How to Get Out Of Bed When You Don’t Want To

9 min read

Last Modified 9 February 2024 First Added 22 January 2015

By Sam Atherton

Do you struggle to get out of bed in the morning? Do the mornings feel more like a chore than a cheer? We all know the feeling. Whether it’s cold, you’re tired, or you just don’t want to go to work, they all have the same result. If you can’t seem to fight those early morning blues, then keep reading to explore why this might be and how to fix it…

How to get up in the morning

Let’s face it: some of us will never be morning people. Sometimes staying in bed is just far more preferable than whatever the day has planned for us. Although, that doesn’t mean there aren’t specific factors which make getting out of our cosy nests difficult. To help, we’ve explored tips to help you get out of bed with a spring in your step. Read on for insider tips from sleep experts to make your wake-up routine more manageable.

1. Fix your evening routine

A good morning starts the night before. The best thing you can do for your sleep is to stick to a routine: go to bed at the same time every day and you’ll see the benefits. Some of our favourite activities for good sleep include:

Preparing yourself for sleep can help you get proper rest, making you feel much more energetic when you wake up. Find out how to create the perfect evening routine.

2. Understand your circadian rhythm

Your circadian rhythm is what controls your sleep pattern. Unfortunately, many of us lead lives and have routines which work against our natural sleep schedule. Jordan Gaines Lewis, a Neuroscience PhD student at Pennsylvania State University and editor-in-chief at ScienceSeeker, says many factors make us struggle to get out of bed:

‘The biggest factor is that most of us are waking up way earlier than our bodies want us to. Our circadian rhythm prefers that we rise with the sun, so a 5am alarm to make sure we get to work on time isn’t exactly natural for us.’

‘I suggest going to bed earlier if you have an early start. It’ll help your circadian rhythm adjust to the pattern you desire, and you’ll be less likely to wake during deeper stages of sleep. Try to get as much natural light as possible as you start your morning routine. If it’s dark outside or windows aren’t accessible, artificial blue light can help. Blue light, like that in natural daylight, signals to your brain that it’s daytime’.

Tech tip: A sunrise alarm clock is a great investment for those early morning risers. These alarms mimic the sunrise and gradually get brighter and brighter. This helps to slowly wake you up and trick your brain into producing wake-up hormones. It is a great alternative to intrusive alarms that make you feel on edge first thing. Alternatively, read our article on how to wake up without an alarm clock.

hand reaching for a red alarm clock

3. Stop hitting snooze

According to our UK Sleep Survey, 61% of us only get between 0 and 6 hours of sleep a night. And more shockingly, only  5 in every 100 always wake up feeling refreshed. No wonder we’re always hitting snooze!

However, Chireal Shallow, psychologist and sleep expert, explains, ‘Snoozing is a way we, as humans, attempt to mitigate the lack of sleep or how tired we feel – by trying to wake up gradually and gently. This is how we cope with feeling as though we have not had enough sleep.”

‘The reality is, we need to break the vicious cycle of snoozing and make good use of those morning hours. Ensure you get more than 6 hours of sleep a night, have a bedtime routine a bit like you may do for a child. You should prepare your body for sleep and wind down. Go to bed with your partner and have a conversation with a real person, not a Facebook or Twitter conversation.’

To reduce snooze time and make your mornings more effective, there are several options:

4. Get organised

If you have lots to do in the morning, it can make things even more difficult. Try to complete as many tasks as you can the night before:

  • Make breakfast and pack your lunch
  • Prepare your morning drink (e.g. portion out your smoothie, set up your favourite coffee, etc.)
  • Choose your outfit
  • Pack your work bag
  • Put anything you need to remember in a prominent place such as by the front door or next to your lunch

This will take the pressure off of your morning routine and you can relax in the knowledge that all you need to do is get yourself ready. The fewer decisions there are to make in the morning, the easier it is to get up and out.

5. Get some fresh air

Getting outside in the morning, and particularly trying to get into daylight, can have multiple benefits on how alert we feel. Again, it’s all about the circadian rhythm and resetting your biological systems. Neuroscientist and health podcaster, Dr Andrew Huberman is a strong advocate for this – check out his podcast or read his article on using light for health and how it affects sleep.

Additionally, even if you have winter blues or suffer from poor mental health, make going outside a habit. As psychologist Robert Wicks says, you should think, ‘Yes, I am depressed but I am going to be depressed outside. Activity and depression don’t like to live together.’ Try to stop thinking about getting up, and push yourself to just do it instead. We understand these things are often easier said than done, but don’t worry – you’ll get there.

6. Bribe yourself

Whether you’re struggling to get out of bed due to a health issue such as depression or you simply struggle to get energised in the morning, a useful tactic is to bribe yourself out of bed.

To do this, consider prepping for your favourite breakfast or plan an enjoyable activity such as yoga or meditation. Lay out what’s needed for these the night before and you should find a little more spring in your step when it comes to starting the day.

7. Be mindful

If you find mornings anxiety-inducing and stressful, or simply enjoy the practice of being present, then introducing mindfulness to your morning routine can really help. Start the day with meditation or journaling – these kinds of activities help to ground you and allow you space to explore your feelings instead of just holding onto them all day.

You don’t necessarily have to complete an overtly mindful activity either. Simply waking up a little earlier, making yourself a nice drink, and slowing down can make those early starts much more inviting. It’s also a really nice way to start your day and will have wider benefits on your life such as improved focus and a more efficient immune system.

Why is it so hard to get out of bed?

Whether you stayed up later than you should or got a full 8 hours, the morning can be tough. Here are some of the top reasons we find it hard get out of bed:

1. Feeling groggy

Sometimes, you went to bed on time and feel like you slept well but still can’t open your eyes in the morning. This grogginess is also called sleep inertia and means that your body is struggling to wake up even if your brain is ready to go. It can be a sign that you’re not following your circadian rhythm, especially if you’re the kind of person that gets shocked awake by your morning alarm.

2. Your bed is too comfy

How many mornings have you woken up and found yourself perfectly snuggly? It can be the most comfortable you’ve been all night and now you have to get up – how unfair! This extra cosy feeling can be caused by melatonin, the sleep hormone, which is still being pumped around your body when you’ve just woken up. Try setting an earlier alarm so you can take some extra time to enjoy the comfort and wake up properly, instead of having to spring out of bed right away.

3. Not looking forward to the day

One of the biggest dampeners on our morning is the fact that sometimes, you just aren’t looking forward to your day. If you have a long commute, a busy work schedule, or some other chores then staying in bed will always be the superior choice. While this is occasionally unavoidable, if you are frequently dreading the day, you may want to spend time examining how to make lifestyle changes.

4. Your mental & physical health

From depression and anxiety to musculoskeletal disorders and respiratory problems, there are plenty of health concerns which can make it difficult to get out of the bed in the morning. For example, one of the symptoms of depression is sleep disturbances, especially insomnia at night and exhaustion during the day.

And of course, we all know how much stress can get in the way of sleep. In fact, 34% of Brits said that they sleep badly because of it. Other health concerns such as suffering from SAD or even ADHD can impact sleep. Most importantly, speak to your GP if you are at all concerned about how your health is impacting your sleep.

5. It’s cold!

During the cold months, and when your home has spent the night without the heating on, it can be really difficult to get out of bed in the morning. There are some simple tips for those frosty times of year though, such as setting a timer on your central heating to investing in the right types of pyjamas and loungewear. Uncover more practical tips in our article on how to get out of bed when it’s cold.

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