What time are the least people awake?

Determining when the least people are awake depends on several factors, including age demographics, cultural norms, and individual sleep schedules. However, some general trends emerge when examining human sleep patterns on a broad scale.

Young children tend to sleep early

Young children, especially preschoolers between ages 3-5, tend to have earlier bedtimes and wake up times. According to the National Sleep Foundation’s sleep time duration recommendations, preschoolers need between 10-13 hours of sleep per day, including naps. With this much required sleep, most young children are in bed by 8:00 or 9:00 pm and awake around 7:00-8:00 am.

So generally, the hours between 7:00 pm and midnight tend to be when young children are deeply asleep. By midnight, most children are in the middle of their major sleep period and are among the least likely demographic to be awake.

Teenagers tend to stay up late

Teenagers are infamous for staying up late and sleeping in. Puberty causes delayed sleep phase, meaning teens naturally want to go to bed later at night. Teens may also choose to stay up late to work, socialize, or use technology.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, teens need 8-10 hours of sleep per night. But the average teen sleeps less than 8 hours on school nights. Typically, teens go to bed around 11:00 pm or later and need to wake up early for school.

So while younger children are asleep by midnight, teens tend to stay awake much later. For teens, the hours between 2:00-5:00 am may be when the fewest members of this demographic are awake.

Adults tend to sleep in the early morning hours

Adult sleep patterns vary based on work and social commitments. But generally, adults tend to be asleep in the early morning hours.

According to a 2016 National Sleep Foundation poll, adults report going to bed around 11:00 pm on work nights. The recommended amount of sleep for adults is 7-9 hours. So most working adults need to wake around 6:00-7:00 am on workdays.

During the workweek, the hours between 2:00-5:00 am are when the fewest adults are awake. On weekends, when people can sleep later, the hours between 5:00-8:00 am may see the fewest adults awake.

Late night and early morning hours are peak sleep times

While sleep patterns vary between individuals, some general trends emerge:

  • Young children tend to go to bed early and wake early.
  • Teens prefer to stay up late and sleep in late.
  • Adults sleep during the late night and early morning hours.

Taking these general patterns into account, the hours between 2:00-5:00 am tend to be the time when the fewest people are awake. The majority of children and adults are in deep sleep cycles during this time. Only adults who work night shifts or teenagers who stay up extra late are likely to be awake.

Cultural norms impact sleep schedules

Cultural norms and work schedules impact when people sleep and the times the fewest people are awake.

Spanish siesta

In many Spanish-speaking cultures, it is traditional to take a siesta or nap during the afternoon, especially after the midday meal. People may sleep for 1-2 hours between 2:00-5:00 pm. So afternoon hours likely see fewer people awake in these cultures.

Post-lunch dip

Many cultures have a post-lunch dip around 2:00-3:00 pm when people experience fatigue and decreased productivity. In cultures where short naps are acceptable, people may nap during this time. So the early afternoon hours between 2:00-4:00 pm may see fewer awake.

Night shift workers

People who work overnight shifts make up about 15% of the workforce. These night owls are awake and working while most people sleep between midnight to early morning. So night shift workers buck the trend of fewer people awake in the early morning hours.

The least popular shift is the graveyard shift from 9:00 pm to 5:00 am. During these hours, only night workers are awake while the 9-5 working population sleeps.

Time zones

Time zones also impact when people are awake and asleep. People generally follow the typical sleep patterns for their time zone. So the fewest people awake would be during the early morning hours based on each location’s time zone.

For example, the east coast would see the fewest awake around 4:00-6:00 am Eastern Time. On the west coast, 1:00-3:00 am Pacific Time has the fewest awake. This demonstrates how optimal sleep times closely follow cultural time norms.

Factors that lead to being awake at night

While most people are asleep at night, there are factors that can lead to being awake during the typical sleep hours:


Insomnia and other sleep disorders make it difficult for people to fall or stay asleep at night. This results in people being awake when they desire sleep.

Shift work

Working night shifts requires being awake and working when most people sleep. Night shift workers make up about 15% of the global workforce.

New parents

New parents may be awake at night to care for infants and young children. Nighttime feedings and changings mean broken sleep for parents.


As discussed earlier, teens tend to prefer later bedtimes and struggle with morning wake-up times. Teen sleep cycles mean they are often awake later at night.

Technology use

Using screens before bed can make falling asleep difficult. Social media, TV, gaming, and browsing the internet can lead to less sleep and being awake later.

Health issues

Underlying health issues like chronic pain, gastroesophageal reflux disease, neurodegenerative diseases, and frequent urination can all impair sleep.

Stress and anxiety

High stress and anxiety levels commonly disrupt sleep by making it hard to fall and stay asleep. This results in unwanted awakenings at night.

Tips for better sleep

To optimize your sleep schedule:

  • Go to bed and wake up at consistent times to set your circadian rhythm
  • Make sure your bedroom is cool, dark, and quiet
  • Limit exposure to screens before bedtime
  • Reduce caffeine, alcohol, and large meals before bed
  • Try relaxation techniques like meditation to reduce stress
  • Get regular exercise but not right before bed
  • See a doctor if you regularly have trouble sleeping

Following healthy sleep habits can help you sleep soundly during the nighttime hours when most people are at rest.

The early morning hours between 2:00-5:00 am tend to have the fewest people awake globally

While individual habits vary, data indicates the early morning hours between 2:00-5:00 am are when the fewest people worldwide are awake:

  • Young children are typically in deep sleep by midnight
  • Most teens are asleep by 2:00 am
  • Working adults sleep between 11:00pm – 6:00 am
  • Cultural norms like siestas also lead to daytime napping

Barring insomnia, shift work, or crying infants, the majority of the population is asleep during the early morning hours. So if you’re going to be awake when others sleep, be mindful to keep quiet!


Based on sleep pattern data, the time when the least people are awake globally is during the early morning hours between 2:00-5:00 am. Young children, teens, and working adults all tend to sleep throughout the night and early morning. Cultural norms like siestas also lead to decreased awakeness during daylight hours. Individual habits and sleep disorders can make some people awake when most others sleep. But generally, the wee hours of the morning see the minimum number of people conscious worldwide.

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