How to Rise Earlier as a Night Owl

Admittedly, getting up early is not for everyone, but sometimes it is essential to success.

I’ll let you in on a secret; I’m naturally a night owl. Nonetheless, I write this article at 7am, because I’ve managed to train myself to get up and be productive at an early hour, when I’m naturally inclined to stay up working into the hours Edgar Allen Poe would consider delightful.

As a freelance writer and a traveler, I’ve learned to adapt to several time zones and round-the-clock deadlines. Not even a magic potion (ahem, coffee) can teach you this habit, but it might just help a bit.

So, even if you think that the morning sucks and would much rather pull the covers over your head until noon, there are several ways that you can deceive yourself into getting up early.

Here are a few tricks that I’ve learned over the years, aiding me in rising early even if I’ve gone to bed late and really don’t want to get up:

Power up with nutrition

The things we eat have great effects on our overall health. If you’re healthy, you’ll likely get quality sleep. And if you get proper sleep, you’re more likely to go about your day with a lot more motivation.

While I’m not here to tell you what a healthy diet consists of, I will tell you, that if you want to get up early you should limit your consumption of sugars at night. These can be found in desserts, soda, and alcohol. Sugars give you energy, and are prone to wake you up during the middle of the night, making you lethargic in the morning.

Stabilize with exercise

Along with nutrition, exercise is also very crucial to our physical and mental health.

Whether you decide to run, bike, or swim, moving your body not only helps you keep fit, but it also keeps your blood flowing. Circulation within the brain helps to keep you sharp, and also for production of things like melatonin and acetylcholine — aiding in your ability to fall asleep and wake up — to function properly. If you want to get into the particulars, check out this article by Dr. Michael Roizen.


Have you ever felt so exhausted that you couldn’t fall asleep? Or had the most difficult day at work only to have pestering thoughts bouncing around your mind as you lay down to bed? Well, you’re not the only one. Our days can be overwhelming, and sometimes it’s difficult to process what is going on in our lives.

This spills not only into the act of falling asleep, but into our subconscious as we sleep. Either way, it’s not conducive to getting up early when you awake feeling like a cast member of “The Walking Dead.” If you have serious trouble sleeping, you should first consult a doctor.

However, a natural way to sooth these thoughts is to practice meditation. Like anything else, it takes a while to get the hang of it, but its benefits are manifold. By centering yourself and coming to peace with what’s transpired in your daily life, you are much more likely to sleep well, and rise in the morning with a positive attitude, ready to tackle any challenges that may be thrown your way. If you don’t know where to start, check out Buddhist monk Thich Nat Han’s five simple approaches to meditation.

Motivate and reward

Remember when you used to get a star for turning in your homework, or candy for good behavior? Well, we all something to look forward to, even in our adult years. I regularly use a reward system to motivate myself, whether it be buying a new book or a weekend in the woods if I’ve achieved my weekly/monthly goals.

Everyone has their own pleasures, and we all need to treat ourselves, whether this involves a donut, a concert at the end of the month, or a weekly massage. And so, if you’re able to discipline yourself to get up early in the morning, you allow yourself that reward. If not, you go without.

A favorite instant-gratification reward I love is watching the sunrise. And hey, you can’t see the sun rise at noon.

Re-think your morning alarm

If you’re trying all of the above and you still can’t wake up early, maybe you need to rethink your alarm clock system. Some people are lucky enough to wake up with their internal clock, but not everyone has that gift. If you’re relying on your cell phone as an alarm, you might want to invest in a proper alarm. Cell phones get lost under the covers, the batteries die, and their snooze buttons are lethal.

Purchase a proper alarm clock that lets you decide how you want to wake up — to music, obnoxious beeping, or a recorded message. Turn the volume way up and make sure to place it far out of reach. Once you’re up and on your feet, it’s a lot easier to say no to crawling back into bed. Moving around will also increase your circulation, and also your alertness.

A great alarm clock I’ve used, that is also very affordable, is the iLuv Time Shaker. It has a device you place under your pillow that vibrates when your alarm goes off, and it is super effective. If you have a Fitbit, it also has a similar vibration alarm. Using multi-sensory stimuli makes sleeping through the snooze button much more difficult.

Get clear on your why

Why are you getting up early? To work on a passion project? Get in better physical shape? Pursue higher education? In the moment, it’s easy to stay “in the now” and hit the snooze button. But when you focus on long-term goals, it pulls the significance of your moment-by-moment choices into focus.

When you focus on long-term goals, it pulls the significance of your moment-by-moment choices into focus. Click To Tweet

Pull the trigger

Overall, there are many ways to get up early. Some may not be as pleasant as others, and some might not be quick fixes, but these tips will assist you in making the most out of your day. If they’ve helped an anti-morning person like me, they’ll surely do wonders for you!

Do you have any tricks you use to help yourself get up earlier? Share them in the comments below!