Confession – I am the worst snoozer on the planet. I used to have 3-4 alarms set to wake up during my high school days, and in college, the easiest way to get out of bed was to see how long I could stay there until I HAD to get up. It was no good at ages 16/17, and it wasn’t the best way to make it through each semester, either.

I know this to be true, but that truth alone doesn’t make morning grogginess any easier.

In fact, here I am some years later, and the snooze button and I still have an on and off relationship. The difference is these days, I’m better at waking up without it than with it. We’re more like distant friends now than an unhealthy dependent relationship.

I’ll still touch base with this old “friend” every once in a while. More often than not, though, I stick to three simple rules that have progressively gotten me from tossing and turning in the morning to totally taking on my day.

Here they are.

1. Create a Bedtime Routine

Turns out, the secret to my not-so-easy mornings had nothing to do with the way I slept or even the hour at which I fell asleep (because that was around the same time most nights). A big reason why waking up took so long every day was actually because I had no way of winding down before bed. I mean, I thought I did, but there was no structure.

Some nights I would take a long shower, sometimes I would watch an excessive amount of Friends, sometimes I’d eat dinner and head straight to bed. Maaaybe, every once in a while, I’d do some gentle yoga.

The clear lack of consistency in the hours before going to sleep made waking up in the mornings harder than it needed to be. Once I noticed this, everything changed. I started hitting snooze less and less, mostly because I discovered how to properly get my mind and body ready for bed.

A nighttime routine looks different for everyone, there’s no secret to creating one that’s better than another. The key is to realize that everyone should have some sort of system to let go of their day and enter a state of relaxation.

For me, this looks like:

  • making sure all the dishes are done (studio living at its finest)

  • doing my nightly skin care treatment

  • taking a look at my to-do’s for the next day

  • getting into bed, reading a bit, and setting my alarm

By the way, most of the time, I only set one alarm now! This lets me sleep until the time I actually need to wake up, rather than fighting with multiple different morning alarms.

Try coming up with a night time routine of your own and stick to it for a week or so. After you attempt one version of pre-bedtime activities, try a variation until you come up with a routine that is just right.

2. Do Something Just for You

Have you ever wanted to steal a few extra minutes in bed just because you knew there was a long day waiting ahead?

This happens to the best of us. But, there’s a simple trick you can do in the morning that improves how the rest of your day goes: wake up well before your day starts and do something just for you. This time can be used for anything you want. Maybe you actually take a moment to enjoy your coffee and do some reading. Maybe you use it to grow in your spirituality and consciousness. Maybe you work out, maybe you cook a full breakfast, maybe you go for a walk and let your thoughts come and go.

However you choose to use this precious time in the morning, remember, it’s all about you. Giving yourself such a treat to wake up to not only makes it easier to actually get out of bed but also puts you in great spirits to go about your day.

Personally, breakfast is a must. I make a full breakfast first thing in the morning, then use the time while eating to wake my mind up or catch up on messages/emails.

3. MOVE!

Speaking of doing something just for you, sometimes, what you need to do the most is the activity that requires more motivation than normal – like working out as soon as you wake up.

Scheduling your workout in the morning means you have to get up if you want to get it done. The longer you press snooze in this case, the more you cut into precious time to work on yourself, and if you’re going to go to the gym, you may as well make it count.

Not to mention, getting some blood pumping in the morning gives you a boost of energy that lasts all day long. In the best situations, a good workout may even be enough to replace your morning coffee!

Whether you’re hitting the treadmill, working on your form with the weights, or taking an early morning class, you’re sure to feel the benefits of a morning workout throughout the day. Plus, once you get into the groove of going to the gym in the morning, waking up becomes much easier.

I love love love a good yoga high. But in the mornings, the best way I move is a gentle warm up doing some sort of cardio in the gym, followed by a series of weights meant to make me focus on those mind-to-muscle skills. 

It’s all connected.

Transforming your mornings begin by being mindful of your current snoozing habits and working to improve them little by little. You won’t go from chronic snoozer to an early riser overnight. In fact, you probably won’t accomplish this in just one week of trying the tips above.

But, in due time, you’ll be realizing that mornings aren’t as hard to manage as some people crack them up to be. Who knows, you may even enjoy waking up much more than you ever thought you would!