I'VE RESEARCHED ABOUT SLEEP QUITE OFTEN THROUGH THE YEARS AND SEEN KNOWLEDGE GROW. IT'S AN INTERESTING TOPIC. LET'S SEE WHAT HAS SURFACED NOW! Sometimes Science Can Be Our Enemy And Sometimes It Can Be Our Friend - I like Those Better, Do You? THIS HAS TO DO WITH MORE DISCOVERIES ABOUT OUR GENES - THEY CAN BE A GOOD THING WHEN IT COMES TO POSITIVE.
If you didn't have to worry about work, social commitments or kids, what would be your ideal time to go to sleep?
You probably know that sleep is important — you can tell that just by how yuck you feel when you don't get enough of it.
But is there more to sleep than just how much you get? Is there a difference between getting the much-hyped eight hours between 11pm and 7am, and 9pm and 5am?
The short answer to the "is there an ideal time for going to sleep" is "at night-time". But that's too short for an article, and there is a little more to it than that, so we asked some sleep experts for a deeper answer.
Your Perfect Bedtime Is In Your Genes
Moira Junge is a health psychologist with the Sleep Health Foundation, an advocacy group that campaigns for all things relating to sleep, and she says the idea that there's one true time to rule them all for going to sleep is a myth.
"It's a vague science to prescribe a bedtime for people," Dr Junge says.
"If you think about the eight hours, 10pm to 6am springs to mind, but that's really just working in with conventional work hours."
Dr Junge says we tend to adjust our natural preferences for when we go to bed around our commitments the next day and whether it's "socially" acceptable to go to bed at that time.
Gorica Micic from the Adelaide Institute for Sleep Health at Flinders University says if you take away all commitments and go to sleep when you're naturally tired and ready, the timing will vary from person to person due to our inbuilt preferences.
"We have these general innate preferences to be either a morning type or evening type," Dr Micic says.
"Most of us are sort of in between … we can generally fall asleep between 9pm and midnight and awake up between 6-7am, so the ideal time is different for everybody."
Dr Micic and Dr Junge say you should go to sleep when you're feeling tired, as trying to sleep before you feel sleepy tends to just lead to frustration.
And as all shift workers know, trying to sleep during the day can be really difficult, even when we're truly tired and sleepy.
"All our internal rhythms are driven by the light/dark cycle," says Professor Siobhan Banks from the Behaviour Brain/Body Research Centre.
"We're so in tune with light, for example, that even a small sliver of light peeking through the curtains will be enough to be arousing."
Can You 'Reset' Your Body Clock To Become A Morning Person?
If you're naturally more inclined to stay up late and get up late, it can be a real struggle trying to adapt to early morning starts for work or study.
You can't change your genetics, but you can adjust your internal clock a little to make things a bit easier by using light at the right time.
"It's very simple and very modifiable, but it has to be done with a bit of guidance," Dr Junge says.
She says with guidance from an expert you can use bright light to adjust your natural wake/sleep cycle to be more in sync with what you need. Sometimes it's hard to get it right without a professional to help you.
Dr Junge says you can ask your GP for help finding a Sleep Specialist or Sleep Psychologist to get guidance on adjusting your sleep patterns.
Carol Rääbus from ABC Life