Sleep is appetitive and crucial to the survival of an individual. The average adult human should sleep for about eight hours each day. This ensures that we wake up fully refreshed and ready to carry out our daily activities. However, nowadays we sleep less than a generation ago and, in addition, the quality of rest is significantly worse.
Sleep is fundamental to living a healthy life; during the night, the brain rests and recovers from the stress of the past day. Neurons suffer inflammation from daily stress, and they recover when we sleep.
A human cannot go for more than eight days without sleeping; this triggers lethal changes in our brains that can lead to death.
Now to answer the question, the best time to fall asleep is between 10:00 p.m — 11:00 p.m. Let’s examine a brief scientific study that helped us arrive at this conclusion.
Optimal Time for Sleep: Scientific Study
A recent European study has revealed the best, healthiest time to go to bed. This study collected data from more than 80,000 people across Europe. The required data included the hours of sleep, daily physical activity, cholesterol or blood sugar levels, if they were hypertensive, the time they go to bed and their weight relative to height.
After analyzing millions of data, the results showed that those who went to sleep between 10:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m were the ones who had the least cardiovascular or cerebral issues. Those who are at risk the most were those who slept after 00:00. Staying up at night to watch our favorite show can have consequences for the heart.
What are the Stages Of Sleep?
Sleep occurs in stages or phases. The two major sleep phases are rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep.
REM sleep is also called dreaming or D sleep because it is frequently associated with dreaming. During NREM sleep, dreaming may occur but certainly not as frequently as in REM sleep.
NREM sleep is divided into three sleep stages, N1 to N3. A brief transitional phase from wakefulness begins with stage 1 of NREM sleep.
Stage of Light Sleep, N1: It is the initial stage. In this stage, we still maintain contact with our environment. it makes up 5% of the total sleep time with normal muscle tone and respiratory rate.
Stage of Deep Sleep, N2: This period occupies more than half of our sleep, making up 50% of our sleep time. Your heart rate and breathing begin to slow down.
Deepest Non-REM Sleep (25%): This period connects the initial stages with those of more profound and restful sleep. If we do not reach this stage during the night, the sleep is not quality, and we have not rested well. It’s also difficult to awaken one from this stage.
REM Sleep Stage: It is the phase where the “rapid eye movement” stage occurs. Brain activity is frenetic, and that is when we dream.
REM sleep is characterized by:
• Loss of muscle tone
• Periodic eye movements
• Features of sexual arousal.
The first episode of REM sleep (REM latency) is usually about 70 to 100 minutes (average: 90 min) after sleep onset in normal subjects.
Delta Stage of Sleep is the Most Important for Athletes: It is called “Delta” because of the type of waves that the brain emits in these stages (slow waves). In this phase, our muscles, brain, and the entire body system are in a state of deep relaxation: growth hormone secretion peaks occur at these moments.
The secretion of some hormones by our body is regulated by circadian cycles, that is, by our biological clock. Among these hormones is growth hormone, whose production is stimulated by periods of slow-wave sleep (Delta phase) and modulated by sleep and wakefulness. It is the most crucial phase because it is the one that manages to repair the damage to the tissues produced during the day.
We have shared the optimal time for sleep and the different stages of sleep so you can understand your sleep patterns better. We hope you use all the information provided to cultivate a healthy sleep pattern and increase productivity during the day.
Thanks for reading!