Bedtime sweet spot
By Laurie Sweig
Published Feb. 8, 2018
Generally speaking, very few people get enough sleep on regular basis. We have all experienced the pressures of trying to do just one more thing before we turn in for the night. Sometimes, we get caught surfing the Internet or watching one more episode of a show. Before we know it, it’s after 11 p.m., and we still have to go through the bedtime routine before our head hits the pillow. So much for getting to bed early.
Good health is based on a combination of good nutrition, exercise and sleep. Most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep a night. I have run into many people who argue that they don’t need that amount. Of all the people that have told me this I’ve only met one person who really didn’t seem to need more than five hours a night. He was always in a good mood and never sick. There are exceptions to the rule. I am not one of those exceptions. I need 7.5 to eight hours of sleep a night to stay healthy and happy.
Something I have discovered, by using a fitness tracker, is that I have a bedtime sweet spot. Sure, we’ve all been told that we should maintain a consistent bedtime and wake time all week long. That makes sense but I don’t recall ever being encouraged to figure when my optimum bedtime is. I discovered it by accident, and now I am sharing this gem of wisdom with you.
My sweet spot is between 9:45 and 10 p.m. for lights out. When that happens I have a much better chance of undisturbed sleep until 6 a.m., or even later. I am incredibly grateful for nights like those. While I do fall off the early bedtime wagon it doesn’t take me as long to get back to it. I believe that closing my eyes in that magic window gives my body the time it needs to go through a shut down process. That includes having my brain log off. I have also discovered that going to sleep too early, unless I am completely exhausted, doesn’t work either. Hence, the concept of the “sweet spot.”
If you’re interested in finding your bedtime sweet spot I would suggest that you do the following:
Pick a reasonable bedtime that you can maintain for a minimum of seven nights.
Create a way of tracking information (fitness trackers will provide some of this data): the time you turned the lights out, how many times you were up through the night, the morning wake-up time (with or without an alarm), were you looking at a screen before bed, did you eat a late meal, and how rested you were in the morning.
Review the information to determine if there is a pattern.
When you find your sweet spot try implementing it for a month or so. The benefits of being well rested are almost endless. They are yours to enjoy.
Something to think about.
Laurie Sweig is a certified personal trainer and spinning instructor. She is one of the founders of The Point for Fitness: www.thepointforfitness.com.