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  • Writer's pictureEmily

How to wake up at 5 am even if you don't want to

I love waking up at 5 am. Before you click away, you should know that this is coming from a girl who used to call 2 am an early bed time. I was usually rolling out of bed around 11 am.

dog and cat snuggling in bed
Let's be can you get out of bed when this is your view??

So what changed?

A lot actually. For any of my people out there who work 9 – 5, 8 – 4 or whatever kind of set schedule where you have to be at work in the morning. It’s pretty easy to get on a better schedule after a few weeks when you’re forcing yourself to get up early.

For a long time I was waking up just early enough to quickly get ready, grab a banana for breakfast, and make it to work just before I would be marked late. I would always go to the gym right after work around 4:30 then get home by 6 pm. Then I started getting busier after work, whether it was homework, dinner, cleaning, walking the dog, working late, going to events, etc. My schedule of going to the gym after work only worked a couple days a week, but I still wanted to ensure that I was living an active lifestyle.

I had seen other people go to the gym before work, so I decided that I must be able to do that too. The thought of having afternoons to myself sounded like a dream come true. The first few times I did it, my body was so shocked at waking up early that I wasn’t even tired. By 8 pm, I was exhausted and would fall asleep much more easily than I normally would. Once it became a habit, I woke up at 5 am every morning excited to start my day at the gym. For those that live a busy lifestyle like me, it can be so nice to get your workout in early in the morning when you’re not already tired from your day. Here’s the steps I took to ensure I could wake up at 5 am.

1. Set an alarm and force yourself to get up

This sounds simple right? Of course you’re going to set an alarm. But how many of us close our eyes and think one more minute before I get up. Next thing we know it’s an hour later and we’re scrambling to get to work on time. Set an alarm that’s loud enough to be a little jarring, and spring up out of bed. Once you’re up and moving, your mind and body will wake up. You just can’t let yourself fall into the trap of resting for a few more minutes.

2. Eat right away

Someone told me this once, and to be honest, I’ve never read any scientific proof behind it, but it’s always worked for me! I used this when I was adjusting to my work schedule too, and it was extremely helpful. By eating as soon as you get up, you’re changing the time that your body expects to be fed. If you have any pets, think of how they always know what time breakfast and dinner are even though they have no concept of time and can’t read a clock. If you eat at the same time every day, you’re going to get hungry at the same time. You can condition your body to expect food at a certain time, so I always wake up hungry which is more encouragement to get up and get moving! Eating also helps me to fully wake up and gives me the energy to get moving. If you’re not used to eating early in the morning, take it really slow and simple at first with a banana or a piece of toast.

3. Plan your morning the night before

It’s really helpful for me to plan out my morning the night before by not only figuring out what I’m going to wear, what I’m going to do at the gym, what I’m going to eat, and what time I’m going to leave, but by actually packing the items I need. I always put my gym clothes on my bedside table including absolutely anything I’ll be wearing. You don’t want to be running late because you can’t find a hairtie or sock. I also pack my work clothes in my gym bag along with any toiletries and make up I need. I actually have a shower caddy with all of my shower products that I can grab in the morning. I’ll even prepare my breakfast and coffee ahead of time to make my morning routine as quick as possible.


Naps are kind of like the boyfriend you keep going back to who treats you bad. THEY’RE NOT WORTH IT. I used to only function on naps and then lie awake at night staring at the ceiling for hours. If I so much as doze off for 5 minutes, I’m screwed for that night’s sleep. While most people aren’t as affected by naps as me, they’re still messing up your sleep schedule. You will be tired in the afternoon and early evening, but if you fight that urge to close your eyes, you’ll fall asleep by 9 pm and get enough sleep for the next day. Fighting naps and forcing yourself to get up early for a few days will allow you to get on a different schedule.

5. Start with your favorite workouts

Let’s be real—if you hate running, there’s no way you’re going to start waking up at 5 am to run. The first day I woke up at 5 am to go to the gym, I did a heavy leg day which is my favorite workout to do. You can either do your favorite workout for the first few days (unless it’s heavy lifting you can’t do that consecutive days sorry!!) or you can start each workout with your favorite activity. I actually do like to run in the morning, so I start off with a ten minute run which keeps me pumped and it gets fresh air into my lungs. You can even just walk if you want! But just do something you really love to do whether it’s dancing, Zumba, weight lifting, the elliptical, swimming.

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