Sleep is essential for the body's function. It is crucial for overall health and well-being because it allows the body to rest, repair, and recharge, promoting cognitive function, emotional stability, and physical health. Even though everybody knows that sleeping earlier is better, getting enough sleep can be challenging for people with busy lifestyles who are trying to fit everything into one day. So, let’s explore what actual benefits you get if you go to sleep earlier.
There are many benefits to going to sleep earlier, including mental and physical benefits.
The amount of sleep you get is more important than the time you go to sleep.
Creating a bedtime routine and healthy sleep habits can make it easier to go to sleep earlier and wake up earlier.
Benefits of going to sleep earlier
If you are a night owl and need to get to work or school in the morning, waking up may be a struggle. When we don’t sleep enough at night, our bodies can manifest negative symptoms. People who have later bedtime schedules have been shown to have negative side effects including anxiety and depression.
You can get many benefits if you go to sleep earlier and get more sleep at night, including:
- Improved memory. A healthy sleep schedule contributes to the development and fortification of memory. It helps to strengthen those memories of what you learned during the day. Thus, going to bed earlier and getting enough sleep is very beneficial for students.
- Better heart health. Poor sleep can lead to high blood pressure and coronary artery disease, causing you to be at higher risk for heart attacks and heart disease.
- Sleep releases hormones and heals the body. Without enough sleep, the body may hold stress hormones, leading to weight gain. If you are trying to lose weight, your sleep patterns can help you achieve your goals.
- Avoiding sleep debt. If you go to sleep earlier, it will be much easier to avoid sleep debt and wake up early. Sleep debt occurs when you are not getting your full amount of sleep at night, causing you to be tired.
- Improved mental health. Sleeping earlier and waking early can improve your mental health. People who do not sleep enough at night are at a higher risk of developing anxiety and depression.
- Improved productivity. If you wake up early, going to bed earlier can help improve your performance in the morning when dealing with physical and mental tasks. Compared to people who go to bed late, they will have better performance with tasks during the evening.
Tips on how to go to bed earlier
Going to bed early on your first night may be challenging if you stay up late. You can try several things to make going to bed earlier easier for you. Some of these tips may include:
- Greet the morning light. Waking up in the morning and going outside when the sun is up helps to balance and restore your circadian rhythm, promoting wakefulness.
- Make the change gradual. Try to go to bed 20 to 30 minutes earlier each night until you get to your desired sleep time. This will give your body time to adjust to the changes.
- Avoid artificial lights in the evening. Having bright lights in the house before sleep can trick your brain into thinking it is still daytime. Even using your cell phone or watching television before sleep can trigger your brain to stay active.
- Exercise when you wake up. Exercising when you wake up in the morning can help you wake up and feel more energized throughout your day. Exercising later at night can lead to a harder time falling asleep earlier.
- Create a healthy sleep hygiene routine. This includes limiting your daily amount of caffeine, staying consistent with your sleep and wake schedule, and not eating late at night before bed.
The best time for you to go to sleep
The ideal time to go to bed may differ depending on your needs and when you have to wake up. A person should aim for a minimum of 7 hours and a maximum of 9 hours of sleep each night. Your body’s circadian rhythm is like a biological clock that tells you when to be sleepy and when to wake up. It matters more when you go to bed and how much quality sleep you get.
This is how much sleep each age group should get, according to the CDC:
|Age||Recommended hours of sleep|
|School-age children||9–12 hours|
|Adults 65 +||7–8 hours|
To determine when is the best time to go to bed, try counting the minutes until you wake up. You should also factor in how long it usually takes you to fall asleep. Do you have a routine you follow before sleeping, like stretching, brushing your teeth, and inspecting all locked doors? Consider that all and add that to the hours you need to sleep.
If you have to wake up at 6 a.m. for work, you want 7 hours of sleep. Then you should be asleep by 11 p.m. If your bedtime routine takes an hour, you should begin it by 10 p.m. and aim to be in bed by 11 p.m., so that you can unwind, turn off the lights, and store your phone before falling asleep.
You get a lot of benefits if you go to sleep earlier, but the most important thing is getting enough quality sleep while you are sleeping. An average adult should get around 7–9 hours of sleep, and younger people even more. Healthy sleep hygiene can help ensure you get enough sleep at night.
What's the earliest you should go to bed?
The earliest you should go to bed depends on when you need to wake up. Sleeping when the sun is fully down is best to promote a healthy circadian rhythm.
If I go to sleep earlier, will I wake up earlier?
Possibly. Your circadian rhythm will determine your waking time. You may feel more refreshed and alert by going to sleep earlier.
Can I go to bed early if I am tired?
Yes, if you are tired, your body tells you it is time to go to sleep because it needs the rest. However, if you are consistently exhausted, you should consult your doctor. Otherwise, you should pay attention to your body's signals.
Are there side effects of going to sleep early?
Going to bed earlier has no known negative side effects. Nonetheless, some studies have indicated negative consequences for those who go to bed later.
- National Institute of Health. Sleep on it.
- Sports Medicine Open. The effects of time of day and chronotype on cognitive and physical performance in healthy volunteers.
- Chronobiology International. Evening types are prone to depression.
- Sleep Medicine. Resetting the late timing of ‘night owls’ positively impacts mental health and performance.
- Biomolecules. Biological Rhythm and Chronotype: New Perspectives in Health.
Show all references
- Nature and Science of Sleep. Sleeping hours: what is the ideal number and how does age impact this?
- Sleep and Biological Rhythms. Intervention study using a leaflet entitled ‘three benefits of “go to bed early! get up early! and intake nutritionally rich breakfast!” a message for athletes’ to improve the soccer performance of university soccer team.