Sleep Health

How to Wake Up Early

How to Wake Up Early

Imagine this: Your alarm sounds off, wrangling you out of dreamland and signaling the start of a brand-new day. You groan, slap the snooze button, and burrow deeper into your cozy cocoon of blankets. Ten minutes later, the alarm blares again. Once more, you smack that snooze button. And, on and on the snooze cycle goes. 

Sound familiar?

Waking up early—or even waking up on time, for that matter—can be a struggle, especially if you don’t get a proper night’s rest. 

But time waits for no one. If you want to be the early bird that seizes the worm, here are some tips for how to wake up early and refreshed. 

#1 Aim for 7 to 8 Hours of Sleep a Night 

If you want to wake up at 5 a.m., start by reverse-engineering your bedtime or sleep pattern. 

So, how much deep sleep do you need? Experts agree that adults should aim for 7-8 hours of sleep per night for optimal health and cognitive function. But we're not just talking about any sleep—this should be quality sleep. 

A deficit in quality sleep can lead to poor focus, lowered immunity, more mood swings, and an increased risk of negative health issues. Put simply, skimping on sleep isn't just making you groggy. It could also be affecting your long-term health—and making it that much more difficult to wake up early.

So, how do you ensure quality sleep? 

Most of us go through about five or six 90-minute sleep cycle each night. Each cycle includes four stages:

  1. NREM Stage 1 – Non-rem light sleep that lasts between 1-7 minutes
  2. NREM Stage 2 – Deeper non-rem sleep that lasts between 10-25 minute
  3. NREME Stage 3 – Deepest non-rem sleep that lasts between 20-40 minutes
  4. Rapid Eye Movement (REM) – The dream state progressively increases in time throughout the night from 10 minutes to 60 minutes. 

If your goal is to wake up feeling genuinely restored, the formula for success is 5-6 full 90-minute sleep cycle each night. So, a 5 a.m. wakeup call would require a 9:30 p.m. bedtime. 

#2 Invest in a Quality Mattress 

Your bed is one of the few places in life that you should be willing to splurge on. Whether these are gel mattresses or memory foam beds, a quality mattress provides more than comfort; it's an essential investment in your sleep and health.

Do you want to know how to sleep with lower back pain? Choose the best mattress. One that is tailored to your body and sleep preferences can provide myriad benefits, including: 

  • Improved sleep quality
  • Reduced aches and pains 
  • Proper spine alignment and posture 
  • Enhanced allergy prevention

To that end, the benefits of quality sleep in a good bed can ripple into your waking life with enhanced mood, higher productivity, and even better relationships.

Find your perfect mattress match. Shop now!

#3 Don’t Wait Until Midnight to Start Winding Down

Are you a night owl who likes to burn the midnight oil, staying awake until the wee hours of the morning? 

Unfortunately, it’s not a great habit. Remember, our ancestors typically went to bed with the sunset and woke up with the sunrise. Tech and artificial lighting may trick you into thinking it's always daytime, but your body isn't fooled. It's naturally wired to mimic the sun's ebb and flow, and defying that can upset your circadian rhythm. 

Put simply, ignoring your internal clock by staying up late can wreak havoc on your mental and physical health. 

According to Dr. Matt Walker, head of Sleep and Neuroimaging Lab at UC Berkley: “When it comes to a relaxing bedtime, there’s a window of several hours—roughly between 8 PM and 12 AM—during which your brain and body have the opportunity to get all the non-REM and REM shuteye they need to function optimally.” 

#4 Don’t Abuse the Snooze! 

You may think it’s harmless to set the alarm early so that you can slap the snooze button and drift back to dreamland a few times before getting up. Think again.

These mini post-alarm catnaps may seem like a quick fix for an early morning, but they’re the sleep equivalent of junk food—satisfying in the moment, ruinous in the long run. Why? 

All that snoozing in the ideal sleeping temperature means dipping in and out of superficial sleep states, maybe even reaching the edge of a dream state. But the problem with this is your alarm cuts you off before you can complete a full sleep cycle. And each snooze disruption costs you. Instead of waking up refreshed, you're yanking yourself out of semi-deep slumbers, over and over. 

The result? 

You will wake up feeling more tired and groggy than if you had simply dragged yourself out of bed after the first alarm. 

Similarly, if you ever find yourself waking up naturally before your alarm and wondering if you should go back to sleep, don't. If there's not enough time to complete an entire sleep cycle, get up. Your body is telling you it’s ready, and you'll feel sharper for listening to it.

#5 Start Your Mornings with Water 

What’s the first thing you should reach for when you wake up? 

Hint: It’s not your phone. Nor is it coffee. The answer is water. 

Eight hours of sleep is a long time to go without hydration. Your body has spent the night repairing cells, digesting, and detoxifying. All these processes use water, which can leave you feeling dehydrated when you wake up. 

By drinking an entire glass or bottle of water the moment you wake up, you can kickstart your metabolism, hydrate your cells, and enter a fully alert state faster.

#6 Follow the 90-Minute Caffeine Rule 

If you wake up and bolt for the drip coffee, espresso machine, or tea kettle, you’re not alone. But, if you want to wake up the right way, you should fight this caffeine craving for at least 90 minutes. 

Acclaimed Stanford University neuroscientist and podcaster, Dr. Andrew Huberman, recommends that you wait a minimum of 1.5 to 2 hours after your wake-up call so that the Cortisol Awakening Response can fully kick in. 

Why’s that?

It has to do with a neurotransmitter known as adenosine, which promotes sleepiness in the brain. When you wake up, there's a buildup of adenosine. Caffeine is an adenosine antagonist. Consuming it too soon will temporarily block adenosine's effects, making you briefly alert. However, when the caffeine eventually wears off, the adenosine that’s still around binds to adenosine receptors, leading to that all-too-common afternoon crash. 

By waiting 90 minutes, you allow your body's cortisol levels to peak and decline, and the adenosine to naturally clear out, thus enhancing the effectiveness of both the body's natural alertness mechanisms and the caffeine itself.

#7 Set a Consistent Sleep and Wake Schedule 

The human body likes rhythms. In fact, it craves them. If you condition your body to expect sleep and wakefulness at consistent times, you're setting the stage for better sleep quality and higher daytime alertness. 

This brings us back to your circadian rhythm—the biological clock that tells you when to sleep, wake up, eat, and more. Mess with that clock and the ramifications ripple through your body and brain.

By going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day of the week, you allow your body to anticipate sleep and wake times, which optimizes the release of sleep-friendly hormones like melatonin while priming you to wake up refreshed and alert.

Do this consistently, and you’ll likely start to naturally wake up before your alarm clock goes off. 

#8 Avoid Screen Usage Before Bedtime 

It may be tempting to scroll through social media in the minutes leading up to bedtime, but it’s best to pump the brakes on these sleep habits. 

Screens emit blue light that tricks your brain into thinking it's daytime. This interference suppresses the production of melatonin, the hormone responsible for making you sleepy. By staring at your phone, tablet, or computer screen in the hours leading up to bedtime, you're basically telling your internal clock to hold off on winding down. 

The result is lower sleep quality and next-day fatigue. So, do yourself a favor—put down the phone an hour before bed and grab a book instead. You'll thank yourself in the morning.

#9 Get Daily Exercise 

Exercise plays a crucial role in supporting both your physical and mental health. And one of the myriad downstream benefits of daily exercise is improved sleep. When it comes to sleep, working out serves multiple functions, including:  

  • Releasing endorphins, which are natural mood lifters
  • Promoting relaxation, which helps reduce stress and anxiety 
  • Physically tiring you out, making it easier to fall into a deep, restful sleep
  • Regulating the circadian rhythm 
  • Increasing the duration of deep sleep
  • Mitigating symptoms of sleep disorder
  • Boosting overall mood and energy levels 

How much daily exercise should you aim to get? 

The CDC recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each week and two days of muscle-strengthening activities. 

Wake Up and Seize the Day with Mancini’s Sleepworld 

Now that you have the tips, it's time to put them into action. Whether it’s a consistent sleep schedule, daily exercise, caffeine timing, or even that glass of water right after you wake up, each can play a significant role in kick-starting your day the right way.

But let's circle back to where your sleep journey actually begins: the surface you're sleeping on. All these tips to wake up early won't yield the best results if you're not giving your body the proper support it needs during sleep. A quality, comfortable mattress tailored to your sleep pattern and preferences is the key to it all. 

Need help finding that perfect mattress? 

At Mancini’s Sleepworld, our mattress matchmakers can pair you with your ideal mattress so that you can have better sleep and a better life. Explore our options today to get started.


  1. NIH. Physiology, Sleep Stages.
  2. Time. What’s the Best Time to Sleep?
  3. Healthline. Should You Drink Water First Thing in the Morning?
  4. Huberman Lab Clips. How to Use Caffeine & Coffee to Improve Focus.
  5. CDC. How much physical activity do adults need?