I rarely fall asleep before midnight. However, many people, including my mom, claim that it is always better to have a sleep before midnight. Is that true?
Depending on what time you need to wake up, it might be better to sleep before midnight. The first third of the night is when we are in the deepest part of our sleep. That is likely the reason why it’s said that it’s good to go to sleep before midnight. There are also other benefits to sleep before midnight.
Let’s find out what specific reasons there are to go to sleep before midnight, and how can you succeed in falling asleep early.
The first part of the sleep is critical
There are changes in our sleep during the night. The first third of the night’s sleep is the deepest part of sleep. That is why it is the “first third of your sleep that is the most restorative.”
The deep sleep helps to lower the levels of the stress hormone cortisol and calm down the sympathetic nervous system activity. This is one reason why deep sleep is so important.
Some people say that when they go sleep around 10 pm and wake up around 6 am, they feel much more refreshed in the morning, compared to when going to sleep around or after 12 am and waking up closer to 8 am.
Why is it so?
The reason is most likely their circadian rhythm. The circadian rhythms of our bodies are affected by genetics, but also by how much natural light there is during different times of the day.
For instance, in many locations around the world, the darkness falls around 6 – 8 pm. After the sun has set and it’s become dark outside, your brain starts to produce melatonin, meant to prepare you for sleeping time.
Therefore, if you go to sleep around 9 – 11 pm, you are probably more likely to be following your circadian rhythm.
Why Go to Bed Before Midnight? – 9 Reasons to Do So
- Your Sleep Quality is Better
- Your Next Day is Better
- Avoid Accidents
- Avoid Cardiovascular Risks
- Cure Insomnia
- Avoid Cancer
- Avoid Obesity
- Immune Response
- Effects of Melatonin – Natural Process
1. Your Sleep Quality is Better
Quality of sleep is one of the most critical factors when speaking of a good night’s sleep. Sometimes it’s even more important than the amount of sleep. The earlier you sleep, the more quality sleep you get. Circadian rhythms vary from one person to another, but in general falling asleep before midnight means more deep, good-quality sleep.
It is especially true when you need to wake up early on the next morning.
2. Your Next Day is Better
If you go to sleep around 10 pm, or even earlier, you may notice that it is much easier to get up in the morning.
It is also natural to go to sleep before midnight. That is because darkness usually falls well before 8 pm. When it’s dark, your brain starts to produce melatonin and gives you the signal to go to sleep. This is why it’s more natural to go to sleep earlier, especially if the sun sets early in the area where you live.
If you need to wake up early every working day, it would be good to stay on the same sleeping schedule even on weekends, so that your internal clock is not disturbed too much.
3. Avoid Accidents
If you won’t get enough quality sleep, the risk of accidents, such as car accidents or even accidents while walking, rises. In one study, it was found that the risk of accident rises when drivers are sleeping less than seven hours every night.
Also, in the workplace, there is a risk of making more mistakes, because of not getting enough sleep. This not only generates a significant loss of productivity, but might also cause dangerous situations in the workplace, depending on the field of work.
4. Avoid Cardiovascular Risks
Lack of sleep may make you more susceptible to cardiovascular problems, such as cardiovascular disease or cardiovascular events. Many studies have shown that a high risk of stroke or myocardial infarction is related to not getting enough sleep.
To avoid these risks, it is undoubtedly better to go to sleep before midnight, to make sure that you can get enough sleep.
5. Cure Insomnia
Skipping sleep before midnight might cause insomnia. Forcing yourself to stay awake if your internal clock says it’s time to sleep might disrupt your circadian rhythm. This might throw your rhythm off for many days.
Even if you don’t need to wake up early in the morning, it might be more difficult to keep sleeping long enough. Noise and light disturbances might make it difficult to stay asleep in the late morning.
Such interruptions may not just affect the quality of your sleep, but might also in the long term cause sleep deprivation and aggravate other problems, such as anxiety.
6. Avoid Cancer
Some studies have shown that the risk of cancer might be higher in those people who don’t get enough sleep. For example, one study establishing the link between short sleep duration and breast cancer was conducted in Japan.
This study concluded that those who slept six hours or less per night were at a higher risk of breast cancer, compared to those women who were sleeping seven or more hours every night.
Researchers pointed out that melatonin might be a factor linking sleep and breast cancer. Some studies have also found a link between night work and higher cancer risk.
7. Avoid Obesity
Your weight might rise because of lack of sleep. That’s something that I have experienced, and it’s not a fun side effect. So sleep enough!
Many researchers claim that lack of sleep can cause obesity. A study with 1,024 participants concluded that too little sleep might affect the normal levels of “appetite-regulating hormones.”
Those who took part in this sleep study reported their sleep habits by filling sleep diaries and answering questionnaires. Furthermore, they gave blood samples every morning, “which were evaluated for serum leptin, ghrelin, adiponectin, insulin, glucose, and lipid profile.”
The researchers also identified a connection between body mass index and sleep duration. It was shown that the body mass index was more likely higher in those participants who slept less than eight hours every night.
8. Immune Response
The immune system can also suffer because of lack of sleep.
It has been shown that sleep deprivation elevates the levels of inflammatory cytokines in young adults. These inflammatory cytokines are called IL-6 and TNF.
During the study, the participants were allowed six hours of sleep each night. Results showed that “IL-6 was increased in both sexes and TNF-alpha was increased in men.” As mentioned before, “IL-6 and TNF-alpha are markers of systemic inflammation, which causes pain and soreness and may lead to osteoporosis or autoimmune diseases.”
9. Effects of Melatonin – Natural Process
The hormone called melatonin starts to give your body signs to go to sleep around 9 pm. Your heart rate goes down, causing your alertness and strength levels to drop.
It is undoubtedly a natural process, so why try to race against it? Better to follow the natural processes of your body. When you start to feel tired, it is best to sleep.
How to Succeed to Go to Bed Before Midnight? – 7 Things You Can Do & 2 Extra Tips
- Use Your Energy During the Day
- Wake Up at 6 am Every Morning
- Go to Sleep at 10 am Every Night
- Stop Using Your Cellphone and Other Electric Devices during the Night
- Listen to Sounds That Help You Fall Asleep
- Don’t Drink Coffee or Alcohol, and Don’t Smoke at Night
- Make Your Sleeping Environment Ideal for Sleep
First, it should be mentioned that going to sleep early is not for everyone. Everyone has their own natural sleep schedule, where genetics play a role. It might be difficult to force yourself to go to sleep at a specific time.
Some of us are “night owls” by nature. Just like me. Then it might be better to find a sleep schedule that fits your natural rhythm, if possible.
But if you still need to wake up early, you might want to try these steps to fall asleep before midnight:
1. Use Your Energy During the Day
Do a lot of activities during the day. Walk, run or practice any other physical activities that use energy, so that in the evening you will feel tired enough to fall asleep. If you don’t use your energy during the day, it is more likely going to be difficult to fall asleep before midnight.
2. Wake Up at 6 am Every Morning
When you have to wake up at 6 am, you will more likely get tired before 10 pm, and falling asleep is much easier when you’re already tired. Besides, if you refrain from taking any naps during the daytime, you are more likely tired in the evening. If you have to wake up early on Monday, it would be a good idea not to sleep too late on Sunday either, so that you can fall asleep earlier.
3. Go to Sleep at 10 am Every Night
Don’t stay awake later than that, because that could mess with your sleeping schedule. There might still be a lot of stuff you need to do, but if possible, go to sleep on time and leave all that for the next day.
4. Stop Using Your Cellphone and Other Electric Devices during the Night
It might be hard to stop using them, if you have a habit of doing so. But this is probably the biggest reason for staying up too late. Therefore, do everything you can to avoid using your cell phone or watching the TV too late in the evening.
I did some research to find out how using your electric devices late at night impacts your sleep. If you use a cell phone too late, you might get so focused on what you’re doing that you forget to go to sleep on time. But even more importantly, the bright screen might mess with your natural circadian rhythm.
It appears that staring at a bright screen after the darkness has already fallen might keep you from falling asleep. That is because your cellphone’s screen produces blue light, which gives your brain a signal to stay awake.
I have found out that if I need to use my cell or other devices late in the evening, it is better to have a screen dimmer. Because there are so many different kinds of screen dimmers, I did some research and found out that many of the screen dimmers available don’t actually dim the blue light properly.
Finally, I found the proper solution as a functional screen dimmer (Go ahead and check it out, it is free to try it for 7 days). You should get a screen dimmer to get better sleep, if you have to use your phone or other devices late in the evening.
5. Listen to Sounds That Help You Fall Asleep
I did a lot of research on different sounds that can make you sleep. I found 66 “weird” sounds that can help fall asleep. Check out if any of them work for you!
6. Don’t Drink Coffee or Alcohol, and Don’t Smoke at Night
It should be obvious that smoking in any situation is harmful for you, but especially when going to sleep, its impact might be so significant that you can’t get sleep for a while.
7. Make Your Sleeping Environment Ideal for Sleep
Keep it cool and dark:
- A quick solution for keeping cool: Place your bed sheets in a freezer and let them be there 10 minutes before going to bed.
- A quick solution for keeping dark: If your sleeping environment is not dark enough, you can make your own sleep mask or buy one with multiple functions.
Set your Alarm clock to 10 pm
This is how you will notice that is time to go bed, even if you are immersed in your work or other activities.
And the most importantly:
Stop reading this, put your cell phone away, and go to sleep! (You can continue reading after you wake up)
Is It True That Each Hour Before Midnight is Worth two?
It is a myth. Like Cirus suspects, it is more likely a saying that parents have made up to get their children and teenagers go to bed early. Going to sleep early only makes it more likely that you can get enough sleep. However, even if the saying is a myth, it’s still a good idea to go to sleep earlier!
If I sleep before midnight, I usually wake up at 2 pm and can’t fall asleep again, what to do?
This kind of problem is a kind of insomnia too. It may be caused, for instance, by a medical condition like chronic pain or sleep apnea. It is possible that it is connected to a mental health problem, such as depression.
You may try to:
- Avoid daytime napping. Napping in daytime might disrupt your natural sleep cycle.
- Get out of bed. If you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t fall back to sleep within 20 minutes, it is better to get out of bed. You should go to another room and maybe read something. You can do other quiet activities until you start feeling sleepy and then go back to bed.
It is crucial to treat insomnia, and that is why you need to talk with your doctor if such problems persist.
So, should you go to sleep before midnight?
Basically, yes. Of course, everyone’s situation is different, so there is no sleep schedule that would fit everyone. But if you know that you have problems with going to bed early enough, you should take strict actions. Try the tips described in this article. If you don’t find any help, contact your doctor, and you will get professional help with maintaining your sleeping schedule.