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How to Go to Bed Earlier and Why It Matters

by BetterSleep
May 6 • 4 min read

Though some people proudly flaunt their night owl status, we all know how tiring late nights can be on your body. Whether it was a later night than expected or you just couldn’t force yourself to fall asleep - we’ve all been there. If you’ve ever woken up in the morning feeling more tired than you were when you went to bed, maybe it’s time to switch up your bedtime routine. The first step? Going to bed earlier.

We know it’s not as easy as hitting the pillow a couple hours earlier to get that restful night’s sleep. Stress, anxiety and general life events can easily keep us up later than we’d like. That’s why we’re sharing some easy tips you can use to go to bed earlier, know how much sleep your body really needs, and how to get a more restful sleep overall.

What’s the best time to go to bed?

There’s no one magical time that’s best for you to go to bed, but the time of night that you go to sleep will affect the structure and quality of your sleep. We all go through 90-minute cycles in our sleep, moving from deep non-REM sleep and REM sleep. In an article on TIME, Dr. Matt Walker, head of the Sleep and Neuroimaging Lab at the University of California, Berkeley explains that even though the 90-minute cycle of sleep stays pretty consistent throughout the night, the ratio of non-REM and REM sleep changes.

Why going to bed earlier matters

So what? Well, Dr. Walker told TIME that we experience more non-REM sleep earlier in the night and REM sleep closer to the morning. Both stages of sleep have benefits, but non-REM sleep is known as the deep sleep phase. When you go to bed earlier, you’ll still shift from non-REM to REM sleep, but you’re more likely experience more non-REM sleep. This can leave you feeling more refreshed and rested in the morning.

How to fall asleep earlier

Now for the hard part - how to actually force yourself to fall asleep earlier. Falling asleep earlier will really come down to how healthy your sleep hygiene is. These are things you can do to help improve your overall sleep quality, making it easier to fall, and stay asleep.

  • Get at least 30 minutes of sun during the day (you can also use artificial light)
  • On the flip side, make sure you have dark surroundings just before you sleep and while you’re sleeping
  • Avoid electronics before bed or wear blue light glasses as artificial light from screens make it harder to fall asleep
  • Set an alarm (even on weekends) to make sure you’re going to bed and waking up around the same time to help align your sleep and circadian rhythms; this will also help you get a more restorative sleep
  • Avoid napping during the day
  • Try getting into a state of relaxation by meditating or doing another calming activity

Going to bed earlier may feel strange at first, but overtime it’ll become second nature. The key part in successfully falling asleep earlier is aiming to keep a consistent nighttime routine from weekdays to weekends.

Need some help getting started? Try BetterSleep to access easy tools and resources you can use to get a better night’s sleep.

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