Are you sick of waking up feeling groggy every morning or are you running a marathon tomorrow? If you want to wake up rested, it actually does matter at what time you go to bed. You may assume that the longer you sleep the more alert you will be. But researchers have found the answer to when you should go to bed to optimize your sleep!
Many of us are having difficulty to turn off our mobile devices in time. It may be tempting to see a Netflix movie late in the evening or check the latest updates on social media. But if you want to wake up refreshed, then you should skip those habits.
According to research, there is a specific point in time when you should put away everything else and go to bed. The time depends on when you will get up the next morning – and it definitely does not mean that it’s just to add 8 hours of sleep.
Do you get enough sleep?
First of all, do you get enough sleep? Are you tired every morning and do you lack the energy to be able to work out effectively? You can check below in our simple test:
The quick test: Do you feel well rested every day and have no need or desire to sleep longer on weekends? Do you feel fine during most of the day’s awake hours, and you only feel sleepy before bedtime? Yes, then you are probably getting enough sleep.
The revealing test: Find out how long it takes for you to fall asleep. If it takes less than five minutes after you turn off the bedside lamp until you start sleeping, then you probably have sleep deprivation. For most people, it takes about 15 minutes to fall asleep if you have a good sleep balance.
The complete test: Go to bed at the same time four days in a row. Avoid using the alarm clock and sleep until you wake up by yourself. The first three days will be used to relieve sleep deprivation, while on the fourth morning you will know how much sleep you really need.
Your sleep pattern is like an internal clock which your body uses to understand when it´s time to sleep. Our sleep works in the form of multiple cycles, with both REM sleep and non-REM sleep. REM stands for Rapid Eye Movements and means that the eyes make small movements indicating that one is dreaming and that the brain is awake while the rest of the body is still sleeping.
Each cycle consists of four phases, each of which lasts for about 90 minutes, and during one night you should catch about 5-6 cycles. A sleep cycle progress through the stages of non-REM sleep from light to deep sleep, then reverse back from deep sleep to light sleep, ending with time in REM sleep, where dreaming occurs, before starting over in light sleep again. It’s not good if you wake up in the middle of a sleep cycle – it can leave you feeling grumpy and tired. Therefore you should know the optimal time you should go to sleep, to get the best sleep possible.
When is the optimal time to go to bed
Researchers have found that getting a good night´s sleep is about more than simply going to bed early – it´s about waking up at the right time too.
If you need to get up at 06.00… You need to go to bed at either 20.46 or 22.16. If you won’t make these times, then 23.46 will also work.
If you need to get up at 07.00… You need to go to bed at either 21.46 or 23.16. If you won’t make these times, then 00.46 will also work.
If you need to get up at 08.00… You need to go to bed at either 22.46 or 00.16. If you won’t make these times, then 01.46 will also work.
Each sleeping cycle last roughly 90 minutes and you should pass through five or six of them each night. Most people take about 14 minutes to fall asleep and this is factored in the results above. So if you follow these simple rules when to go to bed, you can look forward to feeling fresh and alert … every morning.
‘Sleep is the best meditation.’ – Dalai Lama