Fri 27 Nov, 2015
What is the Best Time to go to Sleep?
Good quality sleep is an important part of the health puzzle. It’s during sleep that the body rejuvenates and recovers from the rigours of the previous day. Without it we would be unable to function properly in everyday life.
Despite its importance, for many of us the secret to good sleep remains a mystery. We’re unsure what time is best to head off to bed and what we can do to improve our sleep quality.
If that sounds familiar, check out our tips below.
What is the optimal time to go to sleep?
After much debate, scientists now believe that going to bed somewhere between 10pm and 11pm results in the best quality sleep.
As the night closes in, your natural circadian rhythm triggers your brain to start producing more of the sleep hormone melatonin. The levels of the stress hormone cortisol also begin to lower, along with your body temperature, meaning your body is primed to head into a deep slumber.
Benefits of a good night’s sleep
There are a range of benefits that stem from a good night’s kip, including:
1. Improved mood – Sleep deprivation can cause anxiety, depression and general irritability, leading to increased stress levels. There is no doubt therefore that a good night’s sleep will reduce the chances of developing these symptoms, resulting in better mental clarity overall.
2. Lower risk of developing chronic diseases – Don’t underestimate the cost of sleep on your health. Long-term sleep problems have been frequently linked to chronic health issues. Prevention is the best cure in this instance, so it’s important to address any sleep issues you may have as soon as possible in order to avoid any future problems.
3. Improved memory and cognitive function – Research has also shown that getting a better night’s sleep improves memory and learning. This is because even when you’re asleep, your brain is still working. During sleep, your brain is actually creating new connections between neurons, which is a fundamental part of memory formation.
4. Improved weight control – Sleep deprivation has been known to disrupt metabolic function. This alone may not have a huge effect on weight, but not getting enough sleep can also result in poor food choices (in order to get an instant rush of energy) and less exercise (due to tiredness). Reaching for high-sugar foods is a common response for people who have not slept properly. Couple this with less exercise and you’ve got two contributing factors to weight gain.
5. Stronger immunity – Sleep is not only good for the brain, but also for our bodies. Scientific research has found a link between sleep times and the distribution of T cells to the lymph nodes. T cells are a type of white blood cell that play a central role in protecting our immune systems from infection and disease. The lymph nodes are those oval-shaped masses of tissue, (that can be found near our armpits and groin) which swell up and become sore when our bodies fight off an infection. Sleep promotes this activity which enhances the overall quality of our immune systems, leaving us in a better position to fight off future infections.
How to prepare for sleep
As well as getting to bed at the right time, there are a number of things you can do during the day and just before bed to improve your sleep quality. Some of the most effective include:
1. Exercise during the day.
2. Avoid caffeine after midday.
3. Eat a light, healthy evening meal at least a few hours before bed.
4. Wind down with meditation, yoga or a hot bath.
5. Make your room sleep friendly – dark, cool, quiet and well oxygenated.
Prioritise your sleep
In short, sleep is one of the most important components of health, but it is often neglected. Just like we need clean air, healthy food and regular movement to live healthily, we need a healthy sleeping practice.
Apply the ideas mentioned above, and let us know if you have any more helpful sleep tips to share!