We all know sleep is vital to our physical health and mental well-being. Good sleep is critical to  your success. It can help you be a better leader, make you more creative, and even increase your life expectancy. But what many don't know is that it's not just how well you go to sleep or how long you stay asleep that matters, but also how you wake up. Because, while sleep is a gatekeeper of good health, your alarm clock is a gatekeeper of success. 

This doesn't mean you need to join the 5 a.m. club or carve out an hour for exercise or meditation in the morning. Sure, many of the most successful people have made these things part of their success strategy and daily ritual. But when first starting out, it's less to do with having a great night's sleep, a high level of energy, or a mountain of motivation. 

The key to bridging the difference between where you are and where you want to be may be as simple as taking one small step: changing your alarm clock settings. 

That's right. While it might seem as though some are just wired differently, the difference may be as simple as how you set your alarm clock. The secret is rather than setting your alarm for the latest possible time, set your alarm at the earliest possible time that would provide a sufficient amount of sleep. This way, your alarm doesn't work to tell you when you have to get up, but when it's OK to get up. 

In other words, don't set an alarm when you need to be up by. Set your alarm by how long you actually need to stay in bed--and nothing more. This way, it's set so that you get the right amount of sleep that is sufficient for you. 

So, if you need to wake up by 7, don't set your alarm for 7. Consider what is the earliest time that would be ok to get up in terms of getting an ample amount of sleep. If you went to bed at 10 p.m., this time might be 5 or 6 in the morning, giving you seven to eight hours (or whatever your body needs). 

This way, it's OK to hit snooze, because you'll end up getting out of bed and starting your day earlier than if you had set your alarm to your original time. And in the instances when you're not sleeping well, you don't have to check the time to know whether it's OK to get up. 

Granted, it won't matter what time you set your alarm clock for if you genuinely don't want to get up. Being a morning person is scientifically proven to make you more successful, but the most successful morning people are typically pursuing something that motivates them to get out of bed early. 

So if you're doing something that doesn't make you excited to get up, then it might be a sign you're not doing the right thing for you. It doesn't mean you need the most exciting venture, but you do need to be happy doing what you do in order to do it well enough to be successful at it.