How to Get the Best Sleep at Night by Following Your Natural Circadian Rhythms
To get the best sleep at night you need to go to bed at the right time for your natural circadian rhythms.
But with Television, smartphones, and computer screens, many of us have trouble winding down at night.
Often we don’t even know what our natural bedtime is. We are so used to overriding our natural rhythms with too much stimulus.
How Much Sleep Do We Need?
Doctors say most people need seven to nine hours of sleep per night to function optimally.
If you don’t get enough sleep it’s difficult to make up for it on the weekends. And you can’t “save up” your sleep hours and then stay up late several nights in a row.
The best way to get optimal sleep is to have a regular bedtime and “schedule in” at least 7 hours of sleep every night.
When is the Optimal Time to Go to Sleep?
Sleep specialists suggest that optimal sleep is gained when you get to sleep a few hours before midnight. If you’re a night owl you might find that suggestion impossible to follow!
Most of your deep restful sleep happens in the early part of the night. We alternate between deep sleep and dreaming states (REM sleep) at night. As it gets closer to morning, you spend more and more time in REM sleep and less time in deep restful sleep.
Are You a True Night Owl or an Early Bird in Disguise?
Are you one of those people who likes to stay up late but you still have to get up early the next morning? Do you fall behind on your sleep?
Do you have to drink several cups of coffee to get going in the morning? You might need to retrain yourself to get to bed earlier. Or if possible, sleep in later and get to work later!
If you’re a night owl who wants to be able to get up earlier a quality pillow can make all the difference. Try one of our natural pillows along with new sleep habits to find out what your natural sleep rhythms are.
You might be surprised to find out you’re not really a night owl after all. Once you start sleeping in a comfortable position, with one of our all-natural buckwheat pillows you might become an early bird.
Night Owls and Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome
Individual 24-hour circadian rhythms can run a bit longer than 24 hours and cause people to want to stay awake later. This is known as delayed sleep phase syndrome
If you are a true night owl you may have a biological reason for wanting to stay up later than other people.
Night owls may not be getting as much deep sleep as people who go to sleep earlier. They still have to conform to a job that begins earlier than is natural for them.
No matter what time you go to sleep you need a pillow that supports your neck alignment throughout the night.
Are You a False Night Owl?
So how do you know if you’re a natural night owl?
It could be that you developed a pattern of going to bed late through bad habits.
False night owls may be staying awake late because of faulty bedtime rituals. You may be getting too much blue light in the evenings from screens. Or maybe you’re in the habit of reading late into the night.
When you sleep well with your neck in perfect alignment you wake up refreshed. A firm natural buckwheat-bamboo pillow can help.
Do Larks Sleep Better Than Night Owls?
Some people have Circadian rhythms that are slightly shorter than 24 hours. Shorter Circadian rhythms can cause a person to want to get up early and go to bed earlier. These folks are known as “larks”.
It used to be thought that early risers were healthier, more virtuous, and more productive than night owls. But recent studies don’t support this claim.
Kids are natural larks. They need more sleep for developing brains. Kids usually get to bed early and wake up early.
Teens have hormonal changes that often turn them into night owls briefly. If you have a teen who is impossible to get up in the morning, it might not be their fault.
Teens who are night owls often return to more regular sleep patterns as they get older and their biology adjusts to adulthood.
If your teenager is grumpy in the morning he or she might need a better pillow.
If your pillow is not supporting your neck properly you may wake up too often during the night. Then you feel tired in the morning. A firm pillow that supports your spinal alignment can help even the grumpiest teenager sleep better.
Second Wind or Evening Wake Maintenance Zone
When you force yourself to stay up working on a project or watching TV late into the night your body thinks there is an emergency, so you get a “second wind”. Your circadian rhythms cycles around to evening wake maintenance zone.
When you push yourself to stay up late you start a vicious cycle. You may need stimulants to get through the day.
How to Get to Bed Early So You Can Sleep Better
There is a method to getting to bed earlier and sleeping better so you need fewer stimulants during the day. Bedtime rituals are important. Try to do quiet things to wind down for the evening:
- Get outside for natural light during the day for melatonin production
- Try blue-blocking glasses and apps after sunset
- Try turning off screens at least half an hour before bedtime
- Listen to soothing music
- Read a calming book
- Take a soothing bath
- Self-massage with massage rolls or balls
Set Your Room up for Successful Sleep
- Try to get a reasonable level of darkness in your bedroom
- A cooler temperature in the bedroom helps some people sleep better
- Earplugs and eye coverings might be in order
- A white noise machine may be helpful
- An air filter can help you rest easier
Set a regular bedtime and try to get up at the same time in the morning even on weekends. It will be difficult at first. But you can start gradually. Move the time back by half an hour at a time.
Eating late in the evening can also cause the body to be too stimulated to go to sleep early. Try to eat early in the evening so you don’t force your body into that “second-wind” state.
You don’t want to be too wound-up to go to sleep.
Get the Best Pillow for Your Sleep Position
And last but not least, choose the right pillow for your sleep style. Back sleepers, stomach sleepers, and side sleepers will love our adjustable pillows.
Our natural latex pillows, buckwheat pillows, and millet pillows support your spine better than traditional pillows. With our PineTales handmade pillows, you stay asleep longer and get the deep sleep you need whether you are a night owl or an early bird.