Careers & Education

Get going! Tips for waking up for school

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It may not sound friendly, but the alarm clock is on your side.
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Tips for waking up for school so it doesn't have to be a daily battle

Most people, especially students, have difficulty waking up early in the morning. Despite how awful it sounds when it tears you from a sound sleep, the alarm clock is on your side. The snooze button is not. Waking up for school is a challenge students have to rise to.

The good news is that there are a number of tricks anyone can do to go from a walking zombie to an early riser. Routine, alarm clocks and other devices and attitude all contribute to an easier start to the school day.

Sleep deprivation can lead to academic and behavioral problems. A recent study at a Rhode Island boarding school found a significant improvement in the performance of students who had an extra half an hour to get ready in the morning. Teens were found to be in better moods, more alert, on time and they made healthier food choices.

Parents can help reluctant risers by setting a good example and establishing a morning routine free of madness. Avoid having kids do unexpected chores in the morning as this can throw off their routine. For many, the solution to waking up earlier involves creating a calm, predictable morning. Ultimately, the responsibility to wake up for school on time belongs to the individual.

Tips to Wake Up Early

Go to bed earlier

According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), only 20 percent of teens get the optimal 9 hours of sleep. Waking up for school on time may entail going to bed earlier than desired, but the benefits of a restful night outweigh what is lost in television or phone time. Turning off the television, computer and phones an hour before bed will help you fall asleep easier.

In addition to getting more sleep, try to go to bed at the same time every night.

Avoid caffeine

It takes about three weeks for the body to get used to a new sleep routine. Avoiding caffeine after noon is one way to help your body adapt to an earlier bed time. Caffeinated sodas and sugary food and beverages can lead to disturbed or restless sleep if consumed within six hours of going to sleep.

Ease into the day

It sounds backwards, but people who have trouble waking up in the morning benefit if they wake up a half hour earlier. This allows your mind and body to ease into the day without feeling rushed. Take your time eating breakfast, and you’ll have the energy to turn on some morning music while you’re getting ready. Open your curtains at night to wake up in a naturally brighter room.


Starting the day with a few deep breaths stimulates the brain and gives your body a chance to wake up slowly. Turn off your alarm clock (no snooze button allowed) and take one deep breath lying down. Then sit up and take five deep breaths.


After deep breaths, do a few light stretches to warm your muscles and increase blood flow. Stand straight and reach for your toes. Stretch your arms as high above your head as you can reach and hold the pose for three breathe. Then, fix your eyes on your thumbs and reach your hands back as far as you can and hold the pose for three breaths. Swing your arms in large circles forwards 10 times and backwards 10 times. Jump in the air 20 times. Feel more awake?


You’ve eased, breathed and stretched; now it’s time to replenish with a glass of water. You may also want to make your bed before it becomes a ‘chore’ – you’ll thank yourself at night when you return to a neat, inviting room. Pick out comfortable soft sheets and attractive pillows for your bed to make it more inviting at bedtime. 

Cool the Room

It’s easier for the body to wake up in cooler temperatures. Try opening the window at night or once your alarm goes off, or turn the temperature down at night.

Morning Routines

Once you create a set routine in the morning, you'll wake up knowing exactly what you need to do without having to think about it. Wake up at the same time every day, decide when you’ll brush your teeth, make the bed, shower and eat breakfast. Set out your breakfast (ideally with a piece of fruit) and pick out your clothes the night before to cut down on the decisions you have to make.

Waking up early for school is a fact of life for kids and teens. The harder you fight it, the less energy you'll have to enjoy the day. Give these tips a try and see what works for you.

Sleep Foundation: Tips
How to Wake Up Early

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