Back to Basics: Recommit to Bedtime
November 16, 2022
Feel like you never get quite enough sleep? If you feel fatigued during the day regularly, know that you’re not alone. According to The National Sleep Foundation, the average adult feels sleepy three days a week. Clearly, there is room for improvement!

However, it turns out, if you’re like most people (even busy people!) you probably are getting enough total hours of sleep. The pestering fatigue may seem paradoxical given that even women working six-figure jobs who have children at home get an average of 7.7 hours of sleep per day. But, you might not be getting all the value from those head-to-pillow hours you could.

The trouble is hiding behind the averages. When sleep is inconsistent or disorderly – for example, some really short nights and some much longer – it can wreak havoc on your energy levels and your schedule. Since most adults don’t have the flexibility to simply adjust their wake-up time based on what time they collapse into bed, the solution is a bedtime.

It sounds simple, but the solution to your fatigue woes could be one you thought you left in childhood: commitment to a consistent bedtime.

First, ask yourself how many hours of sleep you need per night. If you’re unsure, start somewhere between seven and nine hours. Then, decide what time your feet need to hit the floor in the morning. This piece is simple. Another step might be the key to your success: set another alarm for thirty minutes before you need to be in bed. Use this time to develop a calming routine; if your “sleep clock” starts at the same time you crawl into bed, you’re likely to still operate at a deficit since our minds and bodies require time to wind down.

Not convinced this simple fix could really make a difference?

Laura Vanderkam, author of Tranquility by Tuesday, conducted a study of 150 adults observing a regular bedtime for nine weeks. At the beginning of the nine weeks and at the end, she asked participants whether they were getting enough sleep to feel well-rested. Those who said they were rose by 25% over the course of the study. Participants were also asked if they had “enough energy to handle their responsibilities” and again, affirmative responses rose, this time by 13%.

Staying up late scrolling on our phones, or watching another episode of television has a certain appeal, and it’s easy to fall into the trap of accruing “sleep debt,” but remember how swiftly (and often painfully) that debt comes due. Fatigue doesn’t have to be a constant companion; the discipline we exercise in work, fitness, and hobbies could pay dividends if we apply it to sleep.



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