laying in bed ponder the best time to sleepSleep is a fundamental and often an overlooked part of our lives. Without proper rest, we will be exhausted, and our days would be stressful which is no fun. If we sleep well, we will feel energetic and will be able to get more done in a day. But what is the best time to sleep? Doctors and healthcare practitioners are asked this question all the time. This article will dive into this topic to help you provide your patients with the right answer.

Understanding sleeping habits:

  • Firstly, you need to understand your own body’s clock and make sure that you follow mother nature’s rhythm. Our bodies are naturally tuned to maintain the order of day and night. They are called circadian rhythms. Every morning your brain causes a rise in body temperature by sending signals. A hormone called cortisol gets heated up. During night time, when low light is present melatonin levels rise.
  • In general, your ideal sleep time frame is between 10 o’clock at night to 6 o’clock in the morning. Sleeping between 8 o’clock to 12 o’clock should be adequate as it includes both the REM and the non-REM sleep.
  • Next, determining your wake time and work backward to arrive at an ideal bedtime. You may not need the same bedtime as everyone else, work out a time for you to wake up in the morning. Next would be to determine how much sleep time you might be requiring. Seven to nine hours is the recommended for most adults. Now, work backward from the wake-up time you chose. To give an example, if you must wake up at 6 AM (mainly for adults) work back and you may find that you must sleep at 10 PM.
  • Delaying sleep time after 12 AM is associated with the health risk of psychological issues. Waking up late has been linked to increased risk of depression, bulimic behavior, and seasonal affective disorders (SAD). Depressive symptoms were also seen in Japanese workers when the research was performed on them.
  • Waking up is as important as determining the best time to sleep. The chief benefit of rising early in the morning is that it helps give you a clear time to plan your morning and long-term/short-term goals. It makes you more proactive. Studies have found that early risers are more active compared to night owls who were sedentary.
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Sleep cycles and the best time to sleep:

In general, a sleep cycle is a 90-minute period of sleep. During the sleep cycle, we move through five levels of sleep and four levels of non-rapid eye movement sleep and one level of rapid eye movement sleep.

We move from light sleep of being slightly awake at level 1 to a deep and sound sleep in level 4. It is arduous to wake someone in level 4 of a sleep cycle, which is why you might feel more tired if you wake up during this stage.

The fifth level is the REM sleep which is when most dreaming occurs. It’s important to understand the various levels of sleep within our sleep cycle since we are talking about getting a good night’s rest.

Experts believe a varying sleep between light sleep and deep sleep broken up into the 90-minute period of sleep cycles. Our brain moves from a deep and non-rapid eye movement sleep to the rapid eye movement sleep during level 5. In general, the ratio of non-REM to REM sleep changes even when the 90-minute sleep is fairly-stable.

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Towards daybreak, REM takes over and early in the night is generally dominated by non-REM sleep. The main reason it matters is, the deeper and more restorative the sleep is, the more non-REM it is when compared to the lighter and dreamy REM sleep.

No matter what time you decide is the best time to sleep, the non-REM sleep will occur early at night. Let’s suppose if sleep starts at 2 AM in the morning; your body will skip through that critical, restorative non-REM sleep, even if you continue to sleep for the full recommended eight hours.


The best time to sleep depends on the age of the person, sleep cycle and whether the sleeper is a night owl or an early bird. Night-owls who sleep force themselves to go to bed early at night or morning people who stay late at night seems to go against their own physiology. The BioScan MSA , BioScan SRT, are both tools used by medical professionals to help patients get a good night’s sleep . Please contact us to learn more on how BioScan can be integrated into your practice.

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