Steph Pase’s Morning Routine Hack Will Turn You Into An Early Bird

The organisational expert reveals her secret to good mornings.
steph pase

I bet you’re thinking “pfft, the author of this article has probably always been an early bird.”

Well, if you had told me years ago that I would willingly wake up before the sun, I would have laughed, rolled over and gone back to sleep until noon (thanks block out blinds).

Let me paint you a picture: I was the champion of the snooze button, and the president of the ‘just five more minutes’ club.

My mornings started somewhere around brunch, and I thought breakfast was merely a myth invented by early risers to make the general population look bad.

Then, I entered the world of motherhood, where your welcome gift is your own tiny human alarm clock, which is cute and all but it’s noisy, it’s sticky and shows no mercy.

steph pase daughters
Steph Pase and her two daughters.

The thing about life is that as soon as we wake up we are running on other people’s needs and agendas: get the kids breakfast, make lunches, prep school bags, go to work, answer emails.

As soon as that sun is in the sky, the demands of the world now have you at its command.

We all feel it; the chronic burnout and overwhelm of life. We never feel as though there is enough time and we simply can’t keep up—and as someone who has ADHD I feel this in my bones.

So, during the early years of being a mother—luckily the kids started sleeping though the night—I decided I wanted to try getting up early so I could just be.

And it changed my life.

These are the magic hours where the world is still asleep, no one needs you, there are no emails you need to get back to—you can simply be.

This not only helped me with the postnatal depression I experienced but also my symptoms of ADHD and anxiety. AND the cherry on top? I got so much done!

Science agrees. A study published in the journal Emotion found that people who wake up early tend to be more proactive and have higher levels of productivity throughout the day.

But a morning routine shouldn’t feel like another thing to check off your to-do list—getting up early is about creating space for yourself, having time to look after your needs, and allows you to be intentional with your time.

Now, you might be thinking “but every time I try to get up early it’s so hard and I can’t stick to it or even get out of bed.”

Well I have a life changing hack that I used to gently shift my sleep cycle and allow my body to gradually get used to waking earlier so that I didn’t turn into a potato by 2pm.

But first, we need to talk about the actual morning routine because without one that works for you, you won’t want to get out of bed in the morning.

Steph Pase’s Morning Routine Hack

A morning routine is not one-size-fits-all.

Forget what the TikTokers are doing—a 4am meditation, bone broth and 10km run is nice for some, but not the benchmark.

It’s all about what is right for you.

I like to get up at 5am to enjoy the quiet before the rest of the house wakes up. I stretch, meditate, journal and exercise.

These are the things that not only make me feel good, but also allow me to be more patient and a more present human in every aspect.

For you, this routine may be reading a book for 30 minutes and having a cup of coffee in peace but it also could be doing yoga and then listening to your favourite podcast; the possibilities are endless.

I want you to ask yourself: what things would make me feel good in order to start my day in a good headspace?

Your Morning Routine Starts the Night Before

Yes, you read that right; your morning routine actually starts the night before.

Do things like laying out your workout clothes, prepping food and snacks for the next day, and winding down properly so you have a good sleep—for me, that means all overhead lights off at 7pm, no phone after 8pm and then reading in bed.

As someone who has always been a terrible sleeper, limiting bright lights and screens changed my sleep forever!

Ok you’ve waited long enough, here is the hack to getting up earlier so it doesn’t shock your system.

Ease your body’s resistance to your new routine by introducing it slowly. Simply get up 15 minutes earlier every day for a week, then each week progress it by another 15 minutes.

So it will look a little something like this; let’s say you currently get up at 7am but want to get up at 6am; your new wake up times will be the following:

Current wakeup time: 7am

Week 1– 6:45am

Week 2– 6:30am

Week 3– 6:15am

Week 4– 6:00am

And voila! By the end of the fourth week, your body will be adjusted to waking up at 6am, no afternoon crashes for you!

By doing it this way it’s less of a shock to the system, and will help your body adjust to an earlier bedtime too.

Stay Consistent on Weekends

There’s a reason why Monday mornings are harder to wake up than any other day—it’s because you slept in later over the weekend, so your body is trying to readjust every single week to an inconsistent sleep schedule.

Late nights and sleep-ins will happen, that’s life, but for the most part, consistency is key.

A study of more than 60 Harvard students over one month found that those with the most consistent wake-up hours performed better compared to those who mixed it up, even though they were getting the same amount of sleep.

Don’t Forget The Water

The first thing I do on waking is chug a big glass of water. This kick-starts the body after a night of fasting and instantly makes me feel more awake.

Move with the Flow

When we wake up in the morning, our body experiences a ‘cortisol awakening response’ — a big spike in cortisol levels.

Cortisol gets a bad rap for being the stress hormone, but it plays a crucial role in regulating our bodily functions, metabolism, immune system, and stress response.

We can rely on this cortisol spike to not only help us get out of bed, but feel more alert and motivated when we do.

So it’s the perfect time to incorporate movement in your day. It gets the blood flowing, endorphins pumping, reduces anxiety, and promotes focus and calm.

Plus, if you do it first thing, your brain barely has time to register that it’s happening and can’t talk you out of it by the end of the day!

Phone Hacks

Try charging your phone on the other side of the room, which ensures you have to get up to turn off the alarm.

You can also use focus mode, which restricts access to certain apps until a more reasonable hour. It’s not foolproof, but it does provide an extra barrier to stop yourself mindlessly scrolling.

Trial, Error and Evolution

A morning routine does not have to remain the same; it is like anything in life that evolves depending on what is and isn’t working, and what season of life you’re in. (Please don’t get up at 5am if you have a newborn who you only got down to sleep at 3:30 am!)

Trial different routines until you find the one you like best.

For more life hacks, advice and inspiration, follow Steph Pase on Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, listen to her podcast Stephing Up, or visit

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