Early waking

Restful sleep is very important for well-being and performance. However, a restful sleep does not only mean being able to fall asleep quickly in the evening but also to sleep through until the desired time to get up. Find out here why you may wake up too early and what you can do about it.


Causes of waking up early

If you are awake long before the alarm clock rings, if you roll around in bed and cannot fall asleep again despite being tired, then you may be suffering from a disorder with regard to sleeping in. Like disorders with regard to falling asleep or sleeping through, the causes are usually to be found in the following areas:

  • External causes: noise, light, coffee, alcohol etc.    
  • Psychosocial causes: stress, restlessness, anxiety, etc.     
  • Physical causes: pain, illnesses, hormonal balance, etc.

An acute disorder with regard to sleeping in is often only an acute problem. In other words: If you can find the cause, the problem can often be eliminated quickly. If not, our tips on this info sheet may help you. Even if they do not help, you should go on a search for causes together with experts.

letsleep Tips

  • You should not be interested in the time at night. Trust your alarm clock. It will wake you up reliably.  
  • If you wake up much too early again, stay in bed at first and do not build up any pressure. 
  •  If you think about unfinished work, then your thoughts should be "problem-solving" and not "anxious".   
  •  Pen and paper next to the bed will help you to hold on to a thought so that you can devote yourself to it later. 
  • Avoid looking at your mobile phone. Messages, mails or just the light of the display can wake you up additionally.

Stimulus control and cognitive techniques

The so-called stimulus control aims to re-establish a mental connection (association) between the bed and sleep. If the bed is used for activities other than sleep (e.g. ruminating) for a longer period of time, the body does not react with fatigue when looking at the bed but with restlessness or in the worst case with fear. Therefore, we advise you the following:

  • Use the bed only for sleeping and sexuality.
  • Do not go to bed until you are really tired.
  • If you cannot sleep, leave the bed again.

An important role in waking up early is played by negative thoughts such as worries or fears - especially fear of insomnia! Cognitive techniques can help you to deal with these thoughts constructively. You find these techniques as explanation video clips under “sleep tips” on

Riemann, D. (2007). Primäre Insomnien. In H. Peter, T. Penzel & J. H. Peter (Hrsg.), Enzyklopädie der Schlafmedizin (S. 941-949), Heidelberg: Springer