1. Bright Lights: Humans evolved with a circadian rhythm, meaning that we're supposed to be up when the sun rises and go to sleep when the sun sets. In order to fully wake up in the mornings, if there's not enough light streaming into my place from outside, I've started to switch on all of the lights to force myself awake. After a couple of weeks, I've noticed that it works almost as well as caffeine.
2. Switch off the Heater: When it's nice and comfy, it's a lot easier to fall asleep than when it's cold. When I get up, I switch off the heater, or at least turn it down to make my brain start working again. It's surprisingly effective, and less brutal than a cold shower. These two options have worked well to wake me up, even when I haven't had much sleep.
3. Wake Up Light App for Mac: The Philips Wake-Up Light is the alarm to get, but when you don't want to spend quite this much money on a easy way to get up, check out the Wake Up Light app available for $3.99 in the Mac App Store. In order for this to work, you'll have to position a computer screen near your head and leave your computer on. The app simulates the rising sun and just like the Philips light, it's supposed to wake you up within 30 minutes or so. You can also program some backup alarms based on sounds, to ensure that you don't oversleep. MORE RISE AND SHINE HELP ON APARTMENT THERAPY: • Philips Wake Up Light Review • 3 Surefire Alarm Clocks for the Perpetually Late • Waking Up 15 Minutes Earlier to Optimize Your Mornings (Images: Flickr member Ocherdraco licensed for use under Creative Commons, Flickr member Guy Mayer licensed for use under Creative Commons and Flickr member Tony Alter licensed for use under Creative Commons)