Do you wake up most mornings feeling exhausted, struggling to get out of bed to start your day? While it’s tempting to stay up late watching just one more episode on Netflix or reading a few more pages of the book you can’t put down, quality sleep is essential to your overall health and well-being. You may be scratching your head, wondering “How much sleep do I need?” Surely I can get by on just a few hours of rest tonight and catch up on my Zzzs this weekend. Wrong! Keep reading to learn the right amount of sleep you need to wake up feeling well-rested and how you can calculate your sleep and wake time.
It’s pretty common knowledge that you should be getting seven or more hours of sleep per night. But it can be hard to figure out when to actually go to bed to make sure you’re getting enough sleep. Most healthy adults are able to fall asleep within 10 to 20 minutes of laying down for the evening; however, there are many factors that can influence this, including exposure to blue light from your phone or TV right before bed. If you can’t fall asleep easily in the evening, try turning off any and all screens at least two to three hours before bedtime for better rest.
In addition to getting the right amount of sleep, it’s also important to get the best quality sleep. If you struggle with getting a good night’s rest, you are not alone. More than 60 million Americans suffer from poor sleep quality.
In order to be as well-rested as possible, it’s important to understand the stages of sleep your body and brain go through every night. First is NREM sleep, or non-rapid eye movement sleep, which takes place in three stages: stage N1, N2, and N3. The last stage is REM sleep, or rapid eye movement sleep.
The NREM stages are as follows:
N1: The stage between being awake and falling asleep.
N2: This is the stage when your breathing and heartbeat slow down, your body temperature drops, and you begin to become unaware of your surroundings.
N3: This stage is when the deepest and most restorative sleep happens. Your pulse and breathing slow down even more during this stage as your body relaxes.
So… how do you calculate when you should go to bed based on the time your alarm sounds the next morning?
In order to get through those previously mentioned sleep cycles four to six times per night, you can use a sleep calculator. Simply provide your age and your desired sleep or wake time to determine what time to go to bed or wake up in the morning. Most phones have a similar feature to help you in the Clock/Alarm application.
To help you drift off soundly at night, here are five natural and healthy tips to get more Zzzs:
Create a bedtime routine — it’s just as important as a morning routine!
Go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day (even on weekends) — doing so supports your body’s circadian rhythm, or it’s natural sleep-wake cycle.
Drink something warm and calming, like tea, and avoid alcohol in the evenings — valerian root can ease your anxiety and is also used as a sleep aid, so try it in your nightly cup of tea.
Try a magnesium supplement — it can potentially reduce stress and help you sleep longer.
Keep your bedroom cool and dark — the best temperature for sleep is between 60 and 67 degrees F.
About the author
Jessica is a recent graduate from the Ohio State University, now based in New York. Jessica loves to read, is passionate about fitness and nutrition, and is always looking for new restaurants with the best pasta dishes. On the weekends, you can find her playing with her dog Wilson, at the beach with a good book, or doing pilates.