Updated: Mar 16
Did you know there’s an optimal time to go to sleep? That’s right. And if you’re a night owl, you may want to think about moving your bedtime up a bit.
Let’s take a closer look at what an optimal bedtime looks like. There are two types of
Deep, non-rapid eye movement (non-REM)
REM (rapid eye movement) sleep
These sleep cycles usually last about 90 minutes. The deeper of the sleeps, non-REM sleep, tends to happen in the early parts of the night. As you get into the later hours of the night/early hours of the morning, your lighter, dream infused states are REM sleep. To get the most out of your sleep, you want to have more non-REM sleep, since that’s the deeper of the sleep.
The most optimal time for non-REM deep sleep happens any time before midnight. So ideally, you want to aim for a bedtime around 10:00pm. Of course, if you’re hitting the sack before then, extra credit! However, if you’re hitting the hay any time past midnight, you’re missing out on deep crucial sleep that’s going to help your body detox and repair.
In addition to helping your productivity and overall health, regulating your sleep cycle by going to bed at the same time every night has a huge impact on your circadian rhythm. Your circadian rhythm (meaning “occurring in 24-hour cycles”) helps your brain know when you should be asleep and awake. Just like the sunrise and sunset. Why does this matter? Being in tune with nature and regulating your circadian rhythm helps to optimize your energy output throughout the day.
How does your circadian rhythm work?
When sunlight enters your eyes in the morning, your brain is signaled to wake up. Once the sun sets and it gets dark, your brain knows it’s time to go to bed. The biggest key to regulating your circadian rhythm is having a consistent bedtime, so your body will know when to go to bed. And when you’re really in sync, you won’t even need an alarm clock to wake you up! Your circadian rhythm will wake you up on its own.
So, if you’re feeling sleepier as fall approaches, listen to your body and opt for that early bedtime. Your brain and body will thank you in the morning!
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Author: Stephanie Hendershot, ND
This information is generalized and intended for educational purposes only. Due to potential individual contraindications, please see your primary care provider before implementing any strategies in these posts.