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How To Actually Sleep Train Yourself To Wake Up Earlier In 6 Steps, From An Expert

Sarah Regan
July 20, 2022
Sarah Regan
mbg Spirituality & Relationships Editor
By Sarah Regan
mbg Spirituality & Relationships Editor
Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Editor, and a registered yoga instructor. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from SUNY Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.
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Image by Valeriy_G / iStock
July 20, 2022
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Whether you're starting a new job that requires you to get up earlier or you simply want to become a morning person, success will be determined by taking the right steps. Here are a few to get you started:


Commit to consistency.

Board-certified sleep specialist Michael J. Breus, Ph.D., tells mbg that the first thing to consider when making a change to your sleep schedule is that consistency is key. Namely, according to Breus, it takes approximately 21 days for your circadian rhythm to adjust to a new schedule. He also adds that it's not as simple as just going to bed earlier if you're used to waking up at a certain time.

"Once you find the new wake time you want to get to, you have to basically force yourself to wake up at that time for 21 days for your brain to sync that up," Breus tells mbg.


Try a sleep supplement.

One of the best ways to accomplish waking up energized and ready to tackle the day is getting quality sleep, which starts the night before. You can set yourself up for a great night's sleep with a quality sleep supplement, such as mbg's sleep support+, which includes a combination of nonhormonal ingredients to help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.* The blend contains magnesium bisglycinate, relaxing jujube, and PharmaGABA®, creating a nightly sleep aid with research-backed ingredients to enhance overall sleep quality.*


Know your chronotype.

Along with keeping your sleep and wake time consistent, Breus emphasizes the importance of knowing your chronotype. (Chronotypes describe the four main "sleep personalities"—here's our explainer if you're new to the concept.)

Because the truth is, not all of us are lions and bears (aka the early birds of the world), and trying to get yourself to become a morning person against your own nature is going to be a challenge. Still, however, it's not impossible for wolves and dolphins to bump up their sleep schedule so they're waking up a bit earlier, within reason.

Knowing your optimal wake time, Breus says, can help you be realistic about the goals you're setting for yourself, as far as when you want to wake up (and why).


Get light exposure first thing in the morning.

Anytime you're adjusting your sleep schedule, what you're really adjusting is your circadian rhythm, which is heavily influenced by light exposure. As Breus explains, getting at least 15 minutes of light first thing when you wake up (natural or not), signals to your brain that this is the time you should be waking up every day. (Again, remember consistency is key.)

"I think if everybody had a sunrise alarm clock, we'd all be in better shape," he notes, adding that if you don't have one, turning all the lights on when you wake up works too. And on top of that, if waking up earlier is your goal, you might want to ditch the blackout curtains or eye masks so your room is not dark when you wake up (which will make it more difficult to get up in the mornings).


Stop relying on caffeine.

Ironically enough, the thing we reach for to get more energy could actually be negatively affecting our sleep. As such, Breus says you'll want to nix the caffeine as much as possible while trying to adjust your schedule. "Avoid caffeine the night before, and even an entire day before, because that will help increase the likelihood of you getting better quality sleep," he tells mbg.

And to that end, he adds, alcohol negatively affects sleep as well, so skip the alcohol when you want to wake up earlier, as well.


Have an accountability partner.

And last but not least, if you have a fellow friend or family member who also shares your goal of waking up earlier, you can lean on each other as accountability partners. Breus explains that you can both take turns calling each other in the morning, motivating each other to get up and at 'em.

If that's not an option, he adds, it can be helpful to have some sort of task or chore that you have to get up for, such as taking your dog out in the morning, or scheduling appointments early in the day rather than in the afternoon.

The takeaway.

Waking up earlier is no easy feat if you're not a morning person. But while it may take some real effort to make it happen, it's not impossible. With 21 days of consistency (at least) and an arsenal of tools to help you fall asleep and wake up, you can slowly but surely get your circadian rhythm to a place you want it to be.

Sarah Regan author page.
Sarah Regan
mbg Spirituality & Relationships Editor

Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Editor, a registered yoga instructor, and an avid astrologer and tarot reader. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from State University of New York at Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.