Is waking up at the same time every day the key to a good sleep?

Everyone is time poor these days – and one of the casualties of this epidemic is a healthy night’s sleep. It’s well known that sleep deprivation has some serious consequences for your health and work-life balance. Illness, poor work performance, burnout, and strained personal relationships are just a handful of the risks.  

So how do you fix it? You might not be able to squeeze in going to bed earlier every night, but new research suggests the real benefits will come from waking up at a consistent time every day. In this issue of The Pulse, we take a look. 

Why is it important to wake up at the same time every morning? 

Waking up at the same time every morning is critical in setting your body’s circadian rhythms and resulting in a better night’s sleep overall. Consistent wake up times program your body to know when it should be awake, allowing it to shut down better and make the most of the time you are sleeping. In fact, over time, this will train your body to automatically know when to release melatonin, the hormone in charge of inducing sleepiness at night and when to stop producing it in the morning. Meaning, it will eventually become easier to fall asleep and wake up. 

In contrast, when you sleep at erratic times, your body doesn’t know when to release melatonin, and therefore can produce – or fail to produce – it at inopportune times throughout your day. 

When your body operates on a consistent rhythm, it operates better across the board, improving such important things as: 

  • Digestion and metabolism. 
  • Heart function. 
  • Hormone regulation. 
  • Body temperature. 
  • Mood and mental health. 
  • Immune system. 

All of these things contribute to a more restful sleep and a happier, healthier you in all aspects of life.  

Train your brain and make better habits.  

Part of fixing your circadian rhythm, and waking up at a consistent time every day, is forming strong habits and holding yourself accountable.  

Some tips include: 

  • Pick a wake-up time that makes the most sense to your lifestyle – it doesn’t have to be heroically early to work. 
  • Set multiple, effective alarms, and avoid hitting snooze.  
  • Place the source of the alarm somewhere you can’t reach from bed, making you get up.  
  • Avoid laying in bed, under the covers for long when you wake.  
  • Keep midday naps to around twenty to thirty minutes, and not napping for more than a few hours to when you’d like to fall asleep for the night.  
  • Motivate yourself to get out of bed by immediately doing something rewarding, such as drinking your favorite type of coffee.  
  • Expose yourself to sunlight as quickly as possible – your body will take cues from the environment.  

The good news, following these tips and sticking to a consistent wake up schedule should have noticeable results within a week to ten days.  

In conclusion… 

Sleep is important in all aspects of your life; your mental and physical well-being, as well as your work and personal life. If waking up at the same time every day is the key to making each night’s sleep extra effective, then implementing the habits to make that happen is a fantastic gift to give yourself.