What time do I have to go to bed? The time of the night you sleep has a major influence on the structure and quality of your sleep. At the beginning of the night you have more non-REM sleep and sleep more at the end of the night. Research has shown that non-REM sleep is deeper and offers more recovery than the lighter REM sleep in which you dream.However, the shift from non-REM to REM sleep occurs at specific moments at night, regardless of when you go to sleep. Therefore, the quality of your sleep will deteriorate when you suddenly go to bed late.
The quality of your sleep changes during the night
The quality of your night’s sleep changes during the night. Sleep consists of a series of 90 minutes cycles. During these periods, your brain will go to sleep without rapid eye movements (non-REM or non-rapid eye movement). That 90 minute cycle is quite stable throughout the night. However, the ratio between non-REM to REM sleep differs.
Non-REM sleep is the main part of your sleep cycles in the first part of the night. But when the clock is slow towards the dawn, the REM sleep muscles will come into action. That’s important because research has shown that non-REM sleep is deeper and offers more recovery than the lighter REM sleep in which you dream. Although both provide significant benefits.
Deep sleep restores
What does this have to do with the perfect bedtime? The shift from non-REM to REM sleep occurs at specific times at night, regardless of when you go to sleep. So when you sleep very late, your sleep will focus more on the lighter sleep cycle in the REM phase. And the reduction of deep, restful night’s rest can give you a cool and unconscious feeling the following day.
That’s bad news for the night-time people, pub staff and other occupations with deviant sleep / wake up routines. Because they can not sleep efficiently during the day or night. Work in shift service is linked to overweight, heart disease, earlier death and even lower brain function. In one study, in people who had experience working in the evenings, they found themselves to be lower in standard tests on memory and processing speed than those who did not work at night. People who worked in teams for more than ten years showed cognitive constraints that corresponded to a significant 6.5 year cognitive decline.
Influence of circadian rhythm on your night’s rest
Even shorter sleep has an effect according to a recent study. People who slept five o’clock a week had a higher heart rate throughout the day. The idea that you can learn to sleep at night and sleep during the day is impossible to combine with optimal performance. Your brain and circadian rhythm – which regulates everything from your sleep patterns to energy levels and hunger – tell your brain what kind of sleep you need.
No matter how hard you try to reset or shift your circadian rhythm while sleeping, there’s just too little space. These cycles have evolved over hundreds of thousands of years. Thirty or forty years of work experience, this will not change.
What time do I have to go to bed?
When it comes to bedtime, there is a period of several hours – approximately between 8 o’clock in the evening and 12 o’clock in the night – when your brain and body are able to rest all non-REM and REM needed to to function optimally. Your DNA determines whether you should go to bed earlier or later within that period between eight to midnight.
For people who are really night owls, fitting early to bed does not go to their physiology. This also applies to the morning people who try to stay late. For each type of person, the best time to sleep is the time when they feel the most sleepy.
That means night owls should not try to force themselves to go to bed at nine or ten o’clock when they are not tired yet. Of course, the time you have to get up in the morning depends on your work schedule or family life. But when you can find a way to tailor your sleep schedule to your own biological need, and sleep a full eight hours, then that’s better for you.
See also: How much sleep do you need?
Ideal bedtime changes as you grow older
Your ideal bedtime will also change as you grow older. While small children are usually very early in the evening, the opposite is true for young adults who prefer to go to bed at midnight. After your study time, your best bedtime will probably be getting older. And again;This is determined by your biological clock.
Experiment with different bedtime and use fatigue as barometer for best results. Make sure you get up at about the same time each morning. Both week and weekend. It’s no problem if you spend an hour on your free day longer. But when you get up late at half past seven and sleep at ten o’clock on weekends, you will balance the sleep rate with a detrimental effect on your sleep.