The night before, you set your alarm clock with the best intentions. Whether it’s for a spin class, a work commute, or early meetings, you aim to rise and shine. But if you’re repeatedly hitting snooze and finding it tough to get out of bed, it’s time for a change.

Shift Your Wake-Up Time Gradually

Drerup advises against sudden changes when adjusting your wake-up time. Jumping from a 9 a.m. wake-up to a 7 a.m. alarm overnight can disrupt your sleep pattern, making the adjustment unsustainable. Instead, she recommends a gradual approach, shifting your wake-up time in 15- to 20-minute increments. Ideally, allow yourself at least three nights to adapt to each new schedule before further adjustment. Following this method, it should take just over a week to transition to waking up an hour earlier.

Don’t Sleep Late on the Weekends

By the time Friday arrives, you might be feeling drained and yearning for a leisurely Saturday morning lie-in. However, prolonging your sleep until 11 a.m. on weekends can disrupt the progress you’ve made during the week, throwing off your body’s natural rhythm.

This advice applies even to those with a hybrid work setup who may be tempted to sleep in on remote work days.

Research published in the journal Chronobiology International suggests that maintaining a consistent bedtime on weekends promotes better sleep quality and makes waking up easier during the week. Additionally, it grants you the freedom to enjoy your weekend mornings however you please.

If you do decide to indulge in extra sleep on weekends, Drerup recommends limiting it to just an additional hour.

Wind Down 2 Hours Before Bedtime

Create an evening routine that fosters relaxation and prepares you for bedtime, advises Colleen Carney, PhD, an associate professor and director of the Sleep and Depression Laboratory at Ryerson University in Toronto.

Begin by winding down all goal-oriented activities. “That means no work emails, no homework, no intense workouts. Nothing that will be challenging to step away from,” Dr. Carney suggests.

Reduce exposure to bright light by lowering screen brightness and, ideally, stashing away electronic devices about two hours before bedtime. Research cited by the Sleep Foundation indicates a correlation between screen time before bed and delayed sleep onset.

Utilize this time to unwind with activities like reading, journaling, or meditation, recommends Dr. Cline. “Opt for a paperback instead of a screen, as long as it’s not a thrilling novel like Stephen King’s. The goal is to create a sense of calm during this period.”

Ensure your bedroom is conducive to sleep, advises Timothy Young, MD, a board-certified neurologist and sleep medicine specialist at Mayo Clinic.

Implement measures such as using curtains to block out light, investing in earplugs for noise reduction, dimming lighting, and, if possible, silencing notifications on your phone, except for emergencies. The objective is to create a cool, dark, and quiet sleep environment.

Get Bright Light First Thing in the Morning

Exposure to bright lights before bed can disrupt sleep, and the same applies in the morning. Dr. Cline suggests opening blinds for sunlight exposure upon waking or using a light box for 15-30 minutes. “Bright light in the morning resets your internal clock,” he says. Dr. Carney recommends energizing tactics like upbeat music, cold water splashes, or a shower to signal wakefulness, though not scientifically proven.

Meal Prep and Make To-Do Lists at Night

Night owls struggling to rise early should streamline morning tasks to prioritize sleep, suggests Carney.

“What can you shift to evenings to extend sleep and simplify mornings?” she asks.

Options include laying out clothes, prepping breakfast and lunch, or shifting workouts to lunchtime. Dr. Young advises planning ahead by creating to-do lists and checking schedules the night before. This preparation reduces morning stress and ensures smoother transitions.

Avoid Caffeine After Lunch

While an afternoon espresso may boost your workday, it can disrupt sleep later on, warns Young. He advises cutting off caffeine by noon, adjusting based on bedtime. The Sleep Foundation suggests an eight-hour gap between caffeine intake and sleep, e.g., avoiding coffee after 2 p.m. to reduce sleep disturbances if aiming for a 10 p.m. bedtime. Tracking caffeine intake and sleep quality in a diary helps identify optimal cutoff times. Experimenting with longer caffeine-free periods may lead to improved sleep.

Try a Melatonin Supplement to Get Back on Track

While your body produces melatonin naturally to promote sleep, some experts advocate for melatonin supplements to adjust your body clock.

Begin with a modest dose of 1 to 3 milligrams, taken 1 to 1.5 hours before bedtime, advises Cline. Adjust the timing as you advance your bedtime; for circadian rhythm shifts, consider taking it earlier, about four hours before sleep.

“It can aid in achieving an earlier sleep onset,” he notes.

However, melatonin may not effectively treat sleep disorders and could induce daytime drowsiness in some individuals. Consult your healthcare provider before supplementing, considering potential side effects or interactions with other medications.

Seek Professional Help if You Still Can’t Wake Up in the Morning

If following these strategies consistently for 1-3 months doesn’t improve your sleep, consult your healthcare provider. Underlying issues like depression, anxiety, or sleep disorders may be impacting sleep quality. Seek professional help promptly if lack of sleep poses safety risks, like driving, or hampers work or school attendance, advises Young. Recognize patterns of lost opportunities as indicators to seek assistance.