How To Wake Up Your Inner Morning Person—Even if You Usually Have To Peel Your Eyes Open When Your Alarm Goes Off

Have you ever met someone who is so bubbly first thing in the morning that you wonder how on earth they can be so awake so early? Point blank: You’re not alone. And if you wake up feeling vaguely (or acutely) like a zombie person, you’re not wrong to wonder if there’s something you’re missing.

The good news: “The brain doesn’t just immediately jolt from a sleep state to an awake one. Instead, your brain and body need some time to awaken,” says Shelby Harris, PsyD, a sleep psychologist and clinical associate professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, who says you should assess how refreshed you feel 30 to 40 minutes after waking up.

Okay, a half hour is up—and you still feel only somewhat human? Even if it doesn’t come naturally, you’re not incapable of figuring out how to wake up energized. According to Dr. Harris, waking up your inner morning person comes down to four key pointers.

Read on for four tips for how to wake up energized.

1. Invest in a high-quality mattress

Ever tried to wake up in the morning after a night of tossing and turning? Yeah, it’s not fun. While things like eating, working out, and watching TV too closely to bedtime can impact your shut-eye, a subpar mattress could be to blame, too, says Dr. Harris.

“If you have a mattress that negatively impacts your sleep quality or quantity or leads to pain, it might make your sleep of poorer quality and make it more difficult to get up in the morning,” she says. With that in mind, Dr. Harris recommends investing in a high-quality mattress, noting that cooling materials can be especially helpful. The Tuft & Needle Original Mattress (with graphite to draw heat away from your body, plus cooling gel beads) and Mint Mattress (with even more cooling oomph, plus an extra layer of Adaptive® foam to provide just the right amount of support for two sleepers) fit the bill: Both have a 4.5-star rating from tens of thousands of happy sleepers. 

Speaking of cooling, breathable bedding like crisp percale sheets or soft linen ones go a long way. Complete your sleep-approved bed makeover with a fluffy duvet or clean, modern quilt.

2. Think about your “zeitgebers” (aka time cues)

If you’ve been sticking to the same a.m. and p.m. routines for years, it’s entirely possible that you now associate certain activities with specific times of day. “Do you do mostly alerting activities at night just before bed (e.g. TV, social media, work, emailing) and then sleepiness-inducing activities in the morning (e.g. keep the shades drawn, don’t use an alarm clock, etc.)?” Harris asks. “Think about switching up these cues to more alerting activities in the morning and quiet calm and relaxing ones at night—[ideally] without screens.”

Activities to consider for a new, calmer you: Reading, meditating, and misting your bed with a relaxing scent (the soothing lavender and frankincense of & Now to Sleep Pillow Spray works nicely). Opting for a consistent soundtrack—like the T&N + SNOOZ White Noise Machine, which offers a real fan noise without the gusts of moving air, plus an optional app that includes a remote control and timer—can let your body know it’s time to rest and drown out bothersome noise.

As for the morning, Harris recommends exposing yourself to bright light for 15 to 30 minutes to help wake your body and mind up. Another mood booster? Adding a revitalizing a.m. skin-care routine. REN Radiance Brightening Dark Circle Eye Cream and Radiance Ready Steady Glow Daily AHA Tonic work together as a bright-eyed, extra glowy wakeup call.

3. Get an actual alarm clock and ditch the phone.

Of course, before applying eye cream, you’ll need to, well, actually wake up. While some folks are naturally inclined to rise on cue without an alarm (how?), Dr. Harris is a fan of using an actual alarm clock, which requires you to be more intentional.

Even better? Today’s alarm clocks are a whole lot gentler. “Consider using a dawn simulator…that can allow the sun to ‘rise’ in your room if it is still dark out when you need to get up,” says Dr. Harris. The Loftie Alarm Clock does just that, triggering the sense of a rising sun each morning and offering white noise and sound baths to help ease you into sleep at night. Place it on the Nook Nightstand, which has you covered with handy storage and an absolutely necessary resting place for your water bottle, or the Everywhere End Table. Either way, they’re both solid hardwood so you can’t go wrong.

4. Be consistent—and remember your why. 

Sticking to the same wake time every day of the week (yes, even on the weekends) can help you on your mission for figuring out how to wake up energized. “This is crucial in my opinion to help set the sleep-wake clock (aka the circadian rhythm),” she explains. 

Becoming a morning person will not happen overnight, but change is possible. “I find it is more possible if you really have a strong reason to want to change—that helps with motivation,” says Dr. Harris, noting that it’s often life circumstances (kids, a job) that force people into new routines. If neither of those scenarios apply to you, consider other motivators like booking an a.m. workout class or walking your dog (or, heck, yourself) in the peaceful morning hours. You might just start seeing things in a whole new light.