When is the best time for going to bed?

by Katja Gartung
Sleep, sleeping, bedtime, going to bed, photo: pexels.com

Is there a time of day that applies as the perfect bedtime for everybody? Human beings have different biorhythms, highly diverse jobs with early shifts, late shifts or some such, are owls or larks… and they have different sleeping needs. Many a person is fit and well rested after six hours, others need between ten and eleven hours of sleep per night to feel fresh and relaxed. On average, the need is seven to nine hours. The individual need for elderly people diminishes again and most people need only seven to eight hours of sleep.

But when is the best time for going to bed then to allow oneself a restful, long and sound sleep? A study that has been run in England not so very long ago, in which scientists surveyed the sleeping habits of 1.000 humans, has revealed according to online magazine “Mirror” that the perfect time for going to bed would be 10.37 p.m. – 23 minutes to 11 p.m. As per this study, the best time for getting up in the morning would be 7.19 a.m. By contrast, US American sleep expert Michael Breus claims that we can calculate the individually best time for going to bed by subtracting seven and a half hours from the time our alarm clock wakes us up. His assertion is based on the consideration that the average human passes through five sleep phases per night and that an average sleep phase lasts 90  minutes. Still other studies say that the only relevant thing is the steady nightly sleep times. At this it would be without any importance whether one goes to bed at e.g. 9 p.m. or 11.30 p.m.

There is one fact that all studies have in common – the deep sleep is the deciding factor of how relaxing the sleep is. Psychologist Jürgen Aschoff, who in the 1960ies ran various experiments on that topic, with his research results discounted the widely spread myth that the sleep before midnight would be the most restful and thus most important.  During the first two to four hours after falling asleep, the sleep is particularly sound, and for those who go to bed before midnight, this span logically takes place before midnight. The depth of the sleep has nothing to do with the time itself though.

Conclusion: Like many other things in life the required need of sleep is very individual. There seems to be no such thing as one perfect bedtime that equally applies for all human beings. Undisputable is the fact that not solely the time of day that one goes to bed at defines the quality of sleep. Several other factors, e.g. if there are electromagnetic fields in the sleeping environment, if one consumed alcohol or caffeine before going to bed, if there are light sources disturbing the nighttime peace or if one falls asleep with sorrowful or other negatively burdened thoughts, have impact on how relaxed and recovered we awake from our sleep in the morning.  And that’s what it is about – observing oneself and ensure that one finds out the best and „right“ sleeping habits for oneself and thus a possibly preferred bedtime that allows oneself the vitality and energy that one wishes for one’s own life.

By the way: On average we need 14 minutes for falling asleep. But that is just another statistical figure. Some people are lucky to be able to fall asleep as soon as they lie down. Others toss and turn for hours and just can’t find sleep. But that’s a different story…


Picture: pexels.com