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What is the Ideal Time to Wake Up?

by BetterSleep
Apr 14 • 4 min read

Opinions vary on the answer to this question, and for good reason. The best time to wake up is different for everyone. Some people are night owls, while others prefer to wake up early. There isn’t a right or wrong answer, only each person’s unique chronotype.

Is There an Ideal Time to Wake Up?

Every human has a circadian rhythm in common. We all evolved on a 24-hour day-night cycle and are diurnal. This means we generally sleep at night,in the dark and wake or are active during the day when the sun is up.

There is a lot of variation within this normal cycle. Not everyone is ready to spring out of bed with the sun. Some people don’t get sleepy until late and remain productive well into the night. Everyone has their own chronotype, a natural preference for when to sleep and wake.

This means there is a right time to wake up in the morning, but it varies by individual. The scientifically best time to wake up is the time that works for you.

Chronotype, Sleep, and Health

Chronotype is an individual and personal inclination to sleep and wake at certain times of the day. It shifts throughout the lifespan, from waking earlier in the morning and going to bed early in childhood. For many, this shifts later in the day as they age, especially in teenagers.

Another important factor in determining chronotype is genetics. Research shows that specific genes impact when you tend to wake and sleep. There might be other factors as well, but age and genetics are likely the most important.

How Do I Find My Chronotype?

There are several questionnaires created by sleep experts that you can take to determine chronotype. Try the chronotype test on the BetterSleep app. Answer a series of questions about your sleep and wake preferences, when you perform best, how easy it is to wake up, when you get sleepy, and more.

The quiz will sort you into one of five types: chickadee, rabbit, chipmunk, fox, and owl. Different quizzes present different names and numbers of chronotypes, but they all align with the important factors of when you tend to fall asleep, wake up, and complete tasks.

Sleep and Wake Based on Your Chronotype

Knowing your chronotype is useful because it can help you choose the best time to sleep and wake up. Society tends to value early risers and associate them with productivity. Late sleepers often get unfairly labeled as lazy. The truth is that the healthiest time to wake up is different for everyone.

If you have an evening chronotype, you do your best work later in the day and don’t get sleepy until late evening or even after midnight. Getting up early is a challenge for you, and you struggle to be productive in the morning. It doesn’t make sense to fight your chronotype. You can sleep better, feel more rested, and get more done if you sync with your natural chronotype.

Of course, many people are forced by work and family obligations into a chronotype that doesn’t suit them. If you have to go to sleep earlier than you like, create a healthy bedtime routine to make it easier. And use the sounds, mixes, and meditations on BetterSleep to fall asleep faster and more soundly each night.

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