Learning how to wake up early and not feel tired can be a complete game changer for any mom!
Before we even get started, just let me tell you that I KNOW how hard it can be to wake up early and not feel tired.
But looking back on my 14+ years of motherhood, if there is one habit I wish I would have formed earlier it is this one!
There are countless sources that describe the benefits of waking up early. I especially like this article from Sleep Advisor that focuses on the physical, mental, and emotional benefits of waking up early.
The Struggle to Wake Up Early and Not Feel Tired
For YEARS I wanted to start waking up before my kids, but no matter how hard I tried, I just. Couldn’t. Do. It.
I’d succeed for a day or two, but after a late night I’d be back to my usual rut of staying in bed until I heard little voices politely
asking for demanding breakfast.
For the rest of the day, my life revolved around meeting one demand after the next. “Read this story,” “Wipe my butt,” “I need a snack,” “Play with me,” “Get my toys,” “Find my shoes,” ….. on and on and on.
You know that when we scramble to meet everyone else’s needs all day long, it’s very difficult to feel accomplished or fulfilled at the end of the day.
Too often we fall into bed at night feeling exhausted and overwhelmed.
And then we get up, only to struggle through the exact same routine the next day. Ugh.
No wonder moms feel like they don’t have the energy or time to take a shower and get dressed! (Read this here for more on the importance of getting dressed everyday.)
How do we ever feel like we’re in control of our days?
The answer: Wake up early – before your kids
Like so many things in life, I knew the answer to this problem before I was willing to admit it.
I NEEDED to figure out how to wake up early (and not feel tired) everyday.
If I could eke out an extra hour or two before the demands came rolling in, I’d feel so much more productive with my days.
Focusing on conquering the morning – instead of the entire day – makes life so much easier for moms!
Waking up early and gaining a few simple victories in the morning can help us carry positive vibes with us as we confront whatever the day might have in store.
If you want to get super productive as a mom, grab my free Productivity Printable Pack for Moms! It’s full of great downloads to help you plan your menus, shopping, laundry and cleaning schedules – and more!
Creating an early morning wake up routine
In the beginning, I started setting my alarm for 5:30 am. Ouch. I’m not gonna lie, the first week hurt.
But I was able to pull myself out of bed because I had a list of five things I wanted to do before the kids woke up:
- Pray sincerely
- Read scripture
- Shower and listen to audios/podcasts
- Get dressed and ready
Writing out my morning tasks got me really excited about how accomplished I’d feel if I could just do it!
I was tired on Day One, but I went to bed a bit earlier than I normally would, and I woke up again on Day Two.
Getting My Kids On Board
I’ll be totally honest with you and tell you that I didn’t succeed everyday.
My early riser kids would often wake up before I made it all the way through my list.
But I’d take a minute to get them some breakfast and get right back to my new routine.
Sometimes I’d have my kids workout with me, sometimes I’d let them climb into my freshly made bed if they were still sleepy, sometimes I’d tell them to go get some books to read.
But here’s the thing: I persisted.
I got really good at telling my kids, “This is Mommy’s time in the morning. I love you and I’m glad you’re awake. I’ll get you some breakfast and then I’m going back to my finish my routine.”
Even my three year old caught onto this within a few weeks. As long as she had some food in her belly, and knew that I’d read her a story when I finished, she was pretty much on board.
It took commitment from me to show them that I was doing this! (For a few insights on how to communicate with toddlers, read this. It’s like magic!)
Now that I’m eighteen months into being a morning person, I’ve learned a few secrets that might help you to wake up early and not feel tired everyday.
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Secret #1: the wake up alarm
One of the first things I did to start waking up early and not feel tired was to buy a sunrise alarm like this.
Basically it’s a light that turns on 30 minutes before my alarm goes off and gradually lights the room.
It’s meant to simulate the sun rising outside, which is great for overcoming the tendency to stay in bed.
While the sunrise alarm is great, I also highly recommend setting your phone alarm.
Once your phone alarm is set, be sure to put your phone all the way across the room from where you sleep.
This means that you now have to GET OUT OF BED and walk across the room to turn it off!
And once you’re out of bed, stay out!
Wake up early secret #2: make your bed
As soon as you are out of bed, its’ time to pull up the covers and put the pillows back in place.
In less than one minute, you can accomplish something positive by making your bed.
Even if my hubs in still in the bed (which is unusual, because he has early flights almost every morning), I still make my half of it.
There’s no way I’m gonna crawl back in and undo my own work, right?!
The power of making your bed is HUGE. You can let this one simple action serve as a major psychological win for your day.
No matter what else happens, you know that you’ve done at least ONE small thing to organize your life and your home.
Check out this speech by Navy SEAL Admiral McRaven about the power of making the bed every morning if you’re unconvinced.
Even if you’re waking up early for a crying baby, go ahead and make your bed. Your baby will be okay for a minute while you make the bed. I’m serious.
Secret #3: drink water and change out of your PJs
As soon as you shuffle out of bed to turn off your alarm, keep right on shuffling out to the kitchen for a fresh drink of cold water.
This will wake up your brain and get you on the path to hydration, both BIG wins to get your morning off to a great, lively start.
Next, change out of your pajamas.
I change into my workout clothes, which I set out the night before. I don’t always workout right away (more on that in a minute), but switching out of my PJs has me feeling awake and ready to DO something with my day.
Wake up early secret #4: create novelty
One thing HUGE thing I’ve learned is that moms need novelty.
I keep the same 5 things on my morning routine list everyday. But I mix the order up a bit so I don’t get bored by doing them exactly the same.
Because if we do one boring thing, we’re likely to fall asleep doing it!
For example, I was in the pattern of praying and reading scripture at the dining room table.
After a few months, I kept falling asleep as I knelt by the chair to pray or I’d wake up with my face smashed against the table while “reading.”
Obviously, I needed a change. So I moved myself to my bedroom and did these two things there instead. Something as small as a change in location makes a huge difference!
Sometimes I will workout first thing, other times I stick with prayer first. I often listen to podcasts when I’m in the shower, and it’s super easy to mix up who I listen to to keep things new and fresh.
The idea of introducing a little bit of novelty in the morning is similar to making the bed. It’s a simple but significant win for the mom brain!
To find out more about how to create your morning routine, read this post here.
Secret #5: move your body
One of the best things to do to wake up early and not feel tired is to get your blood flowing and your heart pumping.
Doing any type of workout will work wonders to get you feeling awake.
You may be someone who loves to hit up the gym after school drop-off. Even a bit of stretching or yoga would be a great way to get past the sleepiness you may feel in the early morning hours.
Wake up early secret #6: GO TO BED
Okay, I’m gonna be super real: I STINK at this. I have for years. But I am improving.
While I used to easily get less than five hours of sleep a night, I’m now on the positive side of six hours a night.
My goal is more, of course. (When I get this figured out, I’ll let you know!)
Creating time for yourself in the morning can really help you go to bed earlier.
You will no longer have the need to fill your own bucket at the end of the day because you’ll have already done something for yourself in the morning.
Added bonus: your morning routine activities will be way more fulfilling than watching TV or scrolling through social media.
Secret #7: Get an accountability partner
Having an accountability partner is great if you need a little external motivation.
For me, this person is my husband. As a military pilot, his wake up time is typically between 4:30-5:30 am everyday. He would never do this, but I often tell him to just kick me outta the bed if I don’t get out when he does.
I love the idea of collaborating with a motivated friend who has the same goal.
How does this work?
Choose a friend who you think might want to join you in figuring out how to wake up early and not be tired.
Then decided to either send a text to make sure you’re both awake on time. Or you could choose to meet for a walk or a gym workout.
No matter how you choose to implement this, having some accountability can be a huge motivator to help you wake up before your kids.
How to wake up early secret #8: Be consistent
Like any new habit, getting up early takes time to feel natural. But I can tell you that IT DOES HAPPEN.
Resolve to wake up before your kids everyday for the rest of this week. You may have to let go of some TV shows or scrolling on Instagram at night.
It gets easier over time because consistency builds confidence.
Give yourself at least a month or more of waking up early to decide if it’s having a positive impact on your day to day life.
Secret #9: Reward yourself
If waking up before your kids is something you’ve struggled to do consistently, you may consider creating a reward system for yourself!
No one is too old for a sticker chart, right?!
Honestly, tracking your wake up times everyday can keep you motivated and focused on your goal.
Your reward could be something as simple as a gold star on your calendar.
But especially in the beginning, don’t hesitate to choose a tangible reward for yourself as you work to establish this habit!
Some ideas for easy rewards could be:
- a manicure or pedicure
- going to lunch with your wake up accountability partner
- spend some alone time at a coffee shop with a new book
- buy yourself some flowers
- purchase the new trench coat you’ve been eyeing
Making a positive life change like this definitely deserves a reward in my book!
The TWO exceptions
Before we finish up, it’s important to realize that expecting ourselves to wake up early and not feel tired may not be entirely feasible for every mom.
Here are two reasons when waking up early may not work for a time:
Exception one: Moms of newborns
If you have a new baby, give yourself some grace and take care of that baby AND yourself.
Sleep when you need to. Don’t let your life be overly dictated by some alarm.
Enjoy that baby, and treasure the moments that you have to love and care for him.
Once baby starts sleeping through the night (hallelujah!), then take a look at your schedule and decide how you can wake up a little earlier than your kids.
Exception 2: Moms of kids with disabilities
If you are a mama of a child with special needs who doesn’t or can’t sleep through the night, I feel that the same totally applies to you, my friend.
Keep doing the best that you can and know that you are seen. Your work matters, even if you feel unappreciated.
Sleep when you can so you are most prepared to take care of your kids that need you so much.
You may consider reaching out to a close friend or talking with your spouse to figure out the best times for you to get regular time to yourself.
Final thoughts on how to wake up early and not feel tired
You may have kids who are super early risers and you’re reading this thinking, “There’s NO WAY I could ever do this!”
My advice to you is to start by waking up 15 to 30 minutes before your kids.
Over time, you may be able to dial back your alarm a bit more. I promise, you will love the feeling of meeting your own needs for a few minutes before shifting to meet everyone else’s.
Waking up before your kids is SO MUCH more about the positivity you will feel by starting your day with intention than about the hour that you set for your alarm.
You can do it!
You may also be thinking, “But I’m not a morning person.”
Mama, I said that once (or a thousand times) too.
YOU are the ONLY person who decides what type of person you are – no one is created to be either a morning person or a night owl.
Take full responsibility for your waking up habits, and you will be one step closer to making it a routine to wake up before your kids.
I love my mornings so much now that they’ve become sacred to me, and I wouldn’t miss setting my alarm for anything. If I can do it, you can do it too!