Is There an Ideal Bedtime?

Last updated: September 2022

Is there such a thing as an ideal bedtime? Or is there an optimal quantity and quality of sleep that each person needs each night? There is no single answer to these questions, but experts agree that good quality sleep for a sufficient period of time is important to daily functioning.1-3

The right bedtime is different for every person. Most people sleep when it is convenient for their personal lives. It could depend on their job, family needs, and social activities. It is common to go to sleep at a time that is based on a necessary wake-up time, depending on responsibilities like going to work or school, walking the dog, or taking care of family members.1,3


Some people have trouble falling or staying asleep. This is known as insomnia. It can last for a few days, weeks, months, or longer. Difficulty sleeping can be caused by many things, including stress, pain, or worry. Insomnia can interfere with getting the right amount of good quality sleep.2

Other effects of insomnia can include:2

  • Lack of energy
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Mood changes

The right amount of sleep

Some people go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. Others have no particular sleep schedule. But experts agree that adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. Teens and children need 9 to 10 hours.2,3

There are 4 stages of sleep, divided into 2 types: rapid eye movement (REM) and non-REM. Each night you cycle through all of these stages. If you get too few hours of sleep, you may not get enough non-REM sleep. This kind of sleep is responsible for restfulness and helps you feel refreshed. It is when your body relaxes and your heart rate and breathing slow down.4

What is a sleep calculator?

A sleep calculator helps you determine how much sleep you need. It estimates when you should go to sleep based on what time you need to wake up. A sleep calculator helps people to target their ideal bedtime.3

Getting the right amount of quality sleep can help you to wake up naturally, without an alarm. To calculate an optimal adult bedtime, subtract 8 hours from the time you need to wake up. For example, if you need to be up at 7 AM, try going to bed at 11 PM. 3

Good sleep habits

Do you wake up on your own feeling well-rested and ready for each new day? If not, consistent sleep habits may improve your sleep quality. A nightly sleep routine can improve the quality of your rest. It might include:1,4,5

  • Getting regular exercise
  • Going to bed at the same time each day
  • Doing relaxing exercises before bedtime
  • Limiting screen time, and turning off all electronics and screens before bedtime
  • Not consuming large meals, caffeine, or alcohol before bedtime
  • Reducing noise and light in the bedroom
  • Using the bed only for sleep and intimacy

Studies report that people who go to bed between 8 PM and midnight generally have fewer problems sleeping and better daytime functioning. This time period is often called a sleep window. Most adults fall asleep between 10 PM and midnight. Roughly one-third of adults don’t go to bed until after midnight.1,3

Each person has an internal clock. Called a circadian rhythm, it regulates the body’s sleep-wake cycle and other biological processes. If you have trouble sleeping, you may need to adjust your internal clock by slowly changing your bedtime window. This should be planned with your needed wake-up time. You can experiment by varying your bedtime depending on whether you lie in bed awake unable to fall asleep or whether you wake up too early.3,4

Keeping sleep times consistent

It is important to keep your internal clock on schedule. This means going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, whether it is a workday or a day off. This consistency can help improve overall sleep and health. It can make it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep.1,5

Keeping to a consistent schedule is hard for many people to do because they may want to sleep in on days off or during vacation time. However, quality sleep plays an important role in physical and mental health. Your well-being when you are awake depends in part on your sleep.1,2,5

Thyroid eye disease and sleep

Have you found that your sleep habits or patterns impact your thyroid eye disease (TED) symptoms, or that your symptoms impact your sleep? We would love to hear more about your experience with the connection between the two. Click the button below, and share your story about sleep and TED.

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