If you’re like the vast majority of Africans, the sound of your morning alarm mostly serves as a cue to roll over and hide your head under the covers. Getting out of bed can be tough, but it doesn’t have to be torture.

“If you’re sleep-deprived, it takes a lot longer to feel refreshed and alert when you wake up,” says Meeta Singh, M.D., a sleep specialist at Henry Ford Health System. Want to wake up refreshed? Making just a few tweaks to your a.m. routine can help you feel more energized and alert when the alarm bell sounds. Here are some strategies guaranteed to put a spring in your step:

Sleep (Obviously!). The best way to wake up refreshed is to get seven to nine hours of sleep each night, says Singh, who stresses the importance of establishing good sleep habits. Keep your bedroom dark, cool, and peaceful. Nix alcohol and caffeine several hours before bedtime and shut down all electronics at least an hour before you turn in.

Work with your sleep cycle. Your body’s natural circadian rhythm is designed to wake up with light and sleep in darkness. Do the best you can to mimic that lighting no matter when you rise and turn in. Step into the sunlight within a few minutes of waking to cue your body that it’s time to wake up. Work nights? Keep your room dark during the day so you can sleep and immerse yourself in light during your waking hours.

Consider a.m. exercise. If you’re a morning person, an a.m. workout can help you feel more energized. Exercise not only improves circulation, but it also produces mood-boosting hormones. In fact, as little as 10 minutes of movement can make you feel more refreshed and alert. The only caveat: If skipping your morning exercise routine nets you an extra hour of sleep, that’s almost more beneficial than exercise, says Dr. Singh.

Eat a solid breakfast. If your daily fix is coffee and a Krispy Kreme, that could be contributing to your morning sluggishness. After fasting all night, your body needs real fuel (preferably a mix of protein, carbohydrates, and fat). A few solid choices: oatmeal topped with nuts and berries, scrambled eggs on whole-grain toast, or plain low-fat Greek yogurt and fruit.

Don’t hit snooze. “Repeatedly hitting the snooze button on your alarm can actually make it harder for you to feel awake and alert,” says Dr. Singh. In fact, consistently waking up and snoozing for 10 minutes each morning adds up to more than an hour of interrupted sleep over the course of a week. A better bet: Set the alarm for when you actually have to get out of bed — and don’t hit snooze.