1. Gradually go to bed earlier!From your ideal wake-up time, count back seven or eight hours, which is the amount sleep experts recommend to feel well-rested (and stave off problems like weight gain, diabetes and cancer). If you tend to stay up late, start going to bed 15 minutes earlier each night until you reach your ideal bedtime. In other words, don’t expect to fall asleep at 10 p.m. if you usually hit the sack at midnight. The key is to work up to your goal gradually.
2. Have a bedtime snack! If you’re getting seven or eight hours of sleep and are still waking up tired in the morning, it could be because you have low blood sugar levels, says Angela Ginn, R.D.N., a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Wake up with more energy by eating a tablespoon of unsweetened almond butter before you go to sleep to help stabilize your blood sugar overnight.
3. Plan your workout! Before you go to bed, make sure everything you need for the next day is ready. Channel your inner grade school student and lay out your gym clothes. It’s also a good idea to plan your workout: Write down exactly what you want to do—whether it’s take a class or run 10 miles—so you’ll be getting up with a purpose.
4. Do not hit snooze! Most of us set our alarms with a snooze buffer zone. Whether yours is 10 minutes or an hour, commit to giving it up and rising as soon as your alarm goes off. That way, you can spend that time actually sleeping—instead of groggily coming in out of dreams and enduring a mental battle with yourself to get up.
5. Ease into it! In the beginning, your goal is to simply get to the gym and do something, whether it’s a little resistance training or a quick jog on the treadmill. Research shows that it’s better to work out a little consistently than go hard and fall off the wagon a few days later.