I Tried 4 Wake Up Early Methods: You Won’t Believe Which Worked

Meet Gregory, a writer and the brains behind Face Dragons. He's the go-to guy for getting things done. Gregory's been living the digital nomad life in Asia for as long as anyone can remember, helping clients smash their goals. He writes on topics like software, personal knowledge management (PKM), and personal development. When he's not writing, you'll catch him at the local MMA gym, nose buried in a book, or just chilling with the family.

Waking up early consistently is a superpower many of us crave. It unlocks precious “me time” for productivity, exercise, or simply enjoying a quiet cup of coffee before the rest of the world wakes up. But achieving this seemingly simple feat can feel like climbing Mount Everest in your pajamas.

Determined to find the key to unlocking those early mornings, I embarked on a mission to experiment with 4 different methods. Here’s what I discovered – one might surprise you!

I’ve Never Been a Morning Person

It started in my teens, as it does for most people, with the unstoppable desire to stay in bed and ignore the overbearing day waiting for me. The sunshine that slipped through my curtains cut me, but I could ignore the pain and fall back to sleep. In those days, midday was an early start, and I frequently stayed in bed till the sun had set.

That crippling desire to stay in bed never really went away, although it became less intense. By the end of college, I could make it to class on time almost every day, and I managed to get to work on time (most days) when I found my first job.

When I started working from home, the opportunity to stay in bed late into the mornings returned. It was nothing like when I was a teen, but I’d routinely find myself waking up at 9:00 a.m. (not an early start by anyone’s measure).

Although I woke up late, I prided myself on being highly productive, and I was. I stayed ahead with work and always had side hustles, extra projects, language learning, and other skills on my daily to-do list or weekly schedule. I knew how to get things done and how to follow my personal development plan; I just couldn’t do them in the morning.

I Envied Early Morning Risers

Man running in the morning

There’s evidence that early morning people are happier. Experts and influencers all seem to agree that waking up early makes you a better man.

I never felt like I had to be at the gym at 6.00 am or to have written 2000 words before the sun rose. I got everything done after the sun rose. But there was one wish that I always dreamed of.

My wife and I both work from home, and I also homeschool my son, so everyone is at home every day! When I start work (usually around 10.00 am), I am constantly interrupted by my son asking me to print something or my wife asking me to lift my feet as she vacuums.

Of course, we set up systems so I’m not disturbed as much, or I go out to work, etc. But for the most part, they are in the other room while I’m working. Even when I can’t hear them, I know they’re there.

The idea of having a few hours to myself to work, knowing that they are both asleep and there’s no way I’m going to be disturbed or interrupted, has been a kind of dream for me, one I thought I’d never see.

Four Methods for Waking Up Earlier

There are many ways to help you wake up earlier. I tried four.

My Normal Bedtime: 1.00 am.
Normal Wake-up Time: 9.00 am.
Wake-up Time Goal: 6.00 am.

1. Going to Bed Early

Going to Bed Earlier

This is the most obvious method of waking up earlier, and it works, but most of the time, I just get more sleep.

I decided to make sure I was in bed at 11.00 pm.

For the first few days, I did wake up earlier, usually around 8 a.m. This meant I was actually just getting an extra hour in bed rather than waking up two hours earlier. After three or four days, I was waking up at 9 a.m. again, which meant I was getting two extra hours in bed.

Rather than continue trying to go to bed earlier and earlier (who wants to go to bed at 9:00 p.m.?), I thought I’d admit that going to bed earlier as a way to wake up earlier had been a failure. I wasn’t going to give up, though, and quickly moved on to the next method.

2. Silent Alarm (Or Any Alarm)

Silent Alarm

If you sleep with anyone, you’ll know the dilemma of setting an alarm. On the one hand, you need to get up on time, but then again, they don’t need to be for an hour after you, and they get pissy about being woken up early.

That’s what it’s like with my wife and me, although it was also like that when I had roommates back in college. No one wants to be woken up by someone else’s alarm clock.

I found the perfect solution (or so I thought): I bought a smartwatch with a silent alarm! It would just vibrate my wrist to wake me up without waking up my wife, right?

It didn’t turn out as well as I’d hoped.

The first day, I woke up when it buzzed me. However, I wanted to stop it buzzing as quickly as possible so it didn’t wake my wife too, so I immediately stopped it – and then fell back to sleep. Was this a win? A failure? I thought the next day would tell me.

But the next day, I didn’t wake up. Nor the next. Nope, my body had somehow become unresponsive to any buzzing on my wrist.

It was a different story for my wife, however.

Now that the silent alarm didn’t affect me, it buzzed for a full two minutes before giving up. Two minutes of continuous buzzing was enough to wake up my wife, and a disgruntled spouse is not what you want to wake up to in the morning!

I declared the alarm a failure and moved on.

3. Planning My First Task

Planning My First Task

I read somewhere online that the reason I could wake up at 6:00 a.m. when I had a flight to catch was that I knew I had something important to do when I got up. The idea was that if you give yourself something important to do first thing each morning, you’ll have a reason to get up early. If you’re working on becoming an educated man by reading the classics or learning a new skill, that’s a good reason.

So, each night, I spent a few minutes deciding what important task I would do the next morning.

This didn’t work even once. I guess my brain knew that the important tasks I had to come up with weren’t really that important at all. The first day, I told myself I’d go out and practice tai chi the next morning. When I woke up at 9:10 a.m., I remembered that I had planned to. I didn’t actually do it, though.

4. Only One Method Worked for Me

Asking For Help

Before I tell you about the method that worked to get me up early each morning, here’s some background.

I recently converted to Catholicism, so I have been learning about the church’s teachings in preparation for my confirmation. I came across the teaching of guardian angels, which, I’ll be honest, I didn’t even know the church actually believed in.

The article I was reading gave examples of how people might communicate with their guardian angels, one of which was asking them to wake you up early. I thought I’d give it a go, but I had no real expectations that it would work, especially for me.

That night, after I said my prayers, I spoke to my guardian angel and asked him to wake me up nice and early. The next morning, I was shocked when I got up and could tell from the light through the curtains that it wasn’t long after sunrise. I didn’t even want to stay in bed.

I got up.

I thought it was likely just a coincidence, so I put it to the test again the next evening.

I got up early again.

This tip for getting up early has worked every time I have tried it. Does that mean it will work for you? I don’t know. Give it a try and find out.