The best time to wake up is based on both the length of sleep achieved AND waking up early, not simply the time you get out of bed in isolation. The ideal time to wake up will also vary for each individual based on age, goals, and lifestyle. The primary benefits of waking up early are reduced stress levels, increased energy, increased concentration, and better overall health. You will experience more daylight, which leads to better mood and increased vitality. By getting up early you are able to start your day earlier, enabling you to pace yourself throughout tasks and are likely to experience further productivity due to increased focus and less distraction.
Watching Netflix late one night, I started to think… maybe I have too many late nights, I don’t wake up early and I also have no idea how long I actually sleep. I’m always so wired when going to bed, struggle to fall asleep, then feel lethargic the next morning. I considered the possibility of waking up very early every day, when the thought crossed my mind – are there actually benefits of getting up early? If so, what time should I wake up? And so began the journey that is this three-part series on sleep;
- Best Time To Wake Up – 13 Benefits Of Waking Up Early
- How To Go To Bed Early & How To Fall Asleep Fast
- How To Wake Up Early – The First Thing You Do In The Morning
If you want to learn more about how to go to bed early and how to fall asleep fast, use this link. If you want to understand the best practices for waking up and developing a healthy morning routine, visit this link.
Best Time To Wake Up
The best time to wake boils down to both sleep length and waking up early, rather than the time you get out of bed in isolation. For example, waking up at 3 am while having slept for 7 hours will be easier on your body than waking up at 5 am and having only slept for 4 hours (although you would probably need a good reason to be waking up at 3 am). The main points in question are how do you extract the benefits of waking up early without sleep deprivation and how do you maintain a healthy morning routine?
How Many Hours Of Sleep Do I Need?
Gaining a clearer understanding of how many hours of sleep you need is the first step to finding the best time to wake up. A paper published in the Sleep Health Journal outlined the recommended duration of sleep appropriate for health and wellbeing. The report was broken into age brackets and included three categories; recommended, may be appropriate and not recommended.
|Age||Recomended Hours||Might Be Appropriate|
Teens (14 - 17)
8 - 10 Hours
7 - 11 Hours
Young Adults (18-25)
Older Adults (65 +)
In order to determine how much sleep you need, your age and individual requirements need to be considered. The report found that there is an element of uncertainty on the edges of the recommended sleep duration that may be perfectly healthy for some, however, deviating far from the normal range is rare.
Finding The Best Time To Wake Up
Generally speaking, the goal of waking up early revolves around two desired outcomes; becoming healthier and being more productive. Now that we have addressed the question of “how many hours of sleep do I need?” it is time to use this information to find the optimal time to wake up. Since calculating the best time to wake up is so specific to each individual, it is best to start with three basic questions:
What is your morning goal?
Are you aiming to wake up early to fit in extra exercise, or are you catching up on work? It is important to know why you’re waking up early so you can allocate an appropriate amount of time to achieving this outcome. Your morning goal could be a 45-minute workout or 2 hours of work.
What time do your commitments start?
What time do you leave for work? Are you giving yourself enough time in the morning to do what you had planned, without feeling rushed or stressed? If you intend on becoming an early riser, you should give yourself enough time to complete the goal you have chosen. If you wake up for work at 6:45 am and are looking to get a 45-minute workout in, 5:45 am would likely be the best time to wake up.
What time do your commitments end?
What time is your latest commitment in any given week? If you want the benefits of waking up early, it is important to ask what time should I go to bed? Following the example above (and assuming you are in the 26-64 age bracket), if you wish to wake at 5:45 am, you would need to be asleep between 8:45 pm and 10:45 pm. If the earliest you can go to sleep on a given night is 11 pm, it may not be sustainable for you to wake up earlier.
What Are The Health Benefits of Waking Up Early?
Becoming an early riser has direct benefits to your mental and physical health, including what you can achieve during your day. Waking up early will not magically give you more hours, however, it will certainly feel like you have additional time as a result of your increased productivity and ability to get so much more done.
Physical Benefits of Early Rising
1. More Energy
Since your energy is higher first thing in the morning, it is easier to focus on your goals, instead of this peak being wasted, most likely on the morning commute. Waking up early means having more energy to do the things you love or prioritizing urgent tasks at the start of the day.
2. Adapt To Routine
Waking early requires you to get to sleep earlier, which involves your body becoming accustomed to your night and morning routines. Once your body adapts to your new routine, you will feel more energized and eventually be able to read the signals your body gives you. You will no longer question whether you are tired from lack of sleep or from waking too early, as you will be able to decipher the telltale signs specific to your body and react accordingly.
3. Healthier Diet
A potential benefit of a healthy morning routine is its association with maintaining a healthy diet. Research has indicated that morning light triggers genes linked to your circadian rhythm (internal body clock) which boosts metabolism. Once your body adapts to this new routine, you will find yourself naturally seeking high-energy, healthy foods throughout the day and be less likely to snack on junk food late at night.
4. Gut & Microbiome Health
Research has shown that our circadian rhythms and sleep can impact the beneficial bacteria present in our gut. A recent study found that after only 2 nights of partial sleep deprivation, beneficial bacteria had significantly decreased. It was found that there are strong connections between higher sleep quality, better cognitive flexibility and higher levels of beneficial gut microbes, providing further encouragement to adopt a healthy sleep-wake routine.
Mental & Psychological Benefits Of Waking Up Early
5. Improved Concentration
One of the benefits of waking up early after a good night’s sleep is feeling fully charged and better prepared to tackle your morning tasks. Since you feel refreshed and your energy levels are high, so is your concentration, which improves your alertness and attention to detail. This improved level of concentration will increase your efficiency and productivity.
Not only when you wake up early does it improve concentration, but it also leverages your early morning willpower. Finding your best time to wake up provides clarity of mind, enabling you to easily focus on priority tasks at hand.Willpower has been thought to decrease during the day as further distractions compete for your attention.
7. Make Better Decisions
One of the benefits of greater concentration is that it is linked to improved decision-making skills. Waking up early from refreshed sleep has a positive impact on attention, memory and working memory, with many studies proving this to be the case. With sleep deprivation and fatigue directly linked to cognitive performance, a healthy morning routine can help your decision-making.
Emotional Benefits Of Waking Up Early
One of the emotional benefits of waking up early is that you will naturally feel better. You will experience happiness because you are refreshed and energized, whilst also being able to maintain an exercise routine, eat a healthy diet or complete work first thing in the morning, leaving you feeling accomplished and satisfied. You will know that you’ve found your best time to wake up when your sleep schedule and overall mood align.
9. Increased Trust In Yourself
Your improved decision-making skills and increased productivity will promote the trust you have in your ability to get things done. The discipline you develop from your sleep-wake cycle will cement the trust you have in your ability to stick to what works and what is best for you in the long term.
10. Reduced Fear & Anxiety
Over time, following a healthy sleep routine will help you to relax and achieve a sense of calm. There is a sense of predictability and confidence that comes with waking up early, trusting you can complete the tasks ahead. You will worry far less, with the knowledge your increased efficiency and productivity will help you achieve your goals.
Functional Benefits Of Waking Up Early
11. Increased Productivity
Waking up early provides time to focus on important tasks without interruptions. While others are still sleeping, you are in complete control of your attention and less likely to procrastinate. Also, with fewer interruptions, distractions such as extra work will not be piled on you.
12. Maximize Your Time
One of the key benefits of waking up early is being able to maximize your time. On the surface it may seem you have simply shifted your waking hours, however by doing so you have actually helped ‘’create’’ more time with your increased concentration and greater productivity!
13. Increased Motivation
Over time, becoming an early riser will eventually become second nature to you. As your body adapts to your new schedule, you will continue to build momentum once you bear witness to the benefits of waking early. The positivity experienced from achieving your goals will increase your motivation and determination to see things through!
Potential Obstacles To Becoming An Early Riser
1. Waking Up Too Early
What time should I wake up? Waking up at 3 am is not the best time to wake up, unless it’s necessary. The same applies to waking up at 4 am. Waking up at 5 am, 6 am or 7 am are the times you will likely see the most benefits from waking up early, while still maintaining a healthy sleep schedule. The main reason why waking up at 3 am or waking up at 4 am are not preferable is, assuming you aim for 8 hours of sleep, you would need to be asleep between 7 pm and 8 pm. To understand if you’re waking up too early requires you to review your night routine – do you sometimes watch sports at night? Do you enjoy going out late on weekends? The reason these questions matter is that it will be much easier to maintain a 9 pm to 10 pm bedtime, waking up at 5 am, than it is 7 pm to 8 pm if you stay up until 11 pm. It will require far less disciple, far less willpower and take far less toll on you to maintain your desired sleep schedule.
While there are plenty of benefits of waking up early, one of the hurdles you may need to first overcome is the possibility of oversleeping. At first, while your body is adjusting to your new sleep cycle, you could find yourself feeling exhausted and going to bed far too early or taking extensive naps during the afternoon. Rest assured, this will pass once you fall into a rhythm and your body clock adjusts.
3. Not Going To Bed Early Enough
Because the best time to wake up is dependant on sleep length, you will not witness the benefits of waking up early if you continue to sleep outside your optimal window.Maintaining a healthy sleep-wake cycle requires determination and perseverance to stick to a routine and sleep within your ideal time frames.
4. Waking Up In The Middle Of The Night
How do you stay asleep? Waking up in the middle of the night can be a genuine obstacle to getting up early, especially if you struggle to fall asleep again. A variety of factors could contribute to this problem, such as stress, a poor diet or not allowing yourself enough wind-down time before entering your bedroom. Once you begin to make lifestyle changes to help your sleep schedule, your body clock should adjust accordingly, allowing you a solid night’s sleep.
5. Unable to Fall Asleep
Learning how to sleep early is the most important factor in becoming an early riser, however, it will not make a difference what time you go to bed if you cannot actually fall asleep. Creating a good nighttime routine and conditions conducive to sleep are vital, which can be found in this post on going to bed early and falling asleep fast.
6. Unable To Get Out Of Bed
Maybe you have gone to bed on time, slept through the night, but are still struggling to get yourself out of bed? If you now know how to wake up early and the benefits of waking up early, but are struggling with motivation, check out the article on how to wake up get out of bed and create a healthy morning routine for inspiration.
The advantages of waking up early discusses the physical, mental, psychological, emotional and also functional benefits gained from choosing to become an early riser. The age-old question of what is the best time to wake up covers questions specific to each individual based on your goals and commitments to help decide what works best for your circumstances. This article will hopefully encourage you to start a healthy sleep routine that you will continue to see the positive results of in years to come!