getting out of bed

How to Get Out of Bed When You Really Don’t Feel Like It

We’ve all been there: the alarm goes off, we’re feeling groggy, reach out and slap it to snooze. Five minutes later, the same things happens. We switch the alarm off again. The thought of getting out of bed seems like way too much effort. We know that, once we get up, we have to launch into the day – that to-do list we made last night, those  chores that need doing…

If you have to get yourself up to get to work by 8am, you’ll manage it. But if you work for yourself, if you’re a student, or if it’s the weekend, it can be a lot tougher.

Why do we end up talking ourselves into staying in bed … even when, if we think about it rationally, we’d much rather be getting on with something than going through the alarm-snooze-alarm-snooze cycle of supremely low-quality sleep?

Note: I’m not talking about depression here. If you think you might be depressed, please consult your doctor and get professional help and advice.

What’s Your Motivation?

First off, why are you getting out of bed? Why don’t you just spend the whole day lying around, snoozing, eating toast (and getting crumbs in the sheets)?

If you’re the type of person who can spring out of bed at dawn, just because it’s a beautiful day, gosh darn it, and you’re out to change the world, etc., then congratulations. You’re probably one of those weirdos that doesn’t drink coffee in the morning either.

(Michael Harrison, 10 Geeky Tricks for Getting Out of Bed in the Morning,

I’ll bet you’ve got something important that you want to do: some reason that’ll get you excited enough to want to get out of bed. Find something that’s meaningful to you and make that your reason to get up in the morning.

It might be having time to exercise. It might be spending the first hour of your day writing your novel. It might be your chance to work on your small business before the workday. It might be the child-free time you get to put your thoughts straight.

Starting off your day with your hardest task (also known as “eating that frog”) can be counter-productive if it discourages you from getting out of bed! So, for a change, plan something that’s fun and energizing for the start of your day. It could be as simple as a tasty breakfast, or your favorite soap in the shower.

Don’t Think Too Much

There’s definitely a danger in thinking too much when you’re feeling groggy. It’s very easy to start running through your to-do list (“I must phone Jack … and clear my inbox … and clean the kitchen …”) and frankly, you can end up feeling exhausted just thinking about all those tasks.

I like Steve Pavlina’s method of not thinking about getting up: just get out of bed and start moving – your mind will catch up with you!

If you find yourself running through everything you need to do in the day, stop. Focus on that first half hour or hour of your day – the one thing you really want to get out of bed for. Then throw off the covers and move those legs!

Practical Tips

Sometimes, a deep-seated reluctance to get out of bed isn’t just due to a lack of motivation. You can help yourself by implementing a few very practical ideas:

Go to Bed Earlier

I know this sounds ridiculously obvious, but if you go to bed late and try to get up at 6am, you’re going to struggle. If you’re prone to getting distracted by watching TV, writing blog posts or hanging out on Twitter, set an alarm to tell you when to go to bed. You could also ask a spouse or housemate to remind you at, say, 10.30pm if you’re not already heading to bed.

Make sure you’re getting good quality sleep, too.

Put Your Alarm Across the Room

As a teen, I realized I can reach out, switch off an alarm, and go straight back to sleep. Since then, I’ve always positioned my alarm clock across the room, so that I have to get out of bed to switch it off. So long as you stay out of bed once you’re up, you’re there!

Have Your Clothes Ready

One of my dozy excuses for not getting out of bed is often “I can’t decide what I’m going to wear.” (Given that the answer is usually “jeans and a t-shirt”, I’m not quite sure why this causes such early-morning angst. It may be a throwback to my teen years…) If you make a similarly crap excuse, there’s a pretty simple solution: put out your clothes the night before.

(If you’re inclined towards morning exercising, set your gym kit ready too.)

So … are you one of those lucky folks who can wake up feeling well-rested and enthusiastic before the alarm? Or do you have mornings where you tell yourself “just five more minutes” for two hours? What tips – or cautionary tales – do you have for morning sluggards?

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A 3 Step Routine To Boost Energy

5 Unusual Ways To Get Super Quality Sleep


Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.

3 Responses to How to Get Out of Bed When You Really Don’t Feel Like It

  1. Raechel says:

    It would be nice to include nightshirt workers when you do articles like this. We already feel ” out of touch” with the rest of the world anyway but when you talk about waking up in the morning and being at a job at 8 am… this is when us nightshift workers go to bed. You know… the ones that take care of your sick friends and family members when they need medical attention? The workers who patrol your neighborhood so you are safe while you sleep and those that put out fires to keep others alive while they sleep??? Please be mindful that life goes on 24-7 not just when the sun comes up!

  2. Laura says:

    Ah, I see that there’s another night shift person in the comments! (Although my job certainly isn’t life-saving.) I guess that’s a pretty specific problem though, not being able to get up because your body is telling you that it is night and therefore sleep time. I especially struggle with this on weekends: I want to keep a consistent sleep schedule, but without my job to force me to get up in the evening I end up sleeping the whole weekend away. I guess it helps to have someone you’ll be accountable to, like if you have to wake up and meet someone for breakfast (aka dinner). I’ll definitely try out the tips in this article, though!

  3. Mauricio says:

    This was very useful. Thanks!

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