Bedtime? Really?

Yeah, I know you aren’t a kid anymore and you probably hated the bedtime, if you had any like I did. Unfortunately, your parents weren’t wrong when they imposed it on you.

Especially for kids, who need more sleep as adults do, studies confirmed that a consistent bedtime has many positive effects. And this is confirmed by almost every age group from toddlers to school kids.

It even goes so far that the regular nighttime routine improves the mood of the parents. 

For the children themselves, the regular bedtime has a huge positive impact on their cognitive performance across all areas tested: reading, math and spatial skills. So getting your kids to bed at the same time each day, will have a positive effect on their mental performance, i.e. in school.

Although there are not nearly as many studies on a consistent bedtime for adults, the effects might be quite similar. As you body is able to adapt to your surrounding, he likes to build routines, that’s why a consistent bedtime ritual is quite good.

Going to bed at the same time each day, will give your body the opportunity to adjust its systems, i.e. triggering melatonin (a sleep hormone).

Knowledge base: Melatonin is a hormone, produced in your pineal gland that makes you sleepy. Normally it’s triggered when it’s getting dark outside, as it tells your body that it’s time to sleep. Lights have a major impact on melatonin, as they suppress the production of it, making you awake instead of sleepy. That’s why staring into your smartphone at night, will tell your body that it’s still daytime and that you shouldn’t go to sleep. 

Having a consistent bedtime, will also help in establishing a consistent wake-up time, which most of us need anyway. If your bedtime varies from 11 pm to 1 pm your wake up time will vary as well. If you’re using an alarm in the morning, you will feel exhausted and groggy.

Not having a consistent bedtime or let’s call it sleep time, will also increase the probability of you getting too little sleep. “Oh, I don’t need to go to bed now”, is a common thought that leads to a later bedtime and too little sleep.

There is also something like ‘weekend insomnia’. This happens because usually from Monday to Friday most people have a rather consistent bed and wake up time, but on the weekends, he whole system is thrown off. Going to bed too late and sleeping in on the next morning, will destroy your whole sleep cycle.

Although this is too much for most people, sticking to your normal bed- and wake up time on the weekend will not only make you feel better, but also make you healthier in the long run.

I’m not saying that you can’t sleep in once in awhile or go out at night, but doing this every week, will take it’s toll in the long run.

One thing you can do is to decide on a 30 minute window of getting to bed, i.e. 1030 – 1100pm, while creating a bedtime ritual around it.

Try this for a week or two and see how you feel. I don’t want to convince that this is the way to go, but it works for me and many people I know. You should try it for yourself and experiment with it.

If you don’t like it or you don’t feel good (after 1-2 weeks, not 1-2 days, since your body has to adjust), feel free to go back to your usual bedtime.

Steps to take: 

  • Take you wake up time and calculate backwards for your bedtime.
  • Stick to it for one week.
  • Tell me how you feel.

Sources:

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