Earlier Bedtime Can Greatly Improve Your Performance, According To Study
By Justin Cowart
For as long as I can remember, I have been a “night owl,” meaning that I enjoy staying up late at night, which often leads to me sleeping in or being overly tired the next day.
I once heard a saying that said, “for every hour of sleep you get before midnight, it counts as two hours after midnight.” Now I don’t know how accurate that is, but there are some interesting studies arising that are showing the importance of getting enough sleep and getting to bed early.
It can be easy to stay up late, working or playing long into the night, but we are creatures of the earth and have rhythms and cycles within us that are connected to daylight hours. Vitamin D is a very important part of your health and the majority of this important vitamin comes from the sun. If you are sleeping during important sunlight hours, then you are missing out on this important part of your nutrition.
How Much Sleep Do You Need Per Night?
Sudhansu Chokroverty, MD says,
“The amount of sleep needed to function the next day varies from individual to individual and is determined genetically and hereditarily.”
Did you know that the average adult typically requires between 7.5 to 8 hours of good sleep per night? Chokroverty states that,
“But many people can function with 6 hours’ sleep and there also some who need 9 hours or more.”
If you don’t sleep long enough, then you miss out on important sleep cycles:
You can place sleep into two broad categories: REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep when you are dreaming and non-REM sleep. Non-REM sleep tends to move through a few stages of progressively deeper stages:
- Stage I: A light doze, sleep that isn’t very restorative.
- Stage II: A middle type sleep that tends to be restorative.
- Stage III: A slow-wave deep sleep, which is the most restorative of all the stages.
Simpson says that,
“If you look at the 1960s and 1970s, people reported average sleep times of 8-8.5 hours a night. Today, it’s much more likely to be 7-7.5 hours or less.”
We all can chalk it up to the fast pace of our modern lifestyles.
Simpson also goes on to say,
“We lead these frantic lives and we have busy jobs and kids and soccer practice. Sleep is what tends to get left out, but that has a lot of ramifications for our overall health.”
Students Get Better Grades When They Go To Bed Early
I now understand the wisdom behind my parents making me go to bed early as a child. A recent study found that high school students who tend to get to bed by 10-11 p.m. on the weekdays seem to get better grades.
The researchers demonstrated with results from a new study how they found that there is actually a strong relationship between different sleep problems and poor academic performances, typically among adolescents.
Mari Hysing, first author and psychology specialist, says,
“Our findings suggest that going to bed earlier and encouraging similar bed and sleeping times during the week, are important for academic performance.”
School performance was measured by grade point average (GPA) and also obtained from the official administrative registries for the duration of this study. The results of this study were able to show that the adolescents who were aged 16-19 years old, who went to bed between the hours of 10-11 p.m. tended to have the best grades on average.
Even when the children went to bed much later during their days off and during the weekends, they were also associated with lower-than-average GPAs.
The authors of this new study writes,
“Academic performance is an important marker for future work affiliation and health. Future studies should investigate further how the association between sleep and school impacts upon future educational status and work affiliation.”
Foods That Can Help With Sleep
If you find that you are having a hard time falling asleep and adjusting to your earlier schedule, check out this list we made of 5 foods that will help you fall asleep better at night. Let us know what you have found that helps you sleep easier and how going to bed early improves your day to day life.
What are your thoughts about the findings of this study? We would love to hear about them in the comments below!
Justin Cowart is a writer and researcher that loves to learn more about health, life, consciousness and making the world a better place. He loves music, traveling, meditation, video games and spending time with family and friends. He believes in baby steps and lifestyle changes in order to live a full life. In 2014, he lost around 40lbs from baby steps and emotional detoxing.
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