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How to Wake Up Early, Even After Staying Up Late

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Ottawa chapter.

If university has taught me anything, it’s the value of being able to wake up whenever you need to. Whether it’s the morning after a late night of studying, partying, or hanging out with friends, having this skill could save your life. Plus, it’s very reassuring to know that you’ll get to your class, exam, or appointment on time, no matter when you fell asleep the night before. But first, I should state that getting enough sleep is extremely important for your health overall. There have been numerous studies showing that sleep is essential for maintaining good cognitive function, a strong immune system, and a healthy weight among other things. You should be trying to get as much sleep as you can on a regular basis and if you are experiencing any long-term or chronic sleep disorder, you should have a conversation with your doctor about it.

With that being said, it’s not always possible to maintain good sleeping habits. While in a perfect world, we’d all go to bed early, make sure we get at least 8 hours of sleep a night, and be relaxed enough to fall asleep right away, the university student’s world is far from perfect. Sometimes, unavoidable situations arise that can throw our sleeping schedule out of whack. However, you don’t have to give these isolated events the power to ruin your life. Read on to find out about some of my favourite tricks that help me get out of bed in the morning!

1. Set multiple alarms on multiple devices

Repeat after me. YOU CANNOT TRUST USING ONLY YOUR PHONE. While you may have been able to rely on your phone as an alarm clock in the past, it can get you into a lot of trouble. There have been times where I’ve turned on a 7pm alarm instead of a 7am one. Also, I discovered the hard way that for some bizarre reason, the iPhone allows you to create alarms that don’t have any sound. How is that useful for anyone??? Anyways, if you thoroughly enjoy waking up to your favourite song and can’t bear the thought of being away from your phone, an easy solution is to go to your local dollar store and pick up a cheap alarm clock as a backup. For those important events that you absolutely cannot be late for, you can turn on both your phone alarm and your analog alarm clock. If your phone doesn’t go off first in the morning for whatever reason, at least your second alarm will. The best part of this is that you’ll probably find that an analog clock often works better than a fancy digital one.

2. Leave your curtains open

Ever since I had early morning figure skating practices in elementary and high school, I’ve always sprung for blackout curtains because they were so amazing at keeping out the daylight and they allowed me to take after-practice naps in peace. However, curtains that keep out light will make it much harder for you to wake up at the times that you should be waking up. If it’s already light out by the time you need to get up, use that light to your advantage! Having the light hitting your face as a signal to your brain that morning has arrived and it’s time to get your day started. The light may not be able to wake you by itself, but the sunlight-alarm clock combo is unbeatable. Plus, it’s a lot easier to ignore your alarm when you’re sleepy AND in a dark room. So try to make a point of tying back your curtains or pushing them to the side before you jump into bed. Your brain will thank you!

3. Lower your room temperature

I don’t know about you, but I have the most trouble trying to sleep when the temperature is not just right. When I feel cold, my comforter and blankets keep me warm enough with my own body heat. But when it gets too hot, I’m often up half the night, tossing and turning. And I am definitely not going to pull any sleeping position where a demon could grab my exposed foot. That being said, I recommend that in the winter, you reduce your heat to at least 19 degrees from the normal 22. In the summer, turn on a fan, open the window, and only use a light blanket if you must. Your body temperature naturally goes down during the night, which is why it’s a lot more comfortable to sleep in a cooler room. Just give it a try and you’ll see what I mean!

4. Read a book (or do some other non-tech activity)

For university students, even fiction lovers, it can be easy to forget that reading can be enjoyable. Since we often have to read never-ending pages of academic text for school, we might turn away from reading and gravitate towards watching Netflix or playing on our phones. But, as we all know, the light from our phones can make it harder for us to fall asleep at night. As much as it pained me to do this, I tried to replace my nightly screen time with a chapter or two of a non-school book and I have found that I fall asleep a lot faster! It has also reminded me that reading for leisure is fun and doesn’t remind me of school at all. If you’ve never been a bookworm, you might try sketching or writing in a journal. Anything that’s not looking at a screen really!

5. Have a non-caffeinated hot drink

At the end of a long and stressful day, a cup or two of herbal tea can help you relax and wind down. Putting the kettle on, picking out your favourite mug and selecting among various yummy tea blends can be a therapeutic process in and of itself. It’s also something that can be very easily integrated into a bedtime routine. What’s better than curling up on the couch with a book in one hand and a hot beverage in the other?

6. Stretch or do some bedtime yoga

If falling asleep fast is difficult for you, try to do some stretches or yoga just before bed to release some tension. After walking, running, sitting, and standing all day, your muscles can feel tight making it harder for you to get into a comfortable position and relax in bed. I usually do a series of stretches starting from a standing position. I slowly make my way down the length of my body until I’m seated and then lying down. If you’re not sure what kind of stretches to do, I recommend looking up the YouTube channel Yoga with Adriene. There you will find a ton of yoga “classes”, some of which are specifically aimed toward relaxation before sleeping. Or you can just do whatever feels good. Just make sure you don’t strain so hard that you’re in pain because that’s not very relaxing at all.

7. Convince yourself that you will wake up on time

Instead of worrying about sleeping through your alarm or how much sleep you would get if you fell asleep this second, think about what it will be like when you wake up exactly as your alarm goes off. Think about how it will feel to hear your alarm clock go off and open your eyes for the first time. Imagine looking at your phone and knowing that you won’t be an hour late. Stay relaxed and have faith that you will fall asleep and wake up eventually. This is truly an exercise in mind over matter.

8. Get excited about breakfast

Planning a delicious breakfast is such a great motivator for when your bed is just so comfortable that you don’t want to leave it. As much as I love sleeping in, I also love tasty breakfast food and what better way to start your day than with your favourite meal? When I’m looking forward to drinking my favourite coffee and having enough time to cook a proper breakfast, I am way more easily persuaded to get up in the morning. If all else fails, bribe yourself!

9. Get up immediately

This is an exercise in sheer willpower. The longer you stay in bed, the harder it will be to get up and stay awake. It’s extremely important that you’re jumping out of bed the second your alarm goes off. Or rolling out of bed. Or throwing yourself onto the floor. Whatever works for you! If you wear glasses, put them on right away. What’s most important here is avoiding sitting in bed, going on your phone, or telling yourself “just five more minutes”. That’s the devil talking and successful people do not have time for that. Don’t fall into the trap!

10. Drink a glass of water upon waking up

If you still feel tired after sleeping for more than 8 hours, chances are that you’re dehydrated. Before reaching for the coffee machine, try to drink some plain water first. Doing this right away can help to wake up and hydrate your whole body. What’s even better than having plain, cold water is having warm/hot water with some fresh lemon juice squeezed in. It truly is the perfect morning wake-me-up!


Sources: Image

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Cheryl Ng

U Ottawa '20

Cheryl is a third year student at the University of Ottawa studying Political Science and Communication. She is passionate about all kinds of art, but mostly writing and photography. She is an avid traveler and hopes to one day have a career that enables her adventurous spirit! Cheryl est une étudiante en troisième année à l’Université d’Ottawa. Elle étudie la science politique et la communication. Elle aime beaucoup les arts, les écrits et la photographie en particulier. Elle est une voyageuse et voudrait avoir un emploi qui comprend des occasions à voyager tout autour du monde!