How to Wake Up on Your First Alarm

Do you lose time every morning to your unfortunate snoozing habit? Learn how to wake up on your first alarm.

By Nicole Gleichmann

You wake up to the unwelcome sound of your alarm. Your first response is hitting snooze to delay your wakeup time, even though you set that alarm for a reason. When you press snooze—or worse, turn off the alarm—you waste a lot of your morning. You may not get to eat breakfast, workout, or even shower before work.

What’s more, hitting the snooze button results in something called fragmented sleep. Fragmented sleep causes you to feel more tired when you wake up than you would have if you awoke at your first alarm.

But don’t fret. With the right strategies, you can conquer this bad habit and set yourself up for a fulfilling morning.

8 Tips to Help You Wake Up on Your First Alarm

1. Move Your Alarm Clock Away from Your Bed

Our first tip is one you may have already tried: put your alarm clock far away from your bed. Even if this hasn’t worked for you in the past, when you combine it with some of the ideas below, you may find that it helps.

2. Get Moving Right Away

After you set your alarm clock far from your bed, the next trick is to get moving. And I don’t just mean walking over to it. When you get there, make yourself do a short burst of exercise. This could be jumping jacks, pushups, or jumping rope. Movement will energize your body and mind, making it hard to go back to sleep.

3. Try a New Type of Alarm Clock

If early mornings are still a thing you dream of, you may need to ditch your phone alarm for something better. Fancy alarms use tricks to help you wake up.

One of our favorites is a smart watch. These watches use your movement, heart rate, and bedtime to determine your sleep cycle. When you set an alarm, it will wake you up when you are no longer in deep sleep or REM sleep.

Other alarms use light to stimulate a sunrise. Because our bodies have evolved to wake up at first light, these alarms allow you to wake up feeling energized.

4. Set Two Alarms—One 90 Minutes Before You Want to Wake Up

As you sleep, your brain cycles through different stages of sleep, a full cycle of which takes roughly 90 minutes. It is easiest for us to wake up between sleep cycles.

When you set an alarm for 6 A.M., there is a good chance that you are going to be woken up in the middle of your sleep cycle. However, if you set an alarm 90 minutes before you are supposed to wake up, you can start your sleep cycle anew. 90 minutes later, at your second alarm, you are more likely to wake up between sleep cycles.

5. Follow a Routine

Humans evolved to be creatures of habit. While many of us have different bedtimes and wake up times throughout the week, an inconsistent schedule can make it hard to wake up to an alarm. Do your best to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. This can help with both falling asleep and waking up on time.

6. Get More Sleep

Are you getting 7 or more hours of sleep each night? If not, a lack of sleep might be causing you to hit the snooze button. The solution? Go to bed earlier. Slowly move your bedtime up 15 minutes until you find that you wake up easier in the morning.

7. Set an Intention

It is one thing to set an alarm and hope that you wake up early. It is another to set an alarm and accept no other option. To help you wake up at your first alarm, give yourself a pep talk each night. Tell yourself that you are going to wake up at your first alarm and remind yourself of why it is important to do so. Morning you will be primed to wake up when you hear your alarm.

8. Do Something Fun

Is there something that you like doing enough that you would get up for it? A morning routine that involves a yoga class, a chocolate truffle, or reading a chapter of a thrilling book may be just what you need to jump out of bed at your first alarm. But be strict with yourself—even one snooze, and you don’t get your reward.


Few of us easily wake up to an early phone alarm without some intentional effort. Use psychology and technology to ensure that you wake up at your first alarm. It might take more than one trick to make it work, but your daytime energy and productivity will be worth it.

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