If it were an ideal world, we would all go to bed early and wake up in the early morning hours after satisfying our sleep requirements for the day. However, that seldom happens in today's consumerist world, marked by everyday responsibilities and commitments that make following an "early to bed, early to rise" philosophy quite impractical. So, when should you go to sleep and wake up in today's digitalized world, where philosophical values seldom apply? This article delves into exactly that.
The consistency in time and the amount of sleep you get are the two most crucial factors when it comes to calculating your sleep needs. Going to bed when it's dark can ease the process of falling asleep and ensure that you are well-rested for the day ahead. It is pivotal to get adequate amounts of sleep every night to prevent getting strained by the symptoms of sleep deprivation.
How Much Sleep Do You Need in a Day?
Although the best time to sleep and wake up may differ between individuals, it is advisable to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night. A number of factors can play a role in determining an individual's ideal sleep duration, including their age, sleep patterns, and work schedule. No matter your routine, it is best to attain consistency in your sleep by going to bed and waking up at fixed hours every day, as this may help regulate your sleep cycle.
Ideally, the best sleeping hours are going to bed early at night and waking up early in the morning, as this pattern matches our innate biological tendencies that adapt sleep patterns to the cycles of the Sun. Because of this, humans are naturally sleepy after sunset.
The exact time that you should go to sleep at night depends upon when you generally wake up in the morning or the amount of sleep you require every night.
The Connection Between Human Circadian Rhythm and Sleep Cycle
Circadian rhythm is like our body's internal clock and describes the brain's natural sleep-wake cycle. Because of this cycle, humans are highly likely to experience naturally elevated cycles of wakefulness and dips in their alertness during particular times during the day. People are most likely to be sleepiest during the following two points in the day: between 2 am and 4 am and between 1 pm and 3 pm. However, well-rested people who get good quality sleep during the night are least likely to experience daytime drowsiness.
The circadian rhythm also determines the body's natural wake-up and sleep schedules. The brain naturally adapts to your sleep routine when you get used to sleeping and waking up simultaneously every day. In such cases, most individuals may find going to bed relatively easy at night and waking up before their alarm even rings. However, your circadian rhythm may go off balance if you go to bed at different times or work irregular shifts throughout the week, resulting in elongated periods of daytime drowsiness.
The Human Sleep Cycle
The sleep cycle is our natural internal system consisting of a number of external conditions, including lifestyle choices, light, and personal behaviors, and certain internal conditions, including genetics and brain wave patterns. Normal sleep cycles typically occur in two distinct states, known as rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep. It is common for the body to alternate between these two states a few times during the night, roughly every 90 minutes. As the cycles continue, the NREM stages get lighter, with the REM sleep stages getting longer.
In ideal conditions, the body passes through four to five cycles every night. An individual can feel well rested and ready for the day if they wake up during the end of the sleep cycle when sleep is the lightest. Since these stages vary from person to person, one particular sleep time is not right for everyone. However, one can identify their sleep cycle by paying attention to how they are feeling in the morning and calculating their sleep hours to determine their ideal sleep duration.
How Much Sleep Do You Need Based on Your Age?
The amount of sleep you need depends on your age. The following statistics by the American Sleep Foundation can help you determine your ideal sleep duration based on your age.
Recommended Amount of Sleep
14-17 hours a day
12-16 hours a day
11-14 hours a day
10-13 hours a day
9-12 hours a day
8-10 hours a day
At Least 7 hours a day
7-9 hours a day
65 years and older
7-8 hours a day
What are the Side Effects of Not Getting Enough Sleep?
Experiencing daytime sleepiness is one of the biggest signs of sleep deprivation and may lead to irritability, accidents, and forgetfulness. Long-term sleep deprivation can result in serious health consequences, such as the following:
High blood pressure (hypertension)
What is the Ideal Time to Sleep and to Wake Up?
The best time to sleep and to wake up varies from one individual to the other, depending upon their age group. The most effective way to calculate the best time to go to bed is first to calculate the time you need to get up and then count backward by 7 hours. For instance, if you want to wake up at 8 in the morning, you should go to bed between 12:30 to 1 am. This method does not work on sleep calculation for children, as they require more sleep than adults.
Besides scheduling your sleep duration, it is also important to follow it religiously, even on weekends, lest you struggle to wake up on Mondays.
What is the Ideal Time to Wake Up?
The best time to wake up depends upon your schedule. However, it is generally agreed upon that waking up between 6:30 am to 7 am is considered the healthiest morning habit that can help you shape the rest of your day.
American-board certified and fellowship-trained professionals at SleepRx offer specialized healthcare facilities to suit your sleep needs. You can consult a sleep apnea specialist and book a sleep study, sleep apnea test, or polysomnography. You can also sit for an online sleep apnea test or an at-home sleep study to get tested from the comfort of your home!