Sleep hygiene is becoming the talk of more health professionals than ever—for good reason. Having a good sleep routine is linked to better digestion, higher levels of productivity, and even better moods, Healthline explains. During this time, your body can fully restore itself, and your mind is able to relax enough to shut down. The ultimate restorative technique, sleep helps the brain reorganize itself and recover from daily stressors as well.
But, if you’re waiting for later in the night to finally get under the covers, you’re likely missing important hours of rest. Prior to midnight is when our body gets the full refresh that it needs. Dr. Nerina Ramlakhan tells Harper’s Bazaar, “The 90-minute phase before midnight is one of the most powerful phases of sleep, because it’s the period where the body is replenished. It’s rejuvenated on every level – physically, mentally, emotionally and, I believe, spiritually as well. There’s a lot of healing that takes place in that first phase of sleep.”
Around 10 PM, your body temperature and cortisol levels start to drop, allowing you to slip off to dreamland more easily, Women’s Health attests.
10:10 may be the best time to go to sleep
Starting to wind down around 9:30 helps you drift off more easily around 10 PM, bringing all of its benefits with it. According to Women’s Health, this time period specifically gives your body 20 minutes to fall into a deep sleep, followed by an hour and a half of pre-midnight, non-REM sleep, where your body can do all the restoring it needs. Plus, planning your cycles can make a difference in how you feel. Each sleep cycle lasts about 90 minutes, performing various tasks each time. To wake up feeling refreshed, it’s best to plan waking up towards the end of a sleep cycle.
Since non-REM sleep is considered a more deeply restorative slumber, getting those 90 minutes in before midnight can restore various parts of your brain and body that REM sleep does not, TIME notes. These non-REM cycles occur earlier in the night, with your body getting lighter sleep as the night goes on. In other words, your body really needs the deep, restorative snooze before midnight. But, the outlet notes, you don’t have to get hung up on the exact time — just in general, hitting the sack earlier can give your system the reset that it needs.
Make it easier on yourself — get to bed earlier!
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