Morning Routine Ideas

Ideas to build YOUR best morning routine – win the morning, win the day!

wake up with the sun

How to Wake Up – Natural Light

For millions of years, our ancestors relied on nature’s alarm clock – the sun. We woke up with sunrise and started to wind down with sundown. We all have an internal Master Clock that is very sensitive to the cycle of light and dark. This Master Clock controls a lot of our bodies functions, much more than just when to get sleepy and go to bed. It controls your gut and digestion cycles, hormonal cycles and even affects the effectiveness of certain drugs – more about this.

So if your schedule allows for it, a great way to wake up (and synchronize your body with the natural sun cycle) is to open up your drapes when you go to bed and allow the sunlight to wake you up. Getting a good dose of sunlight first thing in the morning has all kinds of health benefits. Plus, it is much less stressful to wake up naturally to the sun rather than relying on a loud and obnoxious alarm. If you are worried that the sun would not wake you up and you would just sleep until noon, then you are probably not getting enough sleep.

If you have bright lights (street lights etc.) that might interfere with your sleep and prevent you from having the curtains open all night, there are some technology solutions you can consider. There are several systems that will open your curtains at a set time.

Of course for most of us, our schedule does not naturally align with sunrise – so next we will look at waking up using an artificial sunrise.


How to Wake Up – Sonos Speakers

There is a good chance that many of you already have a Sonos speaker in your home. These amazing speakers are very popular and for good reason. Even the smallest units have great sound over the whole spectrum, they are super easy to set up, and can be easily controlled from any of a number of apps.

Wake Up to Your Favorite Music Using Your Sonos Speaker

So having a morning routine to wake up using your Sonos speaker is a no-brainer. You can use the app to set up your wake up time and set a list of songs to wake up to.

If you also like to go to sleep while listening to music, the Sonos can be set to do that as well.

There are even models that can connect and be controlled by Amazon’s Alexa units using voice commands.

sleep cycle morning routine

How to Wake Up – Sleep Cycle App

Before you can run through your perfect morning routine, you actually have to wake up. This may be the hardest part of getting the most out of your day. As I was looking through hundreds of blog posts, books, and podcasts about morning routines, the one app I saw mentioned the most was Sleep Cycle (

It is available for both iOS and Android.

How Does Sleep Cyle Work?

As you sleep, your body goes therougha series of natural rythms. Sometimes you are deep asleep, and other times you are almost wake. Sleep Cycle tracks your sleeping patters using the phone’s built in microphone – no longer do you have to put the phone in the bed with you (although this is an option).

You set a wake up time and the app figures out the best time to wake you so that you are not jolted out of a deep, deep sleep. It takes a few nights to learn your patters but it works great.

Also the app provides a graphical view of how your night’s sleep went. The first thing I do every morning is to take a look at this graph!

Sleep Cycle app display

Do You Snore?

If you are not sure, or just don’t beleiveyour partner, Sleep Cycle can help with this as well. The app tracks how often you snore and even records you snoring so you can hear what all the fus is about!

Lots of Features

On top of all that the app has a lot of other features:

  • A ton of built-in alarm sounds that gradually get louder
  • A way to connect to your music so you can awake to your favorite song
  • If you prefer to use light rather than sound t wake up the app can control a Philips Hue light
  • Intelligent snooze that lets you snooze during wake up and adjust the snooze interval to get shorter and shorter.
  • Or you can manually set the time of your snooze cycle.
  • You can even begin to see how your sleep is affected by the weather of phases of the moon.

Sleep Cycle is currently how I kick off my morning routine.

In The News – Ditch Your Caffeine by Taking a Walk

Read about how the author confronted her caffein addiction by walking every morning as part of her morning routine. Click through for the whole article:

I Replaced My Morning Coffee With A Walk. Here’s What I Learned.

Could I power through the AM without a jolt of caffeine to get me going?


Tim Ferriss on Morning Routines

Tim Ferriss Talks About Morning Routines for Top Performers

Tim Ferriss has long been a big proponent of morning routines. One of the questions he always asks his podcast guests is how do they spend the first 90 minutes of their day. Most of the high performers he interviews have some sort of morning routine that helps them get their day started in a positive way.

Make Your Bed

Make Your Bed!

If you are having trouble getting started on your morning routine list, let me give you a quick start. Make your bed! Yes, every morning. Just this one thing will have a huge positive impact on your life. I resisted this advice for years (decades?) but when I finally started doing it, I noticed an immediate impact.

  • It only takes two minutes! And when you get really good at it you can get that down to one minute.
  • It’s a win first thing in the morning. Your first task is done. You are successful.
  • Good habits build on themselves and create a good life.
  • Studies show you sleep better in a made bed.
  • If you have a bad day you can at least crawl into a made bed!
  • The Wall Street Journal reports finding a positive correlation between wealth and those who make their beds daily.
  • Every time you walk past your bedroom you will smile at how great your bedroom looks!

If all that is not enough, don’t take my word for it. Here is what Adm. William H. McRaven, commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, has to say about making your bed:

Admiral McRaven went on to write a book about life lessons from SEAL training. Click the book cover to learn more:

Waking Up Ezarly

A Morning Routine is Not Always About Getting Up Early!

A common misconception people have when I talk about building a morning routine is that the goal is to get up before the crack of dawn. I’m here to tell you this is not true. It IS, however, about consistency and building a routine that supports your day – whenever that day starts.

I’ve taken an early retirement and have no need to get up before the sun. But I found after several months with no routine that I did need some structure to my day. A good morning routine provides exactly that. Previously, one day I would get up at 8:00 AM then the next day I’d sleep until noon! It sounds great but after a while, I just felt tired all the time. I was out of synch with my natural internal rhythms. I now get up at the same time every day and have a pre-planned list of things I know I’ll do first thing. I feel better, have more energy, and I get more done.

morning pages routine

Morning Pages

Most of us don’t realize how much we live in our own head. Our self-doubts, criticisms, petty grips, annoyances, minor injuries to your spirit all circle around all day and get in the way of getting things done and being creative.

Writing what author Julia Cameron called “Morning Pages” in her 1992 book, The Artists Way is a great way to get these thoughts out of your head and onto paper. Once they are out on paper it’s amazing how free you are to move on with your day and get things done without these negative voices popping up all the time. Practitioners almost all agree that this need to be done first thing upon waking, written by hand, and keep writing until you’ve written about 750 words – or about three handwritten pages.

The list of people who swear by the practice long and impressive. The process is described in her book and there is also a journal that has been custom designed to support the idea of morning pages.

Morning coffee

How Will You Start Your Day?

So what should you put in YOUR unique morning routine? Well, that’s the purpose of this blog. I’ve poured through blogs, and books, and podcasts listening for options. Here are the ideas I’ve found – try a few and see what works. If you get a good routine then add to it slowly over time. I’ll add new ideas frequently!

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