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Bruce’s Bedtime Tip – Knowing When To Sleep Is Better Than Getting Too Much Sleep

Sleeping Dog
Matt Cardy/Getty Images

Sleep is very important to those of use that see the small numbers on the clock when it’s dark outside. My early morning lifestyle has meant learning how to deal with sleep deprivation, total exhaustion and how to sleep efficiently. Through my years of waking up to do the  morning show I have found that it’s not always about the amount of sleep you get, it’s more about when you have to wake up.

Let me clarify that last statement. We’ve been told since we were kids that we need 8 hours of sleep each night. I disagree. I think a more accurate statement would be we need several complete sleep cycles of rest each day.

What is a sleep cycle? In terms of time it’s about 90 minutes. In terms of biology it’s a lot more. When we sleep our body goes through several stages of sleep. If we are awakened or aroused during the deepest period of sleep that is when we tend to feel like crap. However, if we are awakened during the lightest moments of the sleep cycle we will actually feel refreshed and energized.

How do you calculate when you go to sleep based on when you need to wake up? If you clicked that link you will find a program to do the math for you. If you like to do math in your head simply take your wake up time and start counting backwards in 90 minute intervals. If you wanted to wake up at 5:30am here is how you determine a better bedtime for waking up refreshed.

Your bedtimes for waking up at 5:30am would be, 4am, 2:30am, 1am, 11:30pm,10pm, 8:30pm or 7pm. Granted the more sleep cycles you can work into your nightly rest the better for your body but since most of us are pretty busy it’s hard to work in more than 4 sleep cycles for most people.

What about naps? If you can nap for 90 minutes go for it! Otherwise your naps don’t need to be any longer than 20 minutes. Once you get to sleep you want to make sure that you can wake up before your body hits that deep sleep otherwise you will wake up feeling worse than when you closed your eyes.

Just to be clear, I am not a doctor or even healthy. These are just some observations I have made and have what I believe to be valid confirmation on. Sleep is very important. If you are getting enough rest talk to a trained professional and get their advice. If you do try mine, I would love to know how it works out for you.

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