Eachnight may earn commissions for products you purchase through our links. Our articles and reviews include affiliate links and advertisements, including amerisleep advertising. Learn more Updated September 1, 2021More often than not, the question of, “when should I wake up?” is dictated by your responsibilities and obligations. If you work 9 to 5, you probably have your weekday alarms preset on your phone. However, if your schedule is constantly changing, this can be hard to determine night-to-night.When deciding what time to set your alarm, gauge how much rest your body needs. From there, you can determine the best bedtime to ensure you’re clocking all the hours you need before the alarm sounds.In this guide, we discuss how much sleep you need to function your best, as well as tips for squeezing the appropriate amount of shut-eye into your schedule.What to ConsiderAs we mentioned above, the crux of this question is really about how much sleep we need. To answer this, take a few things into consideration.Sleep Needs by AgeThe amount of sleep you need changes as you grow and develop. As an infant, you need to rest a lot more than you do as an adult. Below, we break down sleep recommendations by age:Newborns (0-3 months): 14-17 hours each dayInfants (4-11 months): 12-15 hoursToddlers (1-2 years): 11-14 hoursPreschoolers (3-5): 10-13 hoursSchool age children (6-13): 9-11 hoursTeenagers (14-17): 8-10 hoursAdults (18-64): 7-9 hoursOlder adults (65+): 7-8 hoursHow Much Sleep Do You Need?Some people may need more or less sleep than recommended. Let’s talk about some reasons why.Genetics and SleepWe all have those friends or family members who claim to thrive on 7 hours of sleep. Meanwhile, we feel like a zombie after getting a full 9 hours. Why the difference? The answer may be genetics. The 7-9 hour sleep range works for most people, but there are outliers who need more or less sleep each night.Lifestyle ConsiderationsLifestyle plays an important role in how much sleep you need each day. Do you wake up once or twice a night to feed a baby? You will need a little extra shut-eye because you’re losing out on valuable deep sleep time. Does your job require physical labor? You may need more sleep to help your body recover and rebuild overnight. Are you under a lot of stress? Stress can take a toll on both your physical and mental health, causing you to need more rest.Think about how much sleep you’re getting now and how you feel throughout the day. Ask yourself:Is it easy to wake up in the morning?Do you wake up feeling refreshed and like you got a good night’s sleep?Do you find yourself dozing off while working or driving?Is it difficult for you to concentrate during the day?If you answered “No” to most of these questions, we recommend going to bed earlier and taking efforts to get more deep sleep. Getting extra sleep on any level should leave you feeling well-rested. If it doesn’t, it may be time to visit your doctor to determine if there’s another reason for your exhaustion.What Does Your Morning Routine Look Like?Before making the decision as to when to wake up, consider your morning routine.To start, think about when you need to get to work or school. Next, allow yourself ample time to get where you need to be. Give yourself 5-10 minutes of leeway in case of traffic or other delays. Add a few minutes to get from your car to your desk, too. This is something a lot of people forget about, but it matters.Now, look at how long it takes you to get ready in the morning. If you’re not sure, time yourself for a few days and take the average. Allow more time if you have children to get ready for school or daycare.You may find you need to shave some time off of your morning routine to give yourself the amount of sleep you need. Here are some easy ways to do this:Make your lunch and choose your clothes the night before.Shower at night instead of in the morning.Meal prep your breakfasts on the weekends so they’re ready to go on weekday mornings.Save other chores for a different time of day. Paying bills, reading the news on your phone, or stopping at the grocery store can all be done later.How to Wake Up on TimeYou’ve weighed the factors above to determine when you should wake up. Now, you have to make sure you can actually wake up on time.Give yourself sufficient time to acclimate to your new sleep schedule. Adjust the time you go to sleep and the time you wake up by a few minutes each day until you’ve reached your goals. Transitioning slowly will make your switch to a new schedule seamless.Use an Alarm ClockIf you have places to be in the morning, odds are you use some kind of alarm to help you awaken on time — but we’re willing to bet you’re not using it correctly.A common mistake is setting the alarm earlier than necessary, then hitting snooze. You may feel like you’re getting extra sleep in the morning when you do this. Research shows it’s better to simply sleep until your final wake-up time, instead. You’ll feel more refreshed and well-rested.If you like hitting snooze, what you may really need is a gentle wake-up call rather than the jolt of a blaring alarm. Try using the gradual alarm setting on your phone or a sunrise alarm clock. These use soothing sounds or light to wake you up slowly.What About Your Phone?Most sleep experts agree it’s best to keep your phone out of the bedroom. If you can’t manage this, you’re not alone. Try to put your phone down an hour before you want to fall asleep. When you wake up, don’t check social media or email before getting out of bed.Even better, find a way to allow your phone to help your sleep rather than hinder it.There are settings built into your phone to help you get better sleep. Before bed, make sure notifications are off and use night mode to dim the light on your phone. If you use your phone’s alarm, choose a gentle sound rather than one that startles you awake.Even better? Use an app to help you wake up easier. There are many apps out there to help you relax, fall asleep faster, and analyze your sleep patterns. These are useful, but when it comes to waking up, find a sleep cycle alarm clock to track your stages of sleep.Sleep cycle alarms are designed to gently rouse you awake when you’re in non-REM light sleep. If you often wake up in the middle of dreams or don’t feel refreshed, it may be because you’re awakened during deep rapid eye movement, otherwise known as, REM sleep. A sleep cycle alarm can help. Many also have sleep calculators to help you figure out your optimal bedtime and wake-up time.How to Know You’re Getting Enough SleepYou’ve settled on a time to wake up. You’ve implemented your new routine. But how do you know you’re getting enough sleep each night?The biggest indicator when it comes to knowing if you’ve gotten enough shut-eye is how you feel. Think about your energy level, your mood, and how easy (or difficult) it is to wake up in the morning. Do you feel like you need more sleep? Are you tempted to hit snooze on your alarm?More serious signs of chronic sleep deprivation include:Difficulty concentratingA feeling of “brain fog” and forgetfulnessExhaustionPoor work performanceDepression or other mental health issuesIf you’re suffering from any of these symptoms, it could be a sign you need to make some more changes. Try going to bed earlier and finding ways to make your morning routine more efficient. You may also decide you need to wake up at a different time. If none of these changes work, it may be time to consult your doctor.Tips and Tricks for Better SleepPracticing good sleep hygiene habits will help you sleep better and feel more well-rested in the morning. Some tips include:Turn off blue-light-emitting devices before bedtime. These can disrupt your sleep patterns.Be consistent with bedtimes. Try not to go to bed later or sleep in on the weekends.Limit caffeine, especially if you’re sensitive to it. To prevent caffeine from messing with your sleep, cut out caffeine around noon. However, some people may need to avoid caffeine entirely.Get exercise during the day. Incorporating movement into your daily routine will help you sleep more soundly.Avoid large, greasy meals before bedtime.Make sure your bedroom is dark. Even nightlights or streetlights streaming in through your blinds can disrupt your sleep.Frequently Asked QuestionsWhat are the best hours to wake up?There are no universal “best times” to wake. It depends on your sleep needs and your circadian rhythm.Is it healthy to wake up at 4am?Those who wake up earlier are often more productive, but how early is too early? Waking up before the sun rises can be difficult because your circadian rhythms are synced up with how the sun rises and sets. However, some people naturally wake very early and are more productive in the morning.What are the best hours to sleep?According to Dr. Alicia Roth, a behavioral sleep specialist, “For most people, they are most likely able to fall asleep several hours after sunset and sunrise is the cue for waking. Of course this depends on your unique circadian rhythm.” As long as you’re getting 7-9 hours of sleep within that window, you should be getting good sleep.Why do I get sleepy at night?When it gets dark, your brain begins to send signals to your body that it’s time to sleep. Certain hormones are released that kickstart sleep, and then when it gets light outside, your brain tells your body to wake up. This cycle is called the circadian rhythm.Wake Up Feeling RefreshedOnce you determine how much sleep you need each night, you can figure out the best time to wake up. While you make this decision, think about how many hours of sleep leave you feeling well-rested and account for any lifestyle considerations, like a physical job or mental stress. Lastly, reflect upon your morning routine and how much time you spend getting ready for the day.Apps on your phone or a gentle wake alarm clock are effective ways to help you wake up on time. With gradual adjustments and consistency, you can change your wake-up time and still feel well-rested in the morning.About the author Andrea Strand CERTIFIED SLEEP COACH Andrea Strand is a Certified Sleep Science Coach. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Brigham Young University-Idaho where she studied English with an emphasis in Technical Writing. Since 2019, Andrea has written over 90 blog posts and guides on sleep health, sleep hygiene, and product reviews. Find more articles by Andrea Comments Cancel replyLeave a CommentYour email address will not be published. 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