When it comes to figuring out the best time to sleep, it’s important to set consistent times for going to bed and waking up so that you get enough quality sleep. Those times may vary depending on several factors:
- Keeping in mind the amount of sleep you need: Adults should get 7-9 hours of sleep a day. So you may need to set your schedule according to your work, family obligations, etc. For example, if you have to wake up by 5 a.m. to go to work, you should wind down before 10 p.m.
- Establishing a sleep schedule: Be consistent with your sleep schedule by going to bed at the same time each night and waking up at the same time each morning. Following a structured sleep routine, even on the weekends, can help you get better and more restful sleep.
- Aligning with your sleep cycle: Your sleep cycle consists of four phases:
- The first two stages consist of light non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep.
- During the third stage, your body temperature decreases, and your brain activity slows down.
- The final stage (REM) is characterized by rapid breathing, increased heart rate and blood pressure.
- For healthy sleep, both NREM and REM sleep are equally important. Going to bed between 8 p.m. and 12 a.m. should provide you with a good balance of both, and can help you wake up feeling alert and refreshed.
What is shift work sleep disorder?
Some people may be unable to have a fixed sleeping schedule, especially shift workers who work odd hours. When shift schedules do not align with natural light cycles, they cause various metabolic disorders and disrupt the body’s biological clock, which dictates your sleep and waking schedules.
Since many shift workers do not have a fixed sleeping schedule, their biological clock can go haywire. Shift work sleep disorder can cause:
- Difficulty falling or staying asleep during scheduled bedtimes
- Excessive sleepiness while working
What are the consequences of insufficient sleep?
Getting enough sleep is crucial for physical and mental health. In adults, short-term effects of sleep deprivation include:
- Increased stress
- Reduced quality of life
- Emotional distress
- Bingeing habits
- Mood disorders, irritability
- Cognitive, memory, and performance deficits
Chronic sleep deprivation can lead to:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Increased cholesterol level
- Gastrointestinal issues
What are the consequences of too much sleep?
Similar to not getting enough sleep, getting too much sleep can also be problematic. Oversleeping could be a sign of underlying medical conditions, including:
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John Hopkins Medicine. Oversleeping: Bad for Your Health? https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/oversleeping-bad-for-your-health
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