Some fitness trackers offer the option too. For instance, the Smart Wake feature on the Fitbit Ionic ($ 260, amazon.com) uses data gathered from the smartwatch, like heart rate and movement, to sound the alarm anytime within 30 minutes of your chosen wake-up time. It’ll never let you sleep later than you want, but if it senses you’re coming into a lighter sleep stage, it may wake you up earlier. Consider that bonus time for your already hectic morning.
11. Use an alarm app that forces you to think before you can turn it off.
This is my current wake-up method, and I have to say, it is equal parts annoying and effective. In order to shut my alarm off, I have to solve a set number of math problems. You can choose different levels of difficulty, as well as how many problems you want to solve. There are several app options with this feature, but I like My Math Alarm Clock.
Some alarm apps will force you to take a picture of the same thing every morning to turn off, like your toothbrush or your slippers. Choose something far away so you have to get up and walk there—and whatever you do, do not get back into bed if there’s a chance you won’t make it back out in time. Try out Alarmy.
12. Or just switch to an old-fashioned alarm clock…away from your bed.
There’s a low-tech solution that can work too: A physical alarm clock far away from your bed. Try using a real alarm clock (like, the kind that plugs into the wall and you can’t text with), so you can’t carry it back to bed with you like you might with your phone. Getting out of bed to turn that thing off means you’re probably less likely to hit snooze and go back to sleep.
13. Or find one that lets you ease gently into your day.
Some people may respond well to an alarm that’ll annoy you awake, but for others, that’s just plain stressful and can have the opposite effect. Fagan swears by her calming alarm, which uses low yoga music to ease her awake.
“If the first thing you hear in the morning is beep-beep-beep, that stresses you out, and you’re like, ‘I don’t want to do this,’ and then you snooze it,” she says. “But if you wake up in a more relaxed way, it kind of sets the tone.” Try Gentle Wakeup for Android or Early Rise Alarm Clock for iOS.
It’s not just about noise, either: Smart light alarm clocks like Philips SmartSleep ($ 40, amazon.com) use gradually brightening light to ease you awake by your chosen time. And devices like Ooler Sleep System ($ 700, chilitechnology.com) gently warm up your bed as morning approaches, which mimics the rise in body temp you experience during that time, says Dr. Winter.
“You are kind of simulating the rise in temperature and increase in light that typically happens when the sun goes up,” he says. “Those things can really be powerful in terms of helping an individual set that rhythm for what they want to do in the morning.”
14. Once you’re up, just get moving.
Okay, you’re awake. To make sure you stay that way—and make the most of your earlier wake-up time—resist the urge to do a quick social media scroll (which can turn into way too much time swiping) or bargain with yourself about whether or not you’re going to do your workout.
“Just get started,” says Fagan. Tell yourself you’ll just do 10 minutes, and if you’re still not feeling it, you can cut it short. Many times, you’ll start feeling it during that time and want to continue, but even if you don’t, consider that short workout a win.
“Something is better than nothing,” Fagan says. “It makes you think, Maybe I didn’t do the whole 45 minutes, but I did 15 minutes—I did something for myself today, and I’m going to build on that momentum.”
Additional reporting by Christa Sgobba
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