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Just because you’re rising before dawn to catch the first flight out doesn’t mean you have to feel drowsy all day.

Sometimes there’s just no avoiding an early morning flight, whether it’s because you have to be at your destination in time for a 9:00 AM meeting or because the ticket costs half the price of one for a flight leaving later in the day. And no thanks to the long lines at security, those pre-dawn take-offs can force you to set your alarm for 3:30 AM or earlier! You might think there’s no way you can get enough sleep on that schedule, but these simple steps will help you take off for your destination feeling refreshed and ready for the trip.

  1. Adjust your sleep schedule. Starting a few days before your flight, go to bed 30 minutes before you usually do and set your alarm to wake up half an hour earlier in the morning. Move it up another 30 minutes the next evening, and again the evening after that. By the time the night before your travel day rolls around, you’ll be able to hit the hay a few hours before normal, boosting how much sleep you can get before the alarm goes off.
  2. Set yourself up for good sleep. This is not the night to be tossing and turning. A few things to keep in mind: Don’t have any caffeine late in the day, avoid alcohol, and put down your electronics an hour before bedtime.
  3. Fool your body. As soon as your alarm goes off, flip on a bunch of lamps. The bright lights tell your body that you aren’t in sleeping mode anymore, and serve as a signal that it should stop producing snooze-inducing melatonin. The result: More energy instantly, even if you didn’t get a full night of sleep.