Five Ways to Beat the Morning Slog

Morning Slog

As a self-confessed nightbird, I can empathize strongly with those who struggle to fight the waves of sleep that hit upon waking up, making the morning routine more of slog course than a stroll. It can become very tempting to stay in bed, but therein lies a vicious cycle entailing loss of productivity and sleeplessness. So, the solution I reckoned was to spend less time preparing to get ready, both mentally and physically.

Being a practical person, I identified the weak-points of my own routine, and can now offer 5 tips for those who want to make the transition from horizontally asleep to vertically awake (and therefore productive) much smoother. These can apply regardless of whether you’re a commuter to work, a freelancer at home, or just want to make more use of the precious hours at the weekend.

1. Use a sleep monitoring app.

I love using Sleep Cycle (for iPhone), which does two very useful tasks. Firstly, it monitors your sleep when placed in bed. If interested, you can analyze your sleep patterns as graphs. Secondly, it’s a smart alarm clock, waking you up at your least drowsiest with encouraging ringtones. The main point is, you’re awake at the time you feel freshest, rather than dragged from deep sleep.

Alternative: Smart Alarm Clock for Android users.

2. If music be the drink of awakening…

Leave a drink on your bedside table the night before, which you can then gulp down as you wake up. This kicks your digestive system into gear and helps alert your brain of a need to get a move on! Additionally, have a music player at the ready to play motivating tunes, whether upbeat pop, loud extreme metal or a rousing round of Pirates of the Caribbean. The idea is to avoid your brain lapsing back into wanting sleep, and music is a great thing to focus on.

Note: Don’t set your alarm as a song to wake up to; otherwise you will start to hate the song!

3. Shorten your shower by pulling the plug

I discovered this tip completely by accident: If you find your showers take hours, put the plug into the tub. Size dependent, this gives you around four minutes to finish, unless you want a tidal splash!

Alternative: If you’re in a cubicle, then an egg timer or sand timer may do the trick as well.

4. Plan your clothing, regardless of occasion.

Now that you’re up and showered, the last thing you want to do is sit back on the bed and think of  what to wear today. So, my suggestion is to lay out your clothes on a chair the night before. Guys obviously have this easier than girls, but both genders can benefit from this, especially if you’re in a tearing hurry.

5. Write a to-do list.

Aside from the obvious organizational benefits that a to-do list can brings, there is also a psychological element behind it. If you know you need to achieve things in the morning, your brain is more likely to stay alert (either through fear or eagerness) to complete the tasks. So get a reliable app or an old-fashioned piece of paper and make that list, either when dressed in the morning or the night before, based on when your brain functions at its best to beat the morning slog.

So there you have it. Five ways to shorten the morning slog and increase your productive time with the precious morning hours so easily wasted in semi-slumber.

Got more suggestions on how to get up faster and beat the morning slog? Please comment below!

Photo by DepositPhotos.

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Mark 'Angel' Brandt is a freelance music journalist, whose reviews and interviews can be found at In Angel's Headphones.


  1. OrangAkaun on the 10th September

    Thanks for the tips. I’m pretty sure that it will help.

    I always have trouble sleeping. That drag me to not to wake up early as I still need some time to sleep. My wife mad at me. Hope this will help me to change myself..

  2. Simon Duck on the 10th September

    I have to say that I am a morning person, but I still do what you have mentioned above to help me get started. Sleep cycle is fantastic, especially as I love seeing the statistics, if only they added more! Such as when you worst time for sleep is etc.

    I love waking up to my favourite songs and just because I am waking up to them doesn’t mean I start hating them, but I can understand it would for many.

    I need to start doing everything such as lay clothes out, make my lunch the night before, then I can have more time to get my morning exercise done. Another great way to get your body going.

    Simon Duck

  3. Dave on the 10th September

    The best thing i did was get rid of the caffeine…I know ‘you can’t function without it’…it’s the same thing i thought.
    I would drink so much during the week, that come Sunday AM my body would go into ‘shock’ and it felt like having the worst hang over in the world. Turns out it wasn’t from alcohol, but caffeine. Cut it out slowly, maybe have 1-2 cups a day and drink water, not pop. You would be amazed…

  4. Surminga on the 11th September

    A strong coffee, shower and a gentle alarm is what I need to get me up and going most mornings. Some mornings are worse than others mind you some require two coffees!

  5. Angel on the 13th September

    @Simon Duck: I would be interested to see when is the worst time for me to go to sleep, that’d help in building evening plans!
    I hadn’t considered morning exercise as an option (mainly because I’m not in the habit of it), but thanks for the tip! I’ll be taking that on board.

    @Dave and @Surminga: I’m glad a moderate amount of coffee gets you guys going in the morning, but (possibly regrettably) I can’t drink it! Hence coming up with these tips to try and get out of bed without caffeine’s blissful assistance. That said, I will indulge in herbal teas when relaxation and focus is required… And gentle alarms can be dangerous if you sleep heavily! But in the end, it’s whatever works for you =)

  6. Running Software on the 28th September

    Thanks for your nice post. Mark, What motivated you to call this blog “Five Ways to Beat the Morning Slog”, not that the title does not go with the content, I am just wondering. Thank you for the article Mark.

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