Why do I keep waking up early?


Why do I keep waking up too early? I go to bed around 9 pm and then I wake up around 4-5 am and I want to wake up at 7 am. I’m currently 12 years old and I am currently experiencing a growth spurt. Is 7-8 hours of sleep enough for a 12-year-old because it says that at my age I need between 9-11 hours of sleep and I get 7-8. I am energetic during the day and I am not tired will this stunt my growth?


While the average teenager needs about 9 hours of sleep during his growth spurt, you have to keep in mind that it is an average. Some people naturally sleep less than other people. The CDC says that children in the age range of 6 to 12 need about 9 to 12 hours of sleep each day, but adolescents in the age range of 13 to 18 need about 8 to 10 hours of sleep each day. Notice that there is actually a drop in the number of hours needed when adolescence is reached.

The reason there is a concern is that during your adolescent years, there is a natural shift in your sleep cycle. There are two things that trigger your need to sleep. First is how long it has been since you last slept. The longer you are awake, the more you feel the need to sleep. Second is the time of day. If you are in the habit of going to bed at 9 pm, then when 9 pm rolls around you feel tired. This is called your circadian rhythm. Many teenagers experience a shift in their circadian rhythm. Suddenly 9 pm rolls around and you’re not tired. If you try to go to sleep, you just lie there awake for an hour or two. The problem then arises on the other end. You still have to get up at the same time. The result is many teenagers are trying to function with too little sleep.

This is not the problem you are experiencing. I suspect that as a child you were naturally sleeping 8 to 9 hours each night. (As a side note, boys who are considered hyperactive tend to sleep less.) Now that you are in adolescence, your need for sleep has dropped, but you haven’t experienced a shift in your circadian rhythm (or if you did, you have already retrained yourself back to your normal rhythm). If you wake up before your alarm in the morning, you feel refreshed, and you function well during the day, then there is no problem. Use those quiet early morning hours to do something productive.

However, if you get to the point that you don’t wake up until your alarm goes off and you struggle to get out of bed because you are still tired, then you are not getting enough sleep. That is the time to start training yourself to go to bed earlier, and at first, it will be difficult to do.