Products For Waking Up Early, According To Actual Morning People

We talked to newscasters, lobstermen, bakers, baristas and other early birds about their morning routine hacks.
Nike running shoes from Dick's Sporting Goods, a Hatch alarm clock, Dove Men's body wash from Target and a Nespresso from Amazon.

To get a taste of early morning life, I signed up for Sarah Downey’s 7 a.m. Vinyasa flow class at Monarch Yoga in Philadelphia. As I left my house at sunrise — it only took three iPhone alarms and 32 ounces of iced coffee — it felt to me like the middle of the night, something I’d laugh about later when interviewing folks that wake up as early as 3 a.m. on a daily basis.

Though Downey arrives at the studio just after dawn multiple times a week, she still identifies as an “aspirational morning person” and said it’s not always easy to jump out of bed ready to greet the day.

“I’m not a natural morning person,” a seemingly well-rested Downey told me. “But I really like teaching the early morning yoga classes... I’ll already be up and I’m gonna be so productive. A lot of it is just motivation.”

Downey, along with a majority of the other early birds I spoke to, described becoming a so-called “morning person” over time. They weren’t all biologically wired to wake up with the sun, nor did they shrug it off as something easy or enjoyable. It seems, however, that getting up at 5, 4 or even 3 a.m. is possible with the right routines and habits (and of course, a few helpful products).

To pull back the black-out curtain on the inner workings of morning people, we asked 10 early birds about their a.m. hacks and the things that energize them for the day, even when the rest of the world is still snoozing.

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A soothing sunrise light (and a happy morning song)
Who:Alexandra and Jacob Cohen, owners of Kismet Bagels (and parents to a newborn) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Alarm time: "We have to wake up at 3 or 4 a.m. every single day," Jacob said.

Hack: "For the first two years [of our business], I was truly just running on excitement and adrenaline and could sleep for just 2 hours and wake up and be ready to go. Now that we've gotten into a groove and it's a bit harder for me to wake up, I use this Hatch alarm. Jake got me it for Hanukkah and it has this calming sound and gradual rising light and it's been a game changer for me. I can't go without it now!" — Alexandra

"A long time ago, I took the beginning of The Beatles' 'Good Morning' and made it my alarm, and I swear by it. It's such a happy way to wake up, it never fails!" — Jacob

The Hatch Restore is a sound machine, alarm clock, reading light and sunrise lamp all in one. It works with the Hatch app, bringing you calming sleep content, soothing sounds and meditations.
Take a shower with invigorating soap
Who: Steve Murray, a deckhand at F/V Sandollar who sells lobster to Cape Ann Lobstermen in Gloucester, Massachusetts

Alarm time: "I get up around 4:15."

Hack: "For me, a big thing that helps is taking a shower. I know it sounds backwards because I'm going to play with dead fish for the day, but something about it helps me feel refreshed and ready for the day. Cold or hot, it doesn't matter for me. I use soap with some type of menthol/eucalyptus in it. It's the scent that really helps me wake up. Something about the fresh eucalyptus smell wakes up my brain."

Murray is currently using the Dove Men+Care blue eucalyptus and birch body wash.
Make a fancy hot drink
Who: Katie Woodall, a certified nurse midwife in Beverly, Massachusetts

Alarm time: "I do 24-hour shifts on call in the hospital, 8 a.m. to 8 a.m.”

Hack: "I am obsessed with my Nespresso! I have the Vertuo. It’s bougie but motivates me for sure. The Vertuo is great because they have a recycling program for the pods and ship used ones back for free. Sometimes I imagine I’m sipping my latte in France or Italy in a little cafe."
Drink a cold glass of water
Who: Andrew Keenan, a climbing arborist in Essex, Maine

Alarm time: "I wake up at 3 a.m."

Hack: "I guess the biggest thing would be the glass of cold water. I drink one as soon as I wake up. It helps me shake off any grogginess and gets me started on my hydration routine, which is extremely important in my profession. At 3 a.m., it’s difficult to not feel exhausted and groggy, no matter how well-trained I am at this point. The water is usually a refreshing way to combat that. I’ll use my 32-ounce Nalgene most mornings."

Keenan drinks from the tap, stating that Maine has the cleanest drinking water in the country. Those of us who aren't so lucky may opt for this Brita 10-cup pitcher or a cult-favorite high-capacity Berkey filter.
Have lunch already packed
Who: Jenny Sonia, a special education teacher and former barista in Gloucester, Massachusetts

Alarm time: "[At the cafe] I would get up about 4:45 a.m.! Now I usually get up at 5:30."

Hack: "My Pyrex containers make meal prepping for the week accessible so I can prepackage my lunch the night before!"

This set contains nine Pyrex containers and matching lids in various shapes and sizes.
Find a morning moisturizer you're excited to put on
Who:Stephanie Zullo, a barista in Chicago, Illinois and founder of Stefania, a shapewear and lingerie label

Alarm time: "I wake up at 5:15 a.m. to be there and clocked in by 6 a.m.!"

Hack: "I always try to set myself up for success the night before. I actually set up my morning skincare routine out on the counter instead of leaving it in the cabinet. That way I never forget to moisturize/apply sunscreen. Otherwise, my skin gets so dry throughout the day. My all-time FAVORITE is Tatcha's Dewy Skin Cream!"
Move your body
Who:Dominic Rocconi, founder of hoagie pop-up Hoagie Dom in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Alarm time: "On the day of an event where I'm baking, I'll get up around probably 3 or 4 a.m.”

Hack: "I like to go for a run, as crazy as that may sound. I wear Nike Free Run 5.0's; those are my favorite running shoe. I think it just naturally gets my body moving, you get some fresh air and it gives the energy that I'm looking for in the morning. Then I come back and I have an espresso."

Nike Free Run 5.0 men's running shoes come in 14 colors from sizes 6-15.
Ensure total darkness when you sleep
Who:Alex Holley, co-host of “Good Day Philadelphia” on Fox29

Alarm time: "I have multiple alarms. First is at 3 a.m. and my last alarm goes off around 3:20."

Hack: "Blackout shades! In the summertime, my bedtime doesn't change, [but] at the peak of summer, the sun doesn't go down at least until like 8:30. It can be hard. So blackout shades really help because it keeps things nice and dark and it'll help you go off sleep even though it's still bright outside.”

While Holley can't recommend specific shades, these on Amazon have over 7,000 positive reviews and come in seven sizes and 11 colors.
Get tomorrow's outfit all laid out
Who:Helen Cowan, head cheesemaker at Shelburne Farms in Shelburne, Vermont

Wakes up at: "Our cheese-making team starts prepping at 6 a.m."

Hack: "Pre-planning the next day's outfit, so I'm not met with indecision in the morning."

This dark wood valet stand holds exactly one change of clothes. There's even a little table to set out your wallet and accessories, plus a section for your shoes.
An interactive alarm app that makes you solve a mission to turn it off
Who:Sara Downey, early morning yoga teacher at Monarch Yoga in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Wakes up at: "For the 6:30 class, I normally wake up at 5:30."

Hack: "I have an app that I use called Alarmy. [It has] all these different settings, but essentially, you set whatever time you wanna wake up, then you choose your 'mission.' And that's what you have to do to turn off the alarm, like physically get out of bed and like take a picture of something or do a certain number of steps and track it. I think there's an option where you have to do squats. I have mine set so that I have to do four math problems. By the time I do the four math problems, I'm like, all right, I am unfortunately awake now."

Alarmy is free to download but has in-app purchases if you chose to upgrade to premium.

Some answers were edited for clarity and length.

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