Forging new habits requires consistency. Start by setting a regular bedtime. "You've got to anchor the morning wake-up, and then count back the eight hours," Maas says. That goes for weekends, too. "You don't have two biological clocks."
Ease into your new routine, by going to bed 15 minutes earlier each week until you can clock a full night's sleep by the time you want to wake up, Maas says. Shifting your schedule should take about a month, he says.
Stay on track by keeping your bedroom cool and calm, and switch off electronics an hour before sleeping to help you settle down. And remember to avoid alcohol and caffeine for a few hours before bedtime as they can interfere with the critical sleep stage known as REM, when dreaming occurs and cells are restored, Maas says.
In time, your new regimen may feel as natural and predictable as the cycle of the sun. "You should never have to use an alarm to wake up," Maas says. "The body should wake up naturally after it's had enough sleep."