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Best Time To Wake Up - A Guide

Morning Routine | By: Katie Lister

April 20, 2024

What’s the best time to wake up? How do I improve my sleeping and waking up time? If you have these and other related questions, this article is for you.

Hi, my name is Katie Lister. I am a practicing Registered Nurse and the founder of Growth Gals. I lead personal development groups and coach women to live their best lives authentically. Growth Gals provides a safe space for women to connect with like-minded individuals, learn, and offer support to one another.

At GG, we discuss various topics related to everyday issues that affect the lives of women, such as mental health, emotional intelligence, finding your life’s purpose, and personal development, including creating healthy everyday habits. In this article, I will tell you everything there is to know on the best time to wake up.

Table of Contents

Katie Lister

Katie Lister

Written by Katie Lister, RN, BScN. An experienced Registered Nurse, Group Facilitator, Life Coach, and Community Leader. Read Katie's Full Author Bio

Understanding The Stages of Sleep

Sleep is crucial for your physical and mental well-being. It’s not very clear how long one can survive without sleeping, but sleep deprivation interferes with cognitive thinking and decision-making. Your sleep schedule, which includes bedtime, wake-up, and naptime, makes up your sleep patterns.

The time and the duration of interruptions in your sleep also contribute to your sleep pattern. The sleep cycle is approximately ninety minutes long, and you need at least 4 to 6 sleep cycles every 24 hours to feel well rested.

Sleep is not just about the amount of sleep you get. Sleep quality is also essential and a smooth transition through the different stages is crucial for restful sleep. During sleep, the brain remains active, falling into predictable patterns, i.e., Rapid eye movement (REM) and Non-REM sleep. The stages of sleep include:

NREM stage 1

This light sleeping stage lasts between five to ten minutes. You start to doze off in this stage, and your brain and body activity slow down. If you wake up during this stage, you won’t feel like you were asleep. 

NREM stage 2

This is a light sleep stage where your body temperature drops, muscles start to relax, and breathing and heart rate slow down. Your brain waves slow down, all eye movement halts and you have occasional brain wave surges called sleep spindles.

Experts believe the sleep spindles help with memory storage and sensory shutdown to prevent sleep interruptions. This stage lasts about 25 minutes and prepares your body to enter into a deep sleep.

NREM stage 3

This is the deep sleep stage, where your muscles and eyes are entirely at rest. Your body repairs itself by bolstering your immune system, regrowing tissues, and building muscles and bones. At stage 3, it’s difficult for someone to wake you up, and if you do wake up, you may feel disoriented and experience brain fog. 

REM sleep

You dream in the rapid eye movement (rem) stage. When in this stage, your brain activity increases and even exceeds the regular brain activity when you are awake. Your muscles enter into a temporary paralysis, except your eyes, which move rapidly. You breathe faster, and your blood pressure and heart rate go up. The first REM period happens around the 90th minute into the sleep cycle, lasting approximately ten minutes.

-Best Time To Wake Up-

The Best Time to Wake Up in the Morning

The optimal wake-up time for a productive day varies based on individual preferences, circadian rhythm, and lifestyle. The circadian rhythm is your internal body clock regulating your sleep-wake cycle. Here are some guidelines to consider for the best wake-up time.

  • Early morning: Waking up early in alignment with the natural sunrise (6 and 7 am) promotes well-being.
  • Consistency: Try waking up at the same time daily, even on weekends. Consistency helps regulate your circadian rhythm, making it easy to fall asleep and wake up naturally.
  • Personal preference: You may be a natural night owl who stays up late and wakes up later. You could also be a morning person or an early bird and more productive early in the morning.
  • Sleep duration: Ensure you get the recommended hours of sleep per night, which ranges between 7 to 9 hours, depending on your sleep needs.
  • Routine: Consider your morning routine and responsibilities. Wake up early if you have a job that requires morning attention, but you don’t have to if you work at night.
  • Exposure to sunlight: Sunlight or natural light helps regulate your internal clock and improves your mood.

Sleeping Disorders and their Effects on Waking Up

Sleep disorders impact the quality, timing, or duration of sleep and can affect daily functioning. They may also indicate underlying medical or mental health problems. Here are some sleeping disorders and how they affect waking up.

Sleep apnea and snoring

Sleep apnea causes breathing interruptions during sleep that negatively impact sleep quality and oxygen levels. Causes include obesity, smoking, family history, or neck circumference. If untreated, it can cause heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke.

Circadian rhythm disorders

Circadian rhythm sleep-wake disorders result from a misalignment between your natural sleep-wake rhythm and the external light-darkness cycle. This causes sleep problems and daytime sleepiness, leading to distress and functional issues. The condition can be due to other factors like working the night shift or jet lag. 

Narcolepsy        

People with narcolepsy sleep disorder feel exhausted during the day, even after getting enough sleep. This leads to an irresistible urge to sleep, or sleep attacks that last for a few minutes. These sleep attacks are due to brain disruptions, making it unable to regulate the sleep-wake cycle.

Restless legs syndrome

When you have restless leg syndrome (RLS), you experience crawling or tingly sensations, which urge you to move your legs. This urge gets worse when lying down or sitting. Experts link RLS with Parkinson’s disease, pregnancy, iron deficiency, etc.

Parasomnias

Parasomnias are uncommon sleep behaviors that can occur while falling asleep, during sleep, or in the transition between sleep and wakefulness. These can affect both children and adults and include bedwetting, sleepwalking, exploding head syndrome, and night terrors.

Insomnia

Insomnia is a severe sleep disorder in which falling or staying asleep is difficult. Chronic insomnia occurs when these symptoms occur at least three times per week for at least three months, resulting in daytime sleepiness and impaired functioning. High amounts of the stress hormone cortisol also contribute to insomnia.

How to Improve Sleep and Wake-up Time 

If you have trouble going to bed, falling asleep, and even waking up on time to perform your morning ritual, here are some sleep hygiene tips to improve your sleep habits and wake-up time.

Stick to a consistent sleep schedule

Get 7-8 hours of sleep every night and be consistent even on weekends. If you can’t sleep within 20 minutes, leave bed and do something relaxing. Return and try again when tired, but always stick to your sleep schedule. Within no time, you will wake up naturally and you won’t need to hit the snooze button on the alarm clock because you will wake up rested.

Limit exposure to light at night

Stop scrolling your phone or social media pages for two hours before bed and limit your exposure to bright light. According to the Sleep Foundation, studies show a link between screen light before bed and difficulty falling asleep.

Watch what you eat

Avoid going to bed too full or hungry; don’t eat heavy meals before bedtime. Besides contributing to weight gain, heavy meals before bed make you uncomfortable, and can affect your body’s ability to relax while you sleep. It is advisable to eat your last meal 3 to 4 hours before bedtime. Be cautious with nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol, as they can interfere with your sleep.

Take a melatonin supplement

Melatonin helps to adjust your body clock and improve your sleep. Remember to consult your physician before taking any supplements.

Usually, people are started on a low dose of 1-3 milligrams about 1-1.5 hours before bed, and this is adjusted as one adjusts to a new sleep schedule. While safe to use, it is advisable to avoid using the supplement long term.

Ensure you talk to your healthcare provider before taking any supplements to avoid side effects or interactions with other medications.

Avoid or limit daytime naps

Long naps during the day interfere with your sleep times at night. Avoid or limit daytime naps to under one hour, and don’t nap late in the day.

Get light exposure

Exposing yourself to sunlight or bright light upon waking up helps regulate your body’s circadian rhythm for the day, making you feel sleepy at night. Natural daylight is best, but if it’s unavailable or you can’t go outside, you can use unique indoor lights to achieve the same effect.

Growth Gals Can Help You Improve Your Sleep Schedule

Our aim at Growth Gals is to inspire women to reach their full potential. We also strive to create positive change by giving women the resources to discover their true selves and expand their knowledge base on various issues, including regulating their sleep patterns.

Growth Gals helps women overcome obstacles and make informed decisions. We also help them connect with others with similar values and experiences. Subscribe to the Growth Gals newsletter to access helpful guides and resources for women. Learn more about how we can support you and help you learn more about the best time to wake up and adopting healthy morning routine ideas.

Best Time to Wake Up: Conclusion

Sleep is crucial for physical and mental well-being. Sleep patterns include bedtime, wake-up, and naptime, and interruptions affecting them. The best time to wake up depends on your preference and lifestyle, although experts say the best time is between 6 and 7 am when your energy levels are high.

It’s not about how much sleep you get; you need good quality sleep.  Sleeping disorders make it hard to sleep or wake up. Medical intervention from a sleep expert is essential to rule out underlying conditions and to check your overall health.  To improve sleep and wake-up time, try consistency, melatonin supplements, exposure to sunlight, and the numerous tips highlighted in this post.

-Best Time To Wake Up-gg
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