3 hacks to find your ideal bedtime for better sleep
What is the best time for you to go to sleep?
Maybe, like many of my clients, you have lost a true concept of what time you should go to bed? I’m hopeful these tips can help you get back on track.
Everyone has their own individual circadian rhythms. Most of us are “hummingbirds,” with sleep rhythms somewhere around 10pm-6am. “Night owls” feel best staying up a little later. “Early birds” benefit from hitting the hay earlier. If you try to go against your own circadian rhythm, it can be harder to sleep peacefully.
When I wasn’t sleeping well, I made the mistake of trying to go to bed earlier and earlier because I was exhausted. But then I struggled to fall asleep. It might seem to make sense to go to bed earlier if you’re tired. But you might not be able to fall asleep, or it may cause you to wake up in the middle of the night, if your circadian rhythm is asking for something else.
Here are three things to ask yourself when trying to find the right bedtime for yourself.
What time did you go to bed when you did sleep well?
Maybe you’ve never been a great sleeper, but if you have ever slept well as an adult, try to recall what bedtime worked for you then. Be careful not to look to your teenage years, because, biologically, teens tend to be night owls. Focus on a time when you were in your mid-twenties or later to find your ideal bedtime.
When you are on vacation, what time do you naturally get tired?
When you are on a relaxing vacation (like a trip to the beach) when do you find are you tired and ready for bed? (We are not talking about a party trip to Vegas.)
Likewise, if you started relaxing at 8pm, and allowed yourself to naturally unwind, when would you go to sleep?
Often people are filling their evening times with to-do lists like work and cleaning. When we are really busy it’s easy to miss our sleepy window and get a second wind. Try truly relaxing and winding down at 8pm for a week and see what time you are ready for bed.
Note: When you miss sleep, it doesn’t just go away. Each time that you miss the sleep you need, you accumulate “sleep debt.” When you finally go on vacation, or start resting at 8, you may find your body will catch up on that sleep. So looking at the bedtimes you lean towards at the end of the week will give you a more accurate picture of your ideal bedtime.
Test it out!
Once you settle on what feels like a good bedtime to set for yourself, try going to bed at that time for at least a couple weeks. Be consistent. Let your body adjust and then assess how it’s going. After a few weeks, you can begin to make any changes to your schedule that your body is asking for.
Our body likes consistency and routine. So dedicate yourself to a consistent bedtime to help regulate your circadian rhythm and get the best sleep you can!
Once you’ve found your ideal bedtime, if you still aren’t sleeping well, then there are likely imbalances in your body that are keeping you awake. My team and I can help you uncover those imbalances and correct them so you start sleeping better soon. Schedule a free consultation to find out more and get started!