When we were little, our parents made us adhere to a strict
bedtime to ensure we got enough sleep each night. But as we grew older, most of
us reveled in our new-found adult freedoms and ditched the bedtime, opting to
head to bed whenever we wanted.
However, studies are showing that bedtimes aren’t just
important for little kids—they’re also really important for adults, too.
Setting a daily bedtime and following a regular sleep
routine can provide numerous benefits, including getting enough rest to
think properly the next day, de-stressing and minimizing your risk of health
Here are five major reasons you should be adhering to a
bedtime every night.
Ensure you get enough sleep
Parents know that their kids can get cranky if they don’t
get their requisite 8-10 hours of sleep a night, but they often forget that
sleep deprivation affects their moods, too. Adults should be getting at least 7
hours of sleep each night, but the optimal amount is between 8-9 hours.
While you might be able to push through a day or two without
enough sleep, over time, sleep deprivation can take a major toll on your stress
happiness, mental health and physical condition. Sleep is when your body heals
inside and out, and if you’re not maintaining a consistent sleep schedule, you
might not be in as good of health as you think.
Following a nightly bedtime will make sure that you’re going
to bed at a reasonable hour that allows for the proper number of sleeping hours
Maintains circadian rhythms
Everyone has a circadian rhythm—an internal body clock that
regulates many aspects of your body, including sleep and wakefulness,
metabolism, hunger and more. This rhythm is a little different for everyone and
can change over time. However, you want to try to follow it as much as possible
in order to feel the best throughout the day and sleep well at night.
Your circadian rhythm will give your body natural cues as to
when you should sleep and wake each day. If you follow those cues regularly,
your rhythms will stay consistent. But, if you work against them, your schedule
can disrupt them and cause numerous problems including weight gain and difficulty
Fall asleep faster
If you’re constantly changing the times at which you go to
sleep and wake up, you might begin to develop insomnia or have a hard time
falling asleep at night. This also might happen if you’re taking naps during
the day. The inability to fall asleep can be frustrating and is largely caused
by a disruption of your circadian rhythms.
By following a regular bedtime, your body will know when
it’s time to go to bed and wake up, and you’ll be tired enough to fall fast
asleep right away when your bedtime rolls around.
Minimize risk of chronic health problems
Studies show that people who don’t sleep enough or don’t
sleep well at night may be at a higher risk for chronic health problems
including obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease. On the
other hand, people who practice sleep regularity may experience health
benefits, both physical and mental.
Look forward to bedtime
Going to bed shouldn’t be a stressful experience. If you
follow a regular bedtime, you can develop a great bedtime routine that
incorporates methods of stress relief, relaxation, introspection and enjoyment.
When this becomes a habit, you may start to feel less stressed and much happier.
One hour before your bedtime, start to unwind by brewing a
cup of non-caffeinated tea, taking a relaxing bath or practicing a short yoga
session. Spend some time journaling, reading a book or making a to-do list for
the next day. By unplugging, thinking about your day and slowing down, you’ll
create a nightly ritual that gives you time for yourself and leaves you prepped
and refreshed in the morning.
Deviating from a sleep schedule is okay occasionally
A lot of people attempt to stick to an extremely strict
bedtime and thus deprive themselves of the occasional late-night celebration or
other fun activities. However, it’s important to remember that minor deviations
from the schedule won’t suddenly put you at severe risk for health issues.
For the most part, you will be just fine to stay up late
once in a while and adjust your sleep schedule back and forth to accommodate
this. What you really want to watch out for is chronic sleep disruption in
which you go to bed at drastically different times every night. Long-term sleep
disruptions like this are what can affect your memory, mood and cognitive
function and put you at risk for chronic health problems.
For the best night’s sleep every night, set a bedtime that
works for your schedule and stick to it. In as little as a week, you’ll
probably start to notice a difference in your mood, health and concentration.