Tactics to Force Yourself to Wake up Early


Have you tried everything to wake up early, but nothing seems to work for you?

Well, so have I, and the tips I found online weren’t helpful at all. They were mostly tips we’ve all heard a million times by now, like “don’t use your smartphone at night.” So, I felt compelled to share what I’ve learned from years of experimenting. Here’s how you can force yourself to wake up early as well.

Jump to content

Tactic 1: Use the ‘Sleep as Android’ App to Punish Yourself

This tactic will use money as motivation to wake you up and combine it with the human tendency to avoid going back to sleep once you’ve moved a little.

To use the Sleep as Android app, you’ll need an Android smartphone (an iOS alternative is suggested below).

You’ll have to complete a task to prove to the app that you’re awake. However, the tasks can be annoying, especially early in the morning, so I used to just turn my phone off. But there’s an option to add some money to the app, and if you cheat on the task, you’ll lose the money forever, which definitely will force you to wake up early.

Here are the steps to make this work:

  1. Download the “Sleep as Android” app on your Android device.
  2. Set up an alarm.
  3. Choose a CAPTCHA in settings.
  4. I recommend using the “Zombie walk” option.
  5. Set the CAPTCHA difficulty to “Hard” or “Very Hard”.
  6. Turn on all the “CAPTCHA No cheating” measures.
  7. Add money to “Wakeup motivation”.
  8. Unless you walk 70 meters in your room in the morning, the alarm won’t stop.
  9. To make it even harder, choose the “QR/Barcode” CAPTCHA option in the settings.

I’ve contacted the developers of Alarmy Alarm Clock app recently, and they might soon add this feature to their app for both Android and iOS. Till then, try the alternative for iOS devices, which is the next tactic.

Tactic 2: Use a Separate Alarm Clock to Embarrass You if You Don’t Wake Up

I invested a small amount in a cheap alarm clock, set it, and placed it in the living room of my house. Additionally, I set another alarm five minutes earlier on my phone, ensuring that I would have to leave my bed, face my family, and turn off the alarm in the living room.

After completing this routine, it’s unlikely that I’d return to sleep.

You don’t need to live in a house or with your family to implement this strategy. It can work just as effectively in an apartment. Simply position the alarm clock outside your room where it won’t be immediately visible, but where its ringing will be heard, perhaps outside your neighbor’s door hidden behind a flowerpot.

The fear of embarrassment will force you to wake up on time! Here are some cheap alarm clocks you can buy:

Tactic 3: Use a Separate Alarm Clock to Make You Move

You don’t have to rely on fear to get yourself out of bed. Simply place your alarm clock outside your room. This way, you’ll need to get out of bed to turn it off, and if you don’t, it won’t let you sleep.

While you can use your phone instead of an alarm clock, it’s less likely to succeed since you may sleep with your phone nearby or be tempted to return to bed after turning it off.

Tactic 4: Make an Early Morning Habit With Your Friends

You can ask some of your friends to do an activity every day together at the same time in the morning. Again, the idea is to use fear of other people thinking poorly of you, especially your friends. Here are some of the things you can do:

  • Join a gym together in the mornings. The plan would be to give each other a call 30 minutes prior. More the people, higher the likelihood of getting a call. Some days, you’ll be the one to wake your friends up.
  • Join an early morning tuition.
  • Join a learning institute/academy for a skill, like coding, typewriting, martial arts, acting, etc.

Tactic 5: Make Someone Depend on You for the Mornings

Take some responsibility for an early morning activity. During lockdowns, I used to get fresh milk for my parents every morning. Either they would wake me up, or I would wake up myself to ensure there was milk available for us to buy.

So, consider doing something for someone who lives with you like purchasing fresh vegetables only available in the morning or driving someone somewhere. That “someone” could do something for you in return while you’re out or later in the day. Negotiate!

Tactic 6: Use Alarms That Ask You to Do Some Activity to Wake Up

This tactic is related to the first one. You can download the Alarmy Alarm Clock app on your iOS/Android device. There are many ‘missions’ you can choose from to complete for the alarm to turn off, such as doing squats, walking a certain distance, shaking your phone, or solving a math problem.

You should enable the app’s measures to prevent yourself from cheating the missions, such as ‘prevent phone turn off’ or ‘prevent app uninstall’. These measures are designed to force you to wake up and prevent you from turning off your phone or uninstalling the app while the alarm is ringing.

Tactic 7: Create an Online Group of People to Force Yourself to Wake Up

Go to the subreddit r/selfimprovement or some other similar subreddit on Reddit. And ask people in the same time zone as yours to create a WhatsApp group (or your preferred app) with you. Make everyone admin.

The rule would be to wake up at the same time every day and send a short video proof of you waking up, maybe one with you going for a walk or doing push-ups. The one who fails to send the proof two days in a row would be removed from the group.

You don’t have to do it with strangers; you can do it with your friends & acquaintances.

Tactic 8: Use a Fitness/Sleep Tracker to Wake You up After Your Sleep Phase Completes

I’d only recommend very accurate fitness trackers for this one. The YouTube channel The Quantified Scientist is a great resource to find out which fitness tracker gives you a relatively accurate data.

Here’s a screenshot of the latest sleep trackers compared for sleep tracking. The most accurate ones are on the top right.

If you’re looking to buy one of these, please use the affiliated links below. The prices will be the same, but we’ll receive some commission from the checkout.

Just set a smart alarm, and it’ll vibrate when it notices you’re at the end of your sleep cycle. This is when your sleep is the lightest, making it easier for you to wake up. An alarm ringing during a person’s deeper stages of sleep is more likely to be snoozed or turned off, as you don’t feel ready to wake up.

A sleep cycle is, on average, 90 minutes long.

While you may not directly force yourself to wake up with this tactic, it will make the process of waking up on time much easier.

Tactic 9: Use the Circadian Rhythm of Your Bowel Movement to Wake You Up

The circadian rhythm of your body ensures that physiological processes occur at the most biologically meaningful time (for you).

Just like with sleep, you can train your body to have regular bowel movements. Your body can adapt to this new routine quicker.

Set a routine to wake up and go to the washroom at the same time each day. With time, your body’s internal clock will adjust, and nature will call you at that same time every day. We all know nothing will force you to wake up as effectively as nature’s call.

Read more about it here.

Tactic 10: Sleep in a Room That Faces East or South-East & Has Many Windows

The morning sun used to wake me up early every single day. With my room facing South-East, there was no escaping its rays. To use this tactic effectively, consider removing your curtains or tying them securely to encourage the natural light to wake you up.

If you’re worried about light disrupting your sleep without curtains, and eye masks aren’t practical, the next tactic will address this issue.

Tactic 11: Invest in Smart Curtains or a Smart Curtain Motor

Another thing that happens to me is, for some reason, the gradual light that fills my room doesn’t seem to wake me up, maybe because it’s too gradual. And recently, I had to move my bed, and now the sun only attacks my body, not my face.

Another problem with depending on the sun is that sometimes it doesn’t come to your aid, but you can always depend on morning light. So, here’s what to do:

  1. Buy some type of smart curtains or a motor that turns regular curtains into smart ones. I recommend the SwitchBot Automatic Curtain Opener.
  2. Set them up and ensure your bed is facing the maximum amount of light.
  3. Set an alarm for them to open automatically.

Now you have both: no light at night and sudden light in the morning.

Tactic 12: Invest in a Wake-up Light Alarm Clock

A wake-up light alarm clock simulates the rising sun with light that gradually increases. Some wake-up lights have a sound option that serves as an additional alarm. The idea is the same as the last one, exposure to bright light wakes you up.

Woman interacting with a wake-up light to set an alarm. Dekala Arkenstone: cheap wake-up light to force yourself to wake up

The light from these alarm clocks is usually warm and gradual, which is far more bright than natural light because it’s a lot closer to you. So, it can’t go unnoticed by your brain.

Just set the alarm up very close to your bed, near your head (obviously), & make sure you’re not wearing any eye masks (obviously). You can also close the curtains at night to keep the room dark.

Here are some of the best ones available:


Using any of these tactics, I bet you’ll be able to force yourself to wake up early and/or on time. So, start setting up some of these tactics right now and invest some time, effort, or even money into one of the most important aspects of your life.

For more tactics and tools (from the world’s best minds) directly in your inbox, subscribe below.

One comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *