What is your Ideal Bedtime?

What is your ideal bedtime?  Going to bed at your ideal bedtime increases the chance that you will get the right quality and quantity of sleep that you need.

In order to figure out the ideal bedtime we will work backwards from your wakeup time.  Most of us have an external commitment, for example getting ready for work or school or children to care for, which dictates our wake up time.  

Stages of Sleep

Stage 1-Introduction into Sleep

At this stage your muscles are beginning to relax and your brain activity is slowing down.   You can be easily awoken during this stage.  Your head may be nodding or you may suddenly jump awake for no reason, which is called a myclonic jerk.
Stage 2-Beginning of Sleep

You are in a light dreamless sleep.   Your muscles and brain activity is slowing down further to prepare for dreams that are coming.   You have been sleeping for 15-30 minutes.

Stage 3 and 4- Slow Wave Sleep

This is the stage when your body gets rest, your brain and muscle activity decrease significantly.  You are in a deep sleep.

REM-Rapid Eye Movement

During this stage of sleep is when dreaming occurs.  Your brain is very active, with the exception of the heart and lungs, the muscles of the body are paralyzed.  

Sleep Calculator

The average sleep cycle is 90 minutes long.

A typical night sleep should be 5 full sleep cycles.

90 minutes x 5 sleep cycles =450 minutes or 7.5 hours.

In order to figure out what time you should go to bed at, subtract 7.5 hours from your wake up time.

Example:  If you need to wake up at 5am to get ready for the day, subtract 7.5 hours from 5am, which would be 9:30pm.  You need to have lights out, in bed and ready to sleep at 9:30pm.