January 17, 2022 3 min read
Anyone who has ever attempted to improve the quality of their sleep knows the importance of setting a regular sleep schedule. And what that usually entails is going to bed at the same time each night and waking at an appropriate time each morning.
While you probably know that you should be in bed between 9 and 12 pm to get enough good sleep, is there a magic hour at which you need to wake up for optimal health?
The short answer is, not exactly. The healthiest time to wake up is, generally speaking, in the early morning. But the exact hour you should wake up for optimal health and well-being seems to be largely personal and here’s why.
Humans aremainlydiurnal creatures, meaning we’re programmed to be active during the day and to sleep at night. This behavior is regulated by our internal clock called the circadian rhythm. What’s interesting about the circadian rhythm is that it doesn't work by itself — it responds to environmental cues to make us behave in a predictable pattern.
When the sun sets and it becomes dark, for example, the brain starts to release melatonin to make us sleepy. Conversely, melatonin release declines with light exposure to trigger waking. This fact alone suggests that the optimal sleep time should be in sync with the sun’s rising and setting.
However, humans are also diverse and adaptable. The field of sleep medicine has long ago discovered different chronotypes: “night owls” and “morning larks.” Some folks also benefit from daily naps, further showing that sleeping at different hours can be normal.
An ideal time to wake up is during or shortly after sunrise. As explained, your sleep-wake cycle is partially regulated by sunlight. But there’s no exact hour at which you should wake for the following reasons:
Besides that, the healthiest time to wake up is after getting the recommended 7 to 9 hours of uninterrupted nightly sleep. If you’re a night owl, that could mean going to bed past midnight and waking up around 8 or 9 am. But extremes beyond that could mean you have a circadian rhythm disorder, especially if you also have excessive daytime sleepiness and problems functioning.
If your work requires early morning waking, then you could use these helpful tips to make you a morning person:
And if snoring or sleep apnea interferes with your sleep and ability to rise and shine, consider trying sleep apnea mouthpieces likeGood Morning Snore Solution tongue-stabilizing devices. Active measures to treat other sleep disorders can make a huge difference as well.
InformedHealth.org [Internet]. Cologne, Germany: Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG); 2006-. What is “normal” sleep? 2013 Sep 18 [Updated 2016 Dec 30]. Available from:https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279322/
Mantua J, Spencer RMC. Exploring the nap paradox: are mid-day sleep bouts a friend or foe?.Sleep Med. 2017;37:88-97.doi:10.1016/j.sleep.2017.01.019
February 20, 2024 3 min read
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