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Which Is The Best Time To Sleep And Wakeup?

World Sleep Day is observed every year on 13 March. Organised by the World Sleep Day Committee of the World Sleep Society, formerly the World Association of Sleep Medicine, World Sleep Day was first observed in the year 2008.

The day is observed with the aim to celebrate the benefits of good and healthy sleep and also to raise awareness on the burden of sleep problems and the associated medical, educational and social aspects. In addition, World Sleep Day also focuses on promoting the prevention and management of sleep disorders [1][2].

Sleeping for a few hours seem to be the ultimate answer to most of your problems - be it physical or mental. However, there is a fine line between sleeping for the right amount of time to oversleeping and undersleeping (sleep deprivation).

This article focuses on exploring the best time to sleep and wakeup, and for different age groups.


How Many Hours Of Sleep Do You Need?

The quality of your sleep directly affects your mental and physical health and the quality of your waking life, including your productivity, emotional balance, heart health, weight and many more. According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), the appropriate sleep duration for specific age groups are as follows [3]:

  • Newborns (0 to 3 months): 14 to 17 hours each day
  • Infants (4 to 11 months): 12 to 15 hours
  • Toddlers (1 to 2 years): 11 to 14 hours
  • Preschoolers (3 to 5 years): 10 to 13 hours
  • School-age children (6 to 13 years): 9 to 11 hours
  • Teenagers (14 to 17 years): 8 to 10 hours
  • Young Adults (18 to 25 years): 7 to 9 hours
  • Adults (26 to 64 years): 7 to 9 hours
  • Older adults (over 65 years): 7 to 8 hours

As studies point out, your body is naturally synced to the time of day and night, that is, your circadian rhythm aligns with the presence and absence of sunlight. So, in the morning, when your body is exposed to the light, the brain wakes up the rest of the body and causes a rise in temperature along with stimulating the metabolism [4].

In the same light, when the lights go down, the melatonin level rises and stays high throughout the night promoting and supporting sleep [5].


When Is The Best Time To Sleep?

While the sleep requirement of one individual differs from the other, health experts and studies point out that it is critical for an adult to get 6 to 9 hours of sleep every night, to avoid the onset of various health problems [6].

According to the National Sleep Foundation, the best time to fall asleep is between 8 p.m. and midnight. There is no exact or a universal time applicable for everyone, or for people of different age groups [7].

Also, the exact and best time to sleep depends on the time you tend to wake up in the morning and also the amount of sleep one requires every night [8], as directed by the National Sleep Foundation.

In addition, the strongest sleep drive is between 2 am to 4 am, so make sure you are asleep at this time. And if not asleep during this time, you may have the urge to sleep between 1 pm to 3 pm in the afternoon [9].


When Is The Best Time To Wake Up?

There is NO specific time to wake up as it depends on each individual and habits that are specific to them. However, your wake up time is dependent on the time you go to sleep [10]. Whatever the time you go to sleep, it is important that you get the recommended sleeping hours to avoid waking up tired and feeling groggy.

For example, if you need to get up at 6 am, go to bed at 8.46 pm, at 10.16 pm or even 11.46 pm.

If you need to get up at 7 am, go to bed at either 9.46 pm or 11.16 pm. Although not desired by doctors, you can also sleep at 12.46 am and 2.16 am.

If you need to get up at 8 am, go to bed at 10.46 pm, 12.16 am or 1.46 am.

You can also consider the following steps to develop a healthy waking up the habit.

  • Sleep at a time that will let you rest.
  • Choose according to your lifestyle and morning routines.
  • Make sure you sleep during a time that will provide peace.

Tips For A Good Sleep

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an individual can consider the following tips to get some good sleep [11].

  • Get enough natural light, especially earlier in the day.
  • Avoid exposure to artificial light, especially close to your bedtime.
  • Go to bed and rise at the same time every day, even at the weekend.
  • Get enough daily exercise and avoid exercising near bedtime.
  • Avoid eating and drinking, especially alcohol and high fat and sugar-rich foods in the hours before bedtime.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Is it good to wake up at 5 am?

A. When you wake up at 5 am, you give yourself some space to actually improve and make progress as a person. However, not everyone has to wake up as early as 5 as it all depends on the work schedule and lifestyle.

Q. Is waking up early healthy?

A. Yes.

Q. Is 5 hours of sleep enough?

A. No. Five hours of sleep out of a 24-hour day isn't enough, especially in the long term.

Q. Is sleep better before midnight?

A. Yes. Hours of sleep before midnight are more valuable to the body than those acquired between midnight and rising.

Q. Does time of sleep matter?

A. Yes.

Story first published: Friday, March 13, 2020, 18:30 [IST]