When You Wake Up Doesn’t Matter, But How You Wake Up Does

updated May 25, 2019
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(Image credit: Lana Kenney)

You already know the benefits of being a morning person—you’ve heard them before from many people and read about them on just about every lifestyle site, including ours. But the truth is, when you wake up doesn’t actually matter (outside of making it to work or class on time, of course). What’s more important is how you wake up and what you do to start the day, because it can affect how the rest of your day goes and how you feel.

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To start your day off the right way at any time, try adding these simple but important steps into your wake-up routine.

Quit Your Snooze Habit

Hitting the snooze button is so tempting, it’s hard not to use it at least once a day. But those extra few minutes of sleep, as great as they sound, aren’t all that helpful—how many times have you hit snooze once or twice only to finally wake up feeling… well, not any more rested than when your alarm went off the first time? That’s because hitting snooze actually breaks up your REM cycles, causing sleep inertia and leaving you feeling tired. The good news is, if you want to break your snooze button habit, there are methods to try (and we tested them!).

Wake Up to Natural Light

If you typically get up after sunrise, use this to your advantage and open your curtains as soon as you wake up so you can soak up the sun while you’re waking up and getting ready to go about your day. If this isn’t an option for you because you’re a super-early riser or you work nights, you can still incorporate some of the benefits of natural light into your routine—instead, try using a sunrise alarm that uses light to gently wake you up instead of jolting you awake with a loud sound. You can find a roundup of top-rated light alarms at

Take Time to Stretch

Unless you’re already a devoted stretcher, you probably don’t take time out of your beginning-of-the-day routine to stretch your body. But if that’s the case, you’re actually missing out on some serious health benefits. It can help you feel more awake by increasing blood flow in your body, increasing mobility, improving balance, and can even lower your blood sugar—not to mention, it can help you feel less stressed, too. The best part: it only takes a few minutes and you can do it without even getting up out of bed.

Get Some Hydration In

You already know that drinking water is super important for your overall health, so it makes sense that when you wake up (after being asleep and not hydrating for several hours) drinking water should be one of the first things on your to-do list. Not only will it give you a head start on getting in all 8 glasses per day, but it can help boost your metabolism, aid with digestion and in general, just help your body function more efficiently, according to USA Today. Try drinking two glasses of water when you wake up and while you get ready for the rest of the day so you can rehydrate—if two sounds like a lot, be sure to at least get one glass in.

Listen to Mood-Boosting Music

A surefire way to boost your mood even when you’re a little groggy and reluctant to start your day? Listen to music you love. According to HuffPost, listening to music actually has some real health benefits—studies show that it can decrease stress and prevent increases in heart rate and systolic blood pressure caused by anxiety. It’s also been shown to decrease pain levels, help improve memory, and even boost the immune system. Just like the right soundtrack can motivate you to get your best exercise in at the gym, it can help you get your day off to the right start, too.