What Time Should I Wake Up – Whether you’re a student or working a nine-to-five job, at one point in your life, you’ve surely dreaded the answer to the question, “What time should I wake up?”
People are more often concerned about the responsibilities and activities that are waiting to be done the next day versus the quality of their sleep. If you are not a morning person, waking up early is a challenge. However, being productive may have very little to do with your sleep patterns .
The key to being productive is consistent with your sleep schedule. Students at Harvard College were tested for 30 days to gauge whether sleeping habits affect academic performance. The test showed students with consistent sleep schedules fared better than those who slept at uncertain times.
It supports the theory that no matter what time you wake up in the morning, your body’s sleep time should remain consistent .
Understanding The Body Clock
To fully optimize your sleep schedule, it’s vital that you know your own body clock, also known as the circadian rhythm.
The circadian rhythm is the body’s sleep-wake cycle. It is a natural system designed to manage your body’s response to sleeping and waking. It is controlled by the part of your brain that perks you up when you are exposed to light .
The body clock is also responsible for secreting the hormone melatonin which helps us fall asleep. When your circadian clock is unstable, it significantly affects your ability to wake up earlier. Since a good night’s sleep helps in maintaining brain and muscle functions as well as supporting a healthy immune system, you put your body at risk of sickness and infection if you do not stick to a good bedtime routine .
The circadian rhythm varies from one person to another. While there are early risers who take pleasure in waking up before everyone else starts their morning, there are also night owls who function at their best during the night.
It also changes as people age. For instance, teenagers need a longer sleep cycle than adults because that is how their bodies are programmed. On the other hand, adults are more prone to sleep and wake up early in the morning .
What Time Should I Wake Up: Sleep Cycles
When deciding when is the best time to wake up, take into consideration the natural sleep cycle in conjunction with the length of a night’s sleep. Five sleep cycles govern our sleep time: four phases of non-REM (non-rapid eye movement) sleep and one phase of REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. Each sleep cycle lasts between 70 to 100 minutes.
Sleep phases gradually progress from light sleep to a deep sleep cycle. You enter the first sleep cycle about 15 minutes after you go to bed. That advances to the fourth sleep cycle, where a very deep sleep occurs. The fifth and final phase is when you start to dream .
Professionals suggest the preferred time to wake should coincide with your sleep cycle to get the best results. This is defined by waking up naturally without the use of an alarm clock or the snooze button. For example, if you wake up during your phase of deep non-REM sleep, you might wake up groggier and more tired than when you fell asleep. To help you determine the ideal time for waking up in the morning, use an online sleep calculator .
The Basics For A Good Night’s Sleep
Avoid using your phone
Artificial blue light from mobile phones and computers can confuse your brain into thinking that it’s still morning. To get the best out of your bedtime, avoid using your phone, laptop, and other devices two to three hours before falling asleep. You can use this extra time to wind down after a long day by meditating or reading to help wear you out .
Avoid caffeine and alcohol
Caffeine is a stimulant and perks you up. It can stay in your system for at least four hours. Caffeine will not only keep you from falling asleep but may also make your feel wired.
Alcohol, on the other hand, may get you to sleep fast but it will prevent you from reaching the deep sleep phase. Although alcohol has a sedating effect, it impairs the quality of sleep once it wears off. Even moderate drinking, such as having two glasses of wine before bed can affect the quality of your sleep and in some cases even interrupt it .
Do a morning workout
An early morning workout can significantly decrease your chances of waking up tired. In general, people who do regular exercise are proven to have less daytime sleepiness. In fact, walking for at least 10 minutes a day can help you achieve better sleep quality. It is suggested, however, not to do any vigorous workouts when you’re close to your bedtime.
Stretching and meditation are both great alternative evening workouts .
The Case For Waking Up Early
If you want to follow the steps of many successful people, you can start setting your alarm for 4:30 AM. Vogue’s Anna Wintour, Michelle Obama, and Apple CEO Tim Cook are already up and starting their day before dawn.
Other noteworthy people up before dawn include Virgin Group founder Richard Branson, writer Anais Nin, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, and more. For them, it pays to wake up early – literally !
When it comes to being more productive, we’ve all found ourselves asking the same question: “What time should I wake up in the morning?”
Unfortunately, there is no catch-all answer. It is more dependent on your workload: have a lot on your plate and need to be highly productive? Then wake up early in the morning.
If you choose to avoid the snooze, here are some of the benefits these folks claim they receive from waking up early.
Successful people all over the world set their alarm early with the intent of doing more. While some are merely morning people, most of them want to get a good head start. A good morning routine can not only provide you with clarity for decision-making, but it can also help you avoid distractions .
May improve health
Waking up early may be good for your mental health. When you get out of bed early, you are giving your body the time it needs to adjust to the start of your day versus the high-stress
hustle and bustle of rushing out the door. Waking up early can reduce stress, improve your creativity and decision-making skills, and fuel you with incredible positivity throughout the day .
Normalizes body clock
Early risers are not prone to sleep deprivation because they have already stabilized a healthy sleep routine. If you commit to a consistent sleep schedule, you won’t have to ask the question, “What time should I wake up in the morning?” Your body’s biological clock will make it easier for you to ditch the alarm clock and get out of bed on your own. Getting up early normalizes your body clock and gives you the internal alarm you need in the morning .
You may also enjoy reading Why Do I Sleep So Much – The Serious Side Effects Of Oversleeping
What Time Should I Wake Up References;
 US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health; Sleep, Health and Wellness at Work: A Scoping Review, Nicola Magnavita, Sergio Garbarino, November 06, 2017.
 US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health; Irregular sleep/wake patterns are associated with poorer academic performance and delayed circadian and sleep/wake timing, Andrew J. K. Phillips,corresponding author#1,2 William M. Clerx,#1,2 Conor S. O’Brien, Akane Sano, Laura K. Barger, Rosalind W. Picard, Steven W. Lockley, Elizabeth B. Klerman, Charles A. Czeisler, June 12, 2017.
 US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health; Overview of circadian rhythms., Vitaterna MH, Takahashi JS, Turek FW, 2001.
 US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health; Role of melatonin in the regulation of human circadian rhythms and sleep, Cajochen C, Kräuchi K, Wirz-Justice A., April 15, 2003.
 US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health; Circadian Rhythms, Sleep, and Disorders of Aging, Joanna Mattis, Amita Sehgal, April 27, 2016.
 When To Sleep; Sleep Calculator.
 Sleep, National Sleep Foundation; How External Lights Affect Your Sleep.
 US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health; Caffeine Consumption and Sleep Quality in Australian Adults, Emily J. Watson, Alison M. Coates, Mark Kohler, Siobhan Banks, August 04, 2016.
 Help Guide; How to Sleep Better.
 CNBC; Your ultimate guide to waking up early, Zdravko Cvijetic, February 09, 2017.
 Virgin; Is waking up at 4am really the secret to being a successful person?.
 US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health; The Role of Sleep and Sleep Disorders in the Development, Diagnosis, and Management of Neurocognitive Disorders, Michelle A. Miller, October 23, 2015.
 US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health; Jim Waterhouse, Yumi Fukuda, Takeshi Morita, March 13, 2012.