Sleep and rest are critical for our daily lives. In fact, we spend about 33% of our lives doing just that—or at least we should! Many of us have found that the stress and busyness of the day-in and day-out tends to eat up more of our time, leaving us to cut out something. And many of us simply cut out sleep by default.
But while everyone knows that the amount of hours that you sleep is important, what many people don’t know is the time of day you are sleeping could also make a big difference in your life.
Benefits of Sleeping Early at Night
People who go to bed at an earlier time are simply more likely to get enough sleep than those who stay up later. Staying up late can be correlated to problems with insomnia, sleep deprivation, and even more serious health issues. The deepest and most restorative phases of sleep are REM sleep, which may be more likely to occur when you go to bed earlier, insuring that you’ll get enough sleep.
5 Reasons for an Early Bedtime
If you simply aren’t convinced that going to bed even 30-90 minutes earlier could change everything for you, take a look at these important factors of your life that are affected by an early bedtime:
Sleep is believed by many doctors and nutritionists to be the most important factor in losing weight. More important than even diet and exercise! Getting the right amount of z’s, and getting them early in the evening, may act as the missing link if you’ve been trying to lose weight but finding it difficult. Taking care of your sleep schedule means that your metabolism will function better, you’re less likely to make poor eating decisions out of fatigue, and you’re more likely to have the energy you need to exercise throughout the day.
Also, people who stay up late into the evening have a tendency to eat late—even when they aren’t really hungry! And those calories that you eat late at night are more likely to be stored in your body, rather than burning the calories. Going to bed early means you won’t feel the need to indulge that late-night snack craving. Then you’ll be more likely to eat a healthy breakfast to start your day the next morning.
More Productivity in the Morning
Even if you think you’re not a morning person, you are still probably able to be more productive in the morning if you go to bed early enough and get up early as a habit. As your body becomes habitually programmed to sleep earlier, you’ll find that your brain and body have higher energy levels in the morning. Your memory levels and mental focus abilities, combined with a better feeling of physical well-being in the morning, will result in higher productivity.
If you use this time in the morning for work, then you might just find yourself with the slight edge so that you can get that promotion! But you can choose whether you use that extra time to get into the office early, spend the time working out at the gym, or have a breakfast date with another early riser.
Access to Greater Amounts of Energy
Living within the phases of the sun means that your body is more in tuned with its natural circadian rhythms. Going to bed at a reasonable hour (and getting up with the chickens) means that you’ll probably get a better amount of REM sleep the whole night through. It’s this REM sleep that gives you strength and energy for the day, keeps your mind sharp, helps to have mental focus, and allows you to accomplish more with less effort.
Better Mood and Less Depression
Let’s face it. People who are sleep deprived are often really grumpy and not very pleasant to be around. When you go to bed early and get enough sleep at night, you wake up naturally instead of to your annoying alarm, and the rest of your day is likely to look better. People who don’t get enough sleep are often short-tempered, sad, irritable, and prone to additional stress.
In fact, people who don’t sleep for as many hours as they should are shown in studies to be up to 20 times more likely to develop an anxiety disorder. And a large portion of sleep deprived people will become depressed over the long term as well. When your body and your brain get enough sleep, you benefit by starting the day with a positive attitude, and going through your day with patience and an overall better outlook on life.
Promote Better Overall Health
Researchers at a health clinic in Japan learned that study participants who went to be prior to midnight were found to have signs of a healthier heart. Those who went to bed after midnight on a regular basis were shown to have stiffening of the arteries, which acts as an early indicator that heart disease may develop. People who don’t get enough sleep are also more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, gain weight, and even have compromised immune systems.
Inflammation in the body can be reduced during sleep as the body is able to restore itself more effectively and efficiently, which can be especially useful when recovering from an injury or fighting off arthritis. Antioxidants in your brain and body are at work while you are sleeping, meaning that your body is working to rid itself of toxins. Getting to sleep earlier not only makes you feel better in the short term, but it may also protect you from cold and flu viruses, bacterial infections, and various other illness and disease.
For some people, getting to bed early can be very difficult in certain seasons of their lives. But for the most part, people who have even just a half hour worth of flexibility in their bedtime will benefit from cutting out that last episode on Netflix or reading one less chapter before going to sleep. Start turning the lights down earlier, shut off the electronics, and get yourself into bed a bit earlier than normal. You could benefit significantly and you certainly won’t regret it!