“Practice does not make perfect. It is practice, followed by a night of sleep, that leads to perfection.” ~ Dr. Matthew Walker
There are many options for when we should go to bed. Going to bed is not based upon a steadfast, concrete time but is differentiated based on each person.
Some people are more prone to staying up later, while others are more prone in going to bed early.
Some individuals might need more sleep than others, while a select few can survive less than the overall population.
Understanding when you should go to sleep is imperative for adequately functioning throughout the day. We will look at a few ways to figure out when YOU should go to bed.
Understand Your Chronotype
According to the Sleep Foundation, there are four Chronotypes. These include:
- Lion: The lion chronotype stands in for the early bird. These individuals wake up early and are most productive in the morning, but may have more trouble following a social schedule in the evenings.
- Bear: According to Dr. Breus, the bear chronotype makes up about 55% of the population. People with this intermediate chronotype tend to follow the sun. They do well with traditional office hours but also have no problem maintaining a social life in the evenings.
- Wolf: The wolf chronotype is equivalent to the classic night owl, and is believed to make up approximately 15% of the population.
- Dolphin: The dolphin chronotype is based on the ability of real dolphins to stay alert even while sleeping. Human “dolphins” are best described as insomniacs. If you are curious about which Chronotype you are, take the quick and free quiz at The Sleep Doctor.
Listen to Your Body
Another way to figure out when works best for you to sleep is by going to bed when your body begins to feel fatigued.
Combatting your body and making it stay up past the time it desires to sleep can lead to tiredness the next day. If this occurs multiple times, it can lead to extended fatigue.
Take time to listen to your body. When you feel tired (so long as you are not sick and your tiredness is occurring at some point in the evening), go to sleep. Your body most likely needs rest, and you will begin to form your circadian rhythm of when to go to bed.
As you repeat this over time, your body will get used to winding down towards the end of your evening/night. The routine process of going to bed when you feel tired will help you understand when the best time is to get sleep.
Not setting your alarm clock can also help with knowing when to go to bed. Though this pertains to when you wake up, getting on a wake-up routine can help your body consistently be tired towards the end of the day.
By not setting an alarm clock, your body will naturally wake up once it feels rested.
Of course, it is important not to oversleep each day continually. When your body wakes up in the morning, and you feel refreshed, that is the time to wake up.
Avoid napping to help your body feel more tired and ready for bed come the evening.
With understanding and applying these few tips and actions, you will be well on your way to knowing what time to go to bed.
As you develop a solid circadian rhythm, you will feel happier, more energized, productive, and in-tune in the coming days.