Ever wondered what is the best time to go to bed? Here is a new year’s sleep resolution tip you need to feel more alert every day…
After the absolute chaos of 2022, you might be aiming to have a better sleep regime and more energy this year. But coming to the end of January, maintain a proper sleep schedule is already proving impossible.
However, it really is possible to pick a bedtime and stick with it – your body and mind will thank you for it. Making a firm commitment to yourself to be in bed by 10pm every night will improve your sleep immensely.
Most people who live the modern standard busy lives don’t think that they can be asleep by that time of night – how could they, when they’re only just feeling re-energised from their dinner, are locked into the new series, or still scrolling through their work emails, while lying on the sofa?
It takes discipline to get into bed when there are other things to be doing, but the benefits outweigh the sacrifice – the research and sleep experts agree. “Getting to bed around 9.30-10pm is optimal and it is one of the non-negotiables in my sleep protocol,” says sleep expert Dr Nerina Ramlakhan.
Benefits Of Going to Bed At 10pm
When we are well rested, our anxiety reduces, mental focus improves, and exercise feels easier.
There are long-term benefits to early nights, too. In 2021, a study published in the European Heart Journal of over 88,000 participants in the UK found that falling asleep at 10pm or after is associated with a lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease. The highest rate of heart conditions was found in participants who went to sleep after midnight, but it was also high in people who went to sleep much before 10pm too. Essentially, eight hours of sleep after 12pm won’t protect your heart as much as eight hours at 10pm.
A 10pm snooze supports, rather than fights, your natural circadian rhythm. It is controlled by the interaction between the pineal gland in the brain and the levels of light in our environment. Working against that can impact hormones and biology.
People who get to bed earlier are less likely to suffer from chronic fatigue, thyroid problems, and burnout. They also tend to have healthier lifestyle habits as they then get up earlier to meditate, journal, exercise, and take time to eat healthily.
How To Get to Bed Before 10pm
We’re sure you’re convinced of the benefits of an early night sleep. But how do you manage it? You have to start by not suppressing that internal clock.
Limit your screen use in the evenings
It is easiest to fall asleep when we are in tune with the circadian rhythm. Many people who struggle to get to sleep are actually going to bed too late and have simply suppressed their sleep hormones with blue light and technology.
Set an ‘electronic sundown’ hour
It’s unrealistic to suggest that you have to avoid all screens from the minute you shut your work laptop. Simply limiting the glare could make all the difference. Try to avoid being on your phone or in your inbox at the same time as watching TV. Turn the lighting down so the room isn’t too well lit and even light a lavender candle.
Avoid news and social media
Keep your viewing to something that is positive, uplifting and life-affirming in these anxious times. Avoid the news and social media as they usually fuel the anxiety.
Put your devices on ‘sleep mode’
You can try setting your devices to ‘sleep mode’ too, so the blue light is dulled.
Choose analogue activities
Once in bed, we recommend being off your electronic devices, reading a book and ideally an old-fashioned paper book rather than an e-reader if you suffer from insomnia. Also journaling or meditating during this time can also set you up perfectly as it brings a sense of safety into your body which is essential for getting amazing sleep.
If the transition still feels too overwhelming, don’t worry. You don’t have to be fully asleep by 10pm but resting and transitioning from your busy day into the restful state that is the precursor for restorative sleep and will do wonders for your health.
What About Sleep Cycles?
Another thing you might want to consider are sleep cycles. When you fall asleep, you whirl through several cycles, each of which has four sub-stages, compromised of non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep and the last stage: rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. On average, it takes 90 minutes to go through each cycle.
You are more likely to wake up feeling fresh, rather than groggy and pulled too early out of a dream, if you do so between cycles, rather than in the middle of one.
How To Get to Sleep at The Right Time
The number one tip for achieving our sleep goals is to specifically set aside an appropriate amount of time for sleep and to maintain a strict schedule. Often times, we tend to fit in sleep when we can, allowing work and social schedules to interfere with good sleep timing. Sleep is one of the three things we humans must do to survive. Eat, drink, and sleep.
The following steps toward getting adequate sleep include:
- Sticking to a regular sleep schedule
- Going to bed at the same time each night and getting up at the same time each morning, including on weekends
- Getting enough natural light, especially earlier in the day – a morning or lunchtime walk can help
- Getting enough physical activity during the day – but not exercising within a few hours of bedtime
- Avoiding artificial light, especially within a few hours of bedtime – try using a blue light filter on your computer or smartphone
- Not eating or drinking within a few hours of bedtime, and avoiding alcohol and foods high in fat or sugar
- Keeping your bedroom cool, dark, and quiet
The best goal to aim for this year? A regular 10pm bedtime.