As adults, how many of us have bedtimes? Sure we might joke about a late time being “past our bedtime.” Or have a set time in mind, but in practice, how often do we say we’re going to go to bed at a specific time each night and then actually stick to it? More often than not, tasks get in the way and prolong our bedtime until a much later hour. Or, we crawl under the covers, only to read or watch TV until we get too tired and simply fall asleep from exhaustion.
All of these habits, however, can have a serious affect on the way we are able to rest each night. For instance, sleeping with the TV on can decrease sleep quality, even in heavier stages of rest. While going to bed at a different time each night can confuse the body and make it unable to determine when it’s time for bed and when it’s time to wind down each evening. This too, can reduce sleep quality and create a body that’s ready to sleep simply whenever it has the chance. Not when it’s “time” to go to bed each night.
But how can you remedy this situation? After all, failing to have a bedtime is a widespread issue. Even though it affects thousands each night, however, doesn’t mean there’s a simple solution to finding better sleep.
Choosing a Consistent Bedtime
By training your body to sleep at the same time every night, it will – surprise –actually work to fall asleep at the same time each night. Come 10 pm, or whenever you choose, you will naturally become tired and want to sleep at that time. The body will also better prepare, meaning there’s less tossing and turning once you finally hit the covers.
It’s also a good idea to wake up at the same time each morning. Sometimes this can prove difficult, depending on morning tasks. However, by setting the alarm for a consistent time, you can naturally waken around the same time – less groggy, more alert, and ready to take on the day. It will become routine to fall asleep and wake up within your allotted amount of time.
Studies show that, over time, the body begins to train itself and create its own natural sleeping schedule. One that’s reiterated by keeping a consistent timeline. When we fall asleep and wake up at different times each day, however, that schedule can not be made and the body has to work every single day to fall asleep and wake up in an unnatural and difficult practice.
The Downside to Set Sleeping Schedules
The hardest part of this new routine, however, is sticking to it. Not necessarily during the week, where work and school start on or around the same time. But on the weekends, when it’s a luxury to catch up on extra Zs. Which makes it all the more difficult to get up when our Monday through Friday alarms are scheduled. For many, the risk of throwing off their bodies is more than worth it. It might mean a little excess time when falling asleep on the weeknights, but to gain that extra hour or so (and then to stay up later for whatever planned activities), it’s a chance they’re willing to take.
It’s also worth noting that for some, five days per week are enough to keep the body “trained” for sleep. While for others, it takes a no-exceptions, seven days per week routine to keep them falling asleep at the same time each night.
To give yourself the best sleep possible, consider setting a sleeping routine. It’s an easy, proven way to fall asleep faster without feeling groggy the next day.