How to Get Up in the Morning When You Don’t Want To

8 min read

Last Modified 9 January 2023 First Added 22 January 2015

By Sam Atherton

Do you struggle to get out of bed in the morning? Does getting out of bed 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…

Why is it so hard to get out of bed?

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! That doesn’t mean that there aren’t factors that can make getting out of our cosy nests harder in the morning. 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 morning struggles:

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.

How your mental health can affect your mornings

1. Depression

One of the symptoms of depression is sleep disturbances, especially insomnia at night and exhaustion during the day. If you are struggling to sleep and feeling blue in the morning, it can be impossible to drag yourself out of bed.

2. Anxiety

As mentioned before, there are times when our schedule fills us with nerves or dread. This is normal if you have something special going on like starting a new job or attending an important appointment. However, if your anxiety is constant and disrupting your ability to sleep and enjoy life, then you should explore ways to manage these feelings.

3. Stress

We all know stress can get in the way of sleep. In fact, 34% of Brits said that they sleep badly because of it, and it can even make you sick! We all go through stressful times but that doesn’t mean you have to cope alone. If you are struggling to sleep, feel wired in the mornings, or can’t stop ruminating on all the things you have to deal with that day, you may be under too much stress. There are plenty of things you can do to alleviate this and start your day better.

4. SAD

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a condition where you develop depressive symptoms during certain parts of the year. Most commonly, this happens during the dark winter months and is linked to the lack of light and vitamin D deficiency. While some of us may be fans of the festive period, many of us struggle with the darkness in the mornings and afternoons – it can feel like you never see the sun! Take a look at our advice on how to get up when you have SAD for more specific tips.


For those with ADHD, the usual sleep pattern just doesn’t hit the spot. Many only get sleepy around 3am and then sleep deeply until late morning if allowed. This means, if you have ADHD, when your alarm goes off at 6am, you’ll often be pulled from deep, meaningful sleep! Routine, consistency and a better sleep regime could be the answer.

How to get up in the morning

So, we’ve explored why getting up can be such a struggle but what can we do about it? We’ve spoken to some sleep experts to get insider tips on making your wake-up routine 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:

  • Reading
  • Taking a hot bath
  • Have a warm drink
  • Exercise

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

2. Understand your circadian rhythm

Your circadian rhythm is what controls your sleep pattern and many of us work against our natural schedule. Jordan Gaines Lewis, a sleep researcher and PhD student at Pennsylvania State University, 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 the wake-up hormones. It is a great alternative to intrusive alarms that make you feel on edge first thing.

hand reaching for a red alarm clock

3. Stop hitting snooze

We Brits get 6 hours and 36 minutes of sleep a night, on average, and 1 in 10 of us is so tired in the mornings that we snooze for 30 minutes or more. 

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 a number of options:

  • Change the environment
  • Mix up your diet
  • Adapt your behaviour patterns.

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. Be mindful

Lastly, if you find mornings anxiety-inducing and stressful then introducing mindfulness to your 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. Try and wake up a little earlier, make yourself a nice drink, and slow down in the mornings. This is also a really nice way to start your day and help you look forward to waking up!

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