Some people feel they do not have the energy or motivation to get out of bed in the morning. However, some simple tricks may help a person get going once they wake up.

Depression, stress, anxiety, or lack of sleep can make staying in bed tempting. However, staying in bed can worsen some symptoms of depression and insomnia. Where possible, it is best to try to get up at the same time each day.

When a person finds stress, anxiety, or depression overwhelming, they can try following the 12 tips below.

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Sometimes, anxiety about the day’s tasks can make it hard to get out of bed. If so, it may help to divide the day into manageable steps.

Goal setting is a key tool for people with chronic illnesses seeking to manage their lives and feel better, including those with depression.

Setting goals can be easy, but meeting them can sometimes be challenging. For this reason, researchers recommend setting SMART goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timed. This way, a person can plan their goals and know when they have achieved them.

Possible goals include:

  • taking a walk in the park
  • planning to complete one small step of a project
  • making one phone call or answering one email
  • setting a number of steps to walk

Some people may need to break things into smaller steps, such as:

  • getting up
  • using the bathroom
  • getting dressed
  • having breakfast

Breaking up the day into manageable goals can make it seem less overwhelming.

Individuals can write down tasks and cross them off as they complete them. This produces a sense of achievement that can help people feel more motivated before starting their next set of tasks.

Research suggests that interacting with animals, such as pet dogs and cats, is linked to greater mental and physical well-being, including during challenging times.

People who interact with animals may score better on various measures than those who interact only with humans in terms of:

  • their perception of their ability to cope with challenges
  • stress
  • anxiety
  • overall well-being
  • positive emotions

Having a dog may also encourage someone to exercise, which can help reduce stress and boost overall health.

However, having a pet will not reduce stress for everyone. People should only consider getting a pet if they can commit to caring for it.

Research shows that being accountable to someone can help people keep to a plan and meet their goals.

Friends and family members can help a person find a reason to get out of bed in the morning.

For example, they could arrange with the person to:

  • wake them up at a specific time each day with some activity that requires interaction, such as a phone call or a cup of coffee
  • walk, run, or exercise first thing in the morning
  • meet at a coffee shop on the way to work
  • carpool to work
  • talk with each other on the way to work or school each morning

Reaching out to a trusted friend or family member may help a person with depression feel less isolated.

Looking forward to events can benefit a person’s well-being and mental health, according to a 2017 study. Focusing on an upcoming event, action, or moment that inspires positive feelings can motivate a person to do that action or simply keep moving forward.

Although every day does not need to have something exciting planned, simple things can also bring pleasure, such as:

  • the post-exercise feeling
  • the first sip of morning tea or coffee
  • enjoying a breath of fresh air
  • a tasty breakfast
  • seeing a friendly face

Focusing on these things may help prevent negative feelings from taking over.

In a 2015 study, researchers found that seeing positive images in the mind’s eye can help people feel more positive.

Most people can remember examples of successful moments in their lives. Maybe it was getting an A on a test or receiving a kind word or gift.

Focusing on the event and the positive feeling linked to it may help the person feel better and able to get moving.

In theory, the light-dark cycle of day and night and the individual’s body clock should ensure people sleep and wake at a suitable time and spend an appropriate number of hours asleep. However, the demands of daily life can disrupt this.

Alarm clocks can help when people need to be somewhere sooner than their body clock would like, often due to social or work pressures. Sometimes a health condition means a person sleeps more than they want to, or they cannot sleep at night and are tired in the morning.

An alarm can wake a person up in the morning and help them establish a regular sleeping routine when their routine is out of sync.

For people who go back to sleep after the alarm sounds, here are some tips:

  • Set the alarm to allow time to get ready but not enough time to make it worthwhile going back to sleep.
  • Put it far enough away that you have to get up to turn it off.
  • When it rings, open the curtains or switch on a light.
  • If this is hard, focus on putting your feet on the floor and heading toward the alarm, one foot after the other.

Consider using a clock rather than a mobile phone or other devices, and keep the phone in another room at night. Receiving messages during the night can disrupt sleep and may make it harder to wake up.

Find out about circadian rhythms and how they work.

Humans are biologically programmed to sleep in the dark and wake up when daylight comes. But, factors such as light pollution, shift work, and seasonal changes can make this impractical for many people.

Darkened rooms are good for sleep. People who have trouble falling asleep may find that reducing ambient light can help them fall and stay asleep.

In the morning, however, a darkened room can make it hard to get up. In this case, when the alarm sounds, a person should turn on a bright light or open the shades or curtains.

Another option is to set a timer for the light to turn on at a particular hour and help them wake up.

Research suggests that music can alter a person’s mood.

According to one review, how a person listens to music in everyday life can affect the feelings they associate with it.

Music can help a person relax or fall asleep, but it can also lift their spirits and motivate them to get going. Turning on some upbeat music in the morning may help a person get started.

Learn more about music therapy.

Getting out and spending time with friends or family can positively affect people’s moods, particularly those with depression.

This could mean meeting for a coffee, a walk, or a movie.

Events can give a person something to look forward to and help them push through their day.

To-do lists can sometimes be helpful, but lists with too many activities can be overwhelming, especially first thing in the morning. Prioritizing essential tasks may help reduce this stress.

For example, a person can decide on a few tasks on the list they know are possible to complete. Ticking them off may then motivate them to do more.

Get some tips on managing stress.

Being outside can help people feel more energized. Fresh air and sunshine can often improve a person’s mood. They should plan to spend at least a little bit of each day walking, reading a book, or doing another activity outside.

According to one review of studies, exposure to green space can help people replenish themselves and reduce mental fatigue and stress. More research is needed to determine why this happens, but evidence suggests being outdoors can help a person feel better overall.

Learn more about seasonal affective disorder, and how it can affect mood and motivation.

Most people have days when they do not want to get out of bed or do much. Often, the feeling passes after a few days. If it persists or there are other symptoms, a person should seek medical advice.

Depression has a range of symptoms, including sleeping more or less than usual for at least 2 weeks.

Health conditions that can cause fatigue or make it difficult to get out of bed include:

Dysania refers to an inability to get out of bed after waking up. It is not a medical term but may describe the type of staying-in-bed that affects people with depression.

Find out more about fatigue and what to do about it.

Here are some questions people often ask about difficulty getting out of bed.

Why can I not get up in the morning?

Possible underlying reasons include depression and anxiety. Depression is linked to dysania, a nonmedical term for when a person feels the need to stay in bed without sleeping. A wide range of physical conditions can also lead to fatigue, making it hard to get up. They include ME/CFS and long COVID.

What practical tips can help me get out of bed?

Various practical tips can help, such as making a to-do list, using an alarm clock, opening the blinds on waking up, and finding things to look forward to during the day.

How do I know if it is a health problem?

If practical actions do not help and the person persistently finds it hard to get up, it may be a good idea to contact a doctor. Difficulty waking up or getting up may be due to depression, chronic fatigue, or another mental or physical condition.

Sometimes, people may find it difficult to get out of bed in the morning.

A range of practical strategies may help, such as using an alarm clock, making a to-do list, and waking up to music.

If nothing seems to help, a person should seek medical advice. A doctor may assess the person for depression, anemia, long COVID, ME/CFS, or another condition.