

3| HAVE SOMETHING TO DO IN THE MORNING THAT YOU LOOK FORWARD TO

And while you’re in the planning mode, fit in something that will give you a reason to wake up excited. Whether it’s exercise, some alone time, writing, reading, a hot cup of tea, a decadent breakfast, or pottering around your little balcony garden, find that one thing that makes you excited and that you would love to do in the mornings. Bonus points if it does not involve screens. :)

Your “exciting thing” does not have to be the same everyday. Feel free to switch it up. You don’t want this to end up feeling like another chore that you need to fit into your schedule. You just want something that you’re excited about and that you look forward to doing!

4| PREPARE FOR YOUR MORNING

Okay, you’ve put together a plan for the next morning and day. You even have something in there that you’re looking forward to. Now you just need to prepare for it.

If you’re heading to work, plan what you’re going to wear – check if everything is ironed/clean. If you’ve planning to get in a morning workout, set out your gym clothes and shoes. If you need to cook first thing, plan out your dishes, and do some prep if you can help it. You get the drift, right?

The idea is to avoid unnecessary chaos in the mornings, because constant chaos eventually leads to anxiety. The more steps you take to eliminate the headless chicken syndrome, the more peaceful your mornings will turn out to be.

5| HAVE A RELAXING NIGHT TIME ROUTINE

With a plan in place for the next morning + some prep done as well, you can (and you should) ease into a relaxing night time routine.

Whether it’s putting on some Netflix, or taking a long shower, or a mindful skincare routine, or reading in bed, do whatever it takes to help you unwind. I won’t judge you for it, but if you can avoid screens before bed, you’ll win some bonus points on the healthy lifestyle scale.

6| SLEEP AT A DECENT HOUR

You knew this was coming, right?

That being said, I am not asking you to sleep by 9pm! All I am asking for is a decent hour. And in your heart of hearts you know that 3am is not it.

You don’t need me to tell you that staying up late isn’t the most conducive to happy mornings, especially when you have adulting things to be done. Like, getting to work on time. Taking care of the kids. Exercising. Cooking. Cleaning. Or whatever else adults do in the morning!

Personally for me, I’ve realised that if I am able to sleep by midnight, my chances of waking up better and having a good morning are that much higher!

7| WAKE UP WHEN YOU SAY YOU WILL

It’s a really small thing, but starting your day off by keeping this tiny promise to yourself can set you up for a better day. It does not have to be 5am. Or even 7am. Choose the time that works best for your schedule and your day, and wake up accordingly.

8| TRY NOT TO HIT THE SNOOZE BUTTON

This used to be me not so long ago, until I realised it was not really helping me in any way.

While technically you’re giving yourself a few more minutes of precious sleep, it’s not really beneficial sleep. You’re somewhat awake from the first ring of your alarm, so you end up in this half here-half there world which doesn’t really do you much good.

So instead of setting yourself up for a groggy start, wake up at the first alarm, and then shut that thing off. You don’t have to immediately get out of bed at the sound of the alarm. It’s okay to take a few minutes before you’re willing to give up the comfort of your bed. :)

It takes a little getting used to, but reducing your dependence on the snooze button will definitely set you up for a better morning.

9| SMILE, OR SAY THANK YOU FOR A NEW DAY WHEN YOU WAKE UP

Try this for a few days and witness for yourself the difference that it makes to your day. It’s one of the simplest things you can do for yourself, but a really powerful one. It sets a positive, thankful tone to your morning, and you can carry that sense of peace in your heart throughout the day.

10| GIVE YOURSELF AT LEAST 30 MINUTES BEFORE YOU REACH FOR YOUR PHONE

The key to a happier morning – and ultimately, life – is being intentional and mindful about it. And scrolling through Instagram first thing in the morning is the exact opposite of mindfulness.

Allow yourself the luxury of starting the day on your terms and in tune with your inner needs. Even your emails can wait for 30 more minutes before you get cracking with them!


And that’s really it. The secret to waking up better is a little bit of planning and preparation the day before and starting your morning with small wins and a positive heart.

It’s not rocket science, but I know it feels daunting when you’re trying to set up a routine. Give yourself a couple of weeks with these steps and see if it does indeed work for you. Listen to the subtle cues that your body is giving you about your natural sleep/waking up rhythm. I’ve found that 7 hours and 15-30 minutes of sleep is optimal for me, so I try to plan around that.

Let me know in the comments below if this was useful for you! And feel free to chime in if you have any other suggestions on how to wake up better. Are you more of a morning person or a night owl? What does your sleep/wake up routine look like at the moment? As always, I am super curious to hear from you!

Images via The Creative Library

Hi! I am Shirsha, and welcome to Sage & Bloom. I am a textbook introvert, and a hopeless dreamer! 🌻 Lover of books, rainy days, chilled white wine, fresh flowers, and personality tests! ✨

About Sage & Bloom

At Sage & Bloom, my mission is to inspire you to find your true self, live your best life, and love yourself wholeheartedly!

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52 Comments

  1. 8.25.20

    This post is so helpful! I definitely agree with having a good night-time routine and going to sleep at a decent hour – the latter of which always being something I struggle with! Great post, as usual :)

    • 8.26.20
      Shirsha said:

      Thank you, Amy! Glad you like it. Routines do make such a difference to the quality of our lives. :)

  2. 8.25.20
    Teresa said:

    These are brilliant tips! I’ve noticed that what really made mornings bearable for me was forming a morning routine and sticking to it. For me, mornings have to be slow. If I’m in a hurry first thing in the morning the whole day is ruined. So, I wake up “early” enough that I can drink my coffee in peace while scrolling my friends’ Insta stories. It’s the loveliest way to start a day. Very simple but very effective. After that I’m ready to settle in front of my laptop and get to work :)

    Teresa Maria | Outlandish Blog

    • 8.26.20
      Shirsha said:

      That sounds so lovely, Teresa. A “slow” morning – however you define slow – can be such a gift, instead of having to rush into the first thing on your to-do list. :)

  3. 8.25.20
    Anika said:

    Having something to look forward too and winding down properly the night before makes all the difference for me! I definitely want to try out some of your other tips and tricks. Great post :)

    Anika | chaptersofmay.com

    • 8.26.20
      Shirsha said:

      It’s funny how having a reason why, even for something as basic as getting up in the morning, can make so much of a difference. :) Thank you, Anika!

  4. 8.25.20
    Jenna Von said:

    I used to be a night owl but randomly a few months ago it just changed. I go to sleep earlier and I’m up between 6:30-8am dependent what I sleep like. I like being up early as I get more done. X

    • 8.26.20
      Shirsha said:

      That’s so awesome! And yes, getting up even an hour earlier than my usual time has made so much of a difference to me as well. :)

  5. 8.25.20
    Enzo said:

    I’m not a morning person and often I struggle to wake up and feel “good”, but I think it’s a learning curve. I’ll definitely the phone one, because actually, it’s the first thing I check every morning…which is very bad lol

    • 8.26.20
      Shirsha said:

      Hahaha! That used to be the first thing that I used to do as well. Trying to be more mindful these days. :)

  6. 8.25.20
    Kayla said:

    As someone who has had problems waking up in the morning my entire life, I really needed to see this bahaha . I’ve tried so many things, even getting 8+ hours of sleep doesn’t seem to help wake me up without feeling super groggy. I try to avoid naps because I’m always scared I’m gonna overdo it and mess up my sleep schedule, but maybe trying to incorporate a small 15-30 minute nap wouldn’t hurt to try. Thank you for sharing this, very helpful!

    • 8.26.20
      Shirsha said:

      I know everyone and their uncle talks about 8 hours of sleep, but personally for me, I’ve found that 7.30 hours is my sweet spot. 8+ hours makes me feel super groggy too. You could experiment with the length of your sleep cycle and see if a slightly shorter window works better for you.

      A quick 20-30 minute always recharges me, especially if I am having a busy day and could do with a complete break.

  7. 8.25.20
    Mish said:

    These are all great tips and work really well!! Making a to do list the night before also increases productivity! Also, not hitting the snooze button is also an amazing tip! I know how hard it can be to not hit that button but it’s definitely better if you don’t and makes you less cranky!

    xx Mish | https://latteswithmish.com

    • 8.26.20
      Shirsha said:

      Yesssss, making that to-do list the night before has been a game changer, really. :)

  8. 8.25.20

    Such a relatable post. I find myself consistently struggling with this. Writing content at night has become such a bad habit. Really need to wake up early and these tips really help. Thanks for sharing!

    MagicandBliss | https://magicandbliss.com/

    • 8.26.20
      Shirsha said:

      I hear you! I used to do that too, and in fact, still do on a couple of nights. I hope these help you. :)

  9. 8.25.20
    Lucy said:

    This post has come at the right time for me, I’m about to start doing the early mornings again next week and I’m dreading them! These are all great tips and I will be trying them next week x

    Lucy | http://www.lucymary.co.uk

    • 8.26.20
      Shirsha said:

      I hope these help, Lucy. Incorporating some of these things into my routine has certainly helped me. :)

  10. 8.25.20

    This is such good advice. I’m so bad about waking up early mostly because I don’t sleep well. I have tried lately to not get on my iPad or phone before bed. Last night I got a whole 8 hours of sleep and woke up in time to get the kids online for school. My intent is always to get up quickly and get things going but inevitably something always comes up and ruins my plans. It’s a side effect of being a mom. Your life is not your own. My plan for the rest of the year is to get more done in the early mornings before my kids get up. Thanks for the great tips!

    • 8.26.20
      Shirsha said:

      I hear you. Not a parent myself but I’ve heard similar things from some of my friends. Ultimately, it all comes down to your current lifestyle, your expected lifestyle, and managing expectations. If 15 minutes of morning calm is all your current life season can afford you, that’s good too. The key is to figure out what is it that suits you best. But whether its 15 minutes of 60 minutes, a restful sleep is one of the keys to make your mornings better!

  11. 8.25.20
    Roni said:

    Well you definitely got me with the first point haha. I work shifts that start at 3/4am and I find that I always end up napping after work – no matter how hard I try to avoid it. This then affects how early I can sleep that night / the quality of the sleep x

    Roni | myelevatedexistence.com

    • 8.26.20
      Shirsha said:

      Oh gosh! Given your shift schedule, that’s totally understandable! I would definitely take a nap if I were you. :)

  12. 8.25.20

    Ah I needed this post! I am definitely not a morning person and struggle to get up. I love the idea of waking up grateful, having something to look forward to and not reaching for your phone. I need to work on those things!

    • 8.26.20
      Shirsha said:

      Hope these little tips help you, Riana. :)

  13. 8.26.20

    This was really interesting to me because I’m naturally such a night owl too. I can get up relatively easy on a morning but it definitely isn’t my favourite thing. I find not hitting snooze makes the biggest difference when it comes to having the ability to get up the right way on a morning x

    Sophie

    • 8.26.20
      Shirsha said:

      Thank you, Sophie! And yes, learning not to snooze has made such a big difference! :)

  14. 8.26.20

    Love this! I’m definitely not a morning person, I much prefer the late evenings, but planning my mornings does help a lot! Not reaching for my phone has been tough though, but I try to only look at things like Twitter and Instagram (and games on my phone), not yet to WhatsApp, since that gives me the most stress. Thank you for sharing!

    • 8.27.20
      Shirsha said:

      Oh God, WhatsApp! I find it to be a necessary evil. I mean, on the one hand it makes it so easy to stay connected with family and friends, but it can totally also be very anxiety inducing!

  15. 8.26.20

    I haven’t always been a morning person, but for a few years now I looove waking up early. And, honestly, I have learned that is so much easier for me to wake up at 5am when I have something to look forward to in the morning plus planning my morning the night before. These two things only, are making wake up time so much easier! ♥️
    Great advice and good luck! x

    • 8.27.20
      Shirsha said:

      Wow! 5am wake up time is amazing. And I totally agree – having a morning routine that I actually enjoy has such a positive impact on my ability to wake up in the mornings! :)

  16. 8.26.20
    Michelle said:

    I used to be a morning person, but then I became an adult and now I love working or reading well into the evening. Also, with lockdown, my sleeping patterns have changed somewhat because I can sleep later because I don’t have to commute to work.
    Even if I do go to bed at a decent time I do love that snooze button … I think two of the tips that I liked the most were having something to look forward to the next morning, and also leaving your cellphone alone for the first 30 minutes.

    All the best from South Africa, Michelle (michellesclutterbox.com)

    • 8.27.20
      Shirsha said:

      Hi Michelle! I am sometimes amazed that people from so many different countries are reading this little blog of mine. So, really, thank you for dropping by. :)

      My sleeping pattern has been all over the place during the lockdown, but I’ve been trying to get to sleep by midnight and it’s really making such a difference. :)

  17. 8.26.20

    I’m the worst! I’m such a chronic snooze hitter! I only allow myself to now hit it only once, but I’m working on waking up the first time my alarm rings. One thing I’ve been pretty successful with has been creating a night time routine! It really gets me ready for bed, and my body realizes it’s time to relax. Great post! xxx

    Melina | http://www.melinaelisa.com

    • 8.27.20
      Shirsha said:

      I’ve realised that carving out a routine is one of the best things we can do for ourselves. It must be feel so nice to finish the day with a relaxing routine. :)

      And thank you so much. :)

  18. 8.27.20

    I needed this post. I’m also guilty of sleeping late. I really enjoy being a night owl & I’m more productive at night too. I need to practice not hitting the snooze button. I also love your tip of having to find something to do in the morning to look forward to :)

    • 9.1.20
      Shirsha said:

      So glad you liked the post, Izzy! And yes, having something pleasant scheduled for the morning, even if it’s just a great breakfast, makes waking up so much more easier. :)

  19. 8.27.20
    Zoey said:

    Great read! I’m more of a niight owl! Although I’m slowly becoming a morning person. x

    Zoey | http://www.zoeyolivia.com

    • 9.1.20
      Shirsha said:

      I’ve resisted becoming a “morning person” for so long, but there is a definite benefit to it, I must admit. :)

  20. 8.27.20

    This is fantastic advice Shirsha! I’ve always been more of a night owl naturally as well, but I have worked jobs that required me to get up early for so many years that I have a bit of a growing fondness for mornings now.

    I 100% agree that the planning for a successful morning should start the day before. Because I’m not a natural morning person and am groggy in the AM, I try to do like you suggested and prep everything the night before – my clothes, bag, lunch etc. Then I can have a little quiet time in my morning as I kind of ease into my day (that’s the thing I look forward to). I also love your suggestion of smiling in the morning! I’ve honestly never tried that, but I do like to do my gratitude journaling in the AM to get my day started on a happy note – same idea I think. Thanks so much for these amazing tips!

    • 9.1.20
      Shirsha said:

      Gratitude journaling in the morning is a great idea. I try to do it at night usually, but I can totally see the charm of doing it in the morning as well. A little quiet time is absolutely essential for me in the mornings. I need a few moments to myself before I feel ready to take on the world. :)

      And thank you for your lovely comment. :)

  21. 8.29.20
    Alina said:

    when you said a grumpy morning person, that reminded me of myself and just like you I am a night owl. unfortunately even though the tips are amazing I’m doubtful if i can implement them, because afternoon naps are must for me. It hampers my productivity for the rest of the day.

    • 9.1.20
      Shirsha said:

      I still do afternoon naps, but just try to make them short. Otherwise I find myself wide awake at 2am, buzzing with ideas. :)

  22. 8.30.20

    Afternoon naps have become my new favorite thing lately and I really agree with the sentiment that as kids we did not appreciate the possibility. The tipps you listed are really good. A few of them I already implemented. I try to write a schedule for the next work day before leaving the desk at night. Also one thing I started early this year – no phone in the bedroom. I know it’s bee said often. But for me it was really life changing once I stuck to this habit.

    • 9.1.20
      Shirsha said:

      That’s a great habit! And I have a feeling I will struggle with it. :P

      So good to see you here, Tobia! 🤗

  23. 9.1.20

    I’m very much a morning person. I’m SO MUCH more productive in the morning and I love the peace and quiet of waking up early. I think my optimum wake up time is around 6:30. But I got up at 6 yesterday and felt amazing all day. My trouble is consistency. I really need to try and start waking up at the same time every day!

    • 9.15.20
      Shirsha said:

      There is something so calming about an early morning wake up. Like there are so many more hours in the day, all filled with so much possibility. :)

  24. 9.10.20
    Fiona said:

    I’m so glad that I’ve discovered your blog, it’s lovely. This is a fab post with some really useful tips, I am completely guilty of going straight on my phone on waking and actually pretty much winging it, which I guess isn’t the best rule to live by. I will definitely give some of the ideas a try, thank you.

    • 9.15.20
      Shirsha said:

      Thank you, Fiona. I appreciate your taking the time. :)

      I’ve definitely been in the “winging it” club for a really long time, but I’ve come to realise that even a little bit of intentional structure tends to make for a lovely start to the day.

  25. 9.18.20

    I am definitely not a morning person and these tips are really useful for me. Thanks. I love the designs and colors of your website. It is all sp pretty

    • 10.9.20
      Shirsha said:

      Glad you found them helpful, Seema. And thank you so much. :)

  26. 9.19.20
    Merry said:

    I am also a night owl and I usually sleep around 12 am or 1 am. I wake up around 7 am and I have been like this for years so I get used to it! Even though I know that’s not good for my health. I also love planning my daily tasks the night before and it’s really helpful to stay focus and productive! There are some great tips here that I need to consider as well :) Thank you!

    • 10.9.20
      Shirsha said:

      In my books, 7am is plenty early. I think you’re doing great. :)