Sleep affects our lives in so many ways that science is just now beginning to understand how important sleep is.
While we all know that sleep is critical to being able to function throughout the day, sleep is also pivotal to our overall physical and mental wellbeing.
There are four stages of sleep plus REM sleep, which is the deepest sleep that a body can achieve..
REM sleep is the part of the sleeping process that heals the body and allows for restoration..
Many things impact the quality and amount of sleep someone gets. Smoking, alcohol use, medications and stress are just a few things that can rob someone of a good night’s sleep.
In order to reach REM sleep, and then get enough REM sleep to make sure the body is able to stay in REM long enough to benefit the physical and mental wellbeing it is paramount that the body gets enough sleep.
The number way to do this?
Here are 14 amazing benefits of sleeping early, according to science.
1. Sleeping Early Can Make You Feel Less Tired
This might seem like one of those “duh” statements and that it should go without saying, but going to sleep early will make you less tired the next day. (3)
But being tired is way more important than you might realize.
Not getting enough sleep is not only frustrating, but it is dangerous.
Sleep deprivation can be as simple as reduction in hand-eye coordination to as serious as having the reflexes and decision making skills of someone who is legally drunk.
Not getting enough sleep causes hundreds of thousands of car accidents each year with approximately 1500 deaths.
Since not many of us are able to decide that we need a few more hours of sleep in the morning and delay going into work for a few hours, it is easier to guarantee getting more sleep by going to sleep early. (1)
Take away: Sleeping early will help ensure you get enough sleep so that you are safe.
2. Sleeping Early Can Improve Your Performance At Work
Many of us lose sleep because of work. It can be a vicious cycle.
But getting the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep per night can make the difference between a promotion and being stuck in the same position year after year.
First, if you are well rested, you won't need to visit the coffee maker nearly as much in order to be only moderately productive.
This will leave you more time in your day to complete all of the tasks that are required of you.
The more time you can spend doing your daily tasks, the more productive you can be. The more productive you are will get you noticed, and hopefully in a good way.
Plus, if you are able to manage your workload, you might be less stressed and therefore be able to sleep better at night.
Second, a person who is not sleepy will be able to focus better, will not be as distracted, make fewer errors, will have improved memory, be able to learn and retain more and make better decisions.
Studies show that each year, corporations lose $6.2 billion in productivity.
To put it another way, businesses are paying employees an extra $6.2 billion to not be contribute to the company. (4)
Third, if you are not sleep deprived, your mood will be better. This will improve your work relationships and over contribute to office morale.
Take away: Do you want a promotion? Try getting more sleep.
3. Sleeping Early Can Improve Your Mood
Sleep is directly related to mood in a few different ways.
Think back to the last time you did not get enough sleep.
Whether it was because your were up with a crying baby, doing last minute homework or simply catching up on your internet click bait, the next day you were probably not a happy person.
You were probably irritable, short tempered, possibly more sad, and extra prone to stress.
And to be honest, you probably passed your negativity on to those around you.
The correlation between sleep deprivation and mood disorders is well documented.
In one study, those who did not sleep as many hours as suggested, were 20 times more likely to develop anxiety or panic attacks.
And 15-20% of those diagnosed with insomnia will become depressed.
By doing everything you can to be well rested, you are helping yourself reduce the chances of developing depression or anxiety in the long run.
But you are also helping yourself on the short term. If you are well rested, you will feel better, be more positive, and be more able to handle changes or stressors in your day. (5)
Take away: Make sleep your happy place so that you can be happy during the day.
4. Sleeping Early Can Help You Lose Weight
Sleep is credited as being THE most important part of losing weight, even more important than diet and exercise.
The statistics for those who are considered sleep deprived (those getting less than seven hours of sleep per night) and those considered obese are the same: 35% of the population is considered obese and 35% of the population is sleep deprived.
But getting enough sleep can be the missing link to your weightloss journey.
First, the obvious.
If you are tired, you will not want to exercise or put the extra effort into meal planning.
Diet and exercise are the next most important elements in weight loss, so without sleep, the entire system falters.
Sleep also depletes muscle. Muscle is key to weight loss because it helps you burn calories even when you are not working out.
But sleep doesn't just impact your drive and desire and energy level.
Not sleeping actually alters the composition of the fat cells in the body.
While you may be able to recover from a few days of sleep deprivation, the hormones involved with fat cells are not able to recover.
In response to sleep deprivation, the hormones disrupt the insulin process.
When you think “fat cells” you probably want to blame them for any extra weight that you carry on your body.
Which is true. But, when the body is functioning properly, the fat cells are actually removing fat from your body via the bloodstream.
However, after just a few days of poor sleep, the fat cells take the fat to places that they should not, like the liver.
The misplaced fat is what causes the extra weight.
This is particularly dangerous because fat being somewhere that it should not could lead to other diseases.
Other hormones involved in weight loss are leptin and ghrelin.
These hormones are responsible for how full you feel or how often you want to eat.
Many weight loss plans take controlling these hormones into account. But no matter what you do to manage the hormones, it is a futile effort if you are not getting enough sleep.
Not getting more than six hours of sleep causes an automatic response in the brain telling the body to eat more.
This communication involves stimulating and blocking leptin and ghrelin hormones.
The stress hormone, cortisol, is also increased during sleep deprivation.
Cortisol makes your body crave food even if it isn’t hungry, or has just eaten.
Not only that, but cortisol makes the body especially prone to wanting to eat foods that are bad for you.
And if that isn’t enough, it makes the brain decide that it needs large portions of the food that are bad for it.
And because you are tired, you are unable to fight these biological saboteurs of your diet. (6)
Sleeping early can help ensure that you get enough sleep so your body works with you, instead of against you when you are trying to lose weight.
Take away: All of the food planning and physical activity in the world will make weight loss futile if you don’t get enough sleep.
5. Sleeping Early Can Make Driving Safer
70% of American adults drive to work.
Nearly two thirds of adult drivers have admitted to driving while drowsy. While this may not seem like a huge issue, it is.
Approximately 11 million drivers have had an accident, or almost had an accident, while they were driving while they were tired.
Drivers who reported that they got only 5 hours of sleep, as opposed to the 8 hours that is recommended, were five times more likely to crash their cars.
These accidents have caused over 1,500 deaths and approximately 71,000 injuries.
To assign a monetary value to this, sleep deprivation is costing $2.5 billion per year.
Driving while tired or even just drowsy is not conducive to driving for a few reasons.
First, not having enough sleep makes you much more distracted and not as able to recover from these distractions.
Not enough sleep can also reduce the reaction time and the ability to problem solve.
An Australian study shows that going without sleep for 24 hours will impair a human to the equivalent of a 0.10 blood alcohol level.
Since sleep is responsible for many mental health factors, sleep deprivation is directly correlated with drivers being more anxious, impatient, angry, or stressed.
None of these are helpful if you are trying to drive and drive safely.
By going to sleep early, you can help control how much sleep you get to ensure that you get more sleep rather than less, which keeps everyone on the roads a little bit safer. (7)
Take away: Be a better driver by getting more sleep.
6. Sleeping Early Can Make You Look Better
Not getting enough sleep has a terrible impact on you in ways that you cannot readily see.
However, it also changes your outward appearance as well.
Not getting enough sleep, can cause wrinkles, dark and puffy eyes, complexion issues and can even cause you to lose your hair.
When you sleep, your body takes that time to rejuvenate and repair anything that might need reparation.
The skin is one area that repairs itself while you sleep.
Skin repairs itself by making collagen at night. (8)
Collagen is a protein that our body creates and it is what keeps skin and many other body parts healthy.
A lack of collagen can cause wrinkles as well as bone and joint issues.
Having a healthy amount of collagen in the skin even makes facial products work better. (9)
Puffy eyes, or dark circles under eyes is one of the most common, tell tale signs that someone did not get enough sleep.
“Puffy eye” is caused by inflammation which is a very common result if you are sleep deprived.
Dark circles happen because of poor blood circulation. The more tired you are, the less efficiently your body works.
Because the skin under the eyes are very thin, the lack of circulation can be seen far more easily.
Dark circles can be genetic or happen for other reasons, but not sleep enough makes this condition stand out.
Poor circulation is also the cause for hair loss and breakage.
While hair does not have a blood supply in itself, the hair follicle does.
Hair follicles, where the hair originates out of your body, is what gives your hair its nutrients to grow and be strong.
Just like the rest of your body, if you do not provide it with nourishment, the hair will become weak or stop growing.
And because sleep is impactful on your mental health, going without sleep can cause stress which causes hair to fall out.
WebMD suggests that even increasing the amount of sleep you get by 1 hour can begin improving your physical appearance within just a few days. (8)
Take away: Beauty sleep is real and should be taken seriously.
7. Sleeping Early Can Help Improve Your Memory
Memory is broken into two categories: short term and long term memory.
Short term memory is where you get the information to function throughout the day.
Long term memory stores the learned things and the memories from the past. (10)
During sleep, your body is at rest, and not doing much of anything except recuperating and recovering.
However, your brain is very active.
One of the many things that the brain does while your body is resting is it learns.
In fact, studies show that the best way for you to solidify new knowledge is to sleep on it.
While you sleep, your brain processes the events of the day.
If you learned something new, then your brain will repeat it throughout the night.
Practice makes perfect and the more your brain works through the information, the better it will be retained.
The more sleep you get, the longer your brains has to practice its new skill. (11)
Being tired while trying to learn something is also counterproductive.
When you are tired, you are not as able to focus which means you are not able to commit key points to memory to be processed during sleep.
Both of these steps are critical to not only committing skills or information to memory, but it is imperative for recalling the information when you need it. (12)
By getting enough sleep, even just an hour or so more, your memory can improve.
Take away: Keep your memory sharp by getting more sleep.
8. Sleeping Early Can Boost Your Immune System
Studies have shown that being well rested can decrease the chances of disease, illness and even death.
The immune system, overall, is responsible for keeping the body healthy.
The immune system is made up of many components and each component is responsible for something different.
If the immune system senses that something is wrong, it does what it can to destroy the threat. (13)
During sleep, your body releases proteins called “cytokines”.
The cytokines are released from your immune system.
Cytokines are responsible for fighting foreign bodies like viruses.
Disruptions in sleep, or not getting enough sleep, reduces the amount of cytokines in your body.
If there are not enough cytokines to fight the foreign body, your body will be susceptible to the illness and less likely to recover as quickly as someone who was well rested. (14)
Take away: An apple, and the right amount of sleep, a day keeps the doctor away.
9. Sleeping Early Can Reduce Inflammation
Inflammation is the reaction that your body has to foreign bodies.
A foreign body can be something like a thorn in your finger to a virus inside your body.
To get rid of this issue, the body responds by sending blood to the area. White blood cells are in the blood and they are what physically fight off the intruder.
However, this usually results in inflammation.
In the case of arthritis, the inflammation is actually trying to heal already healthy tissue which can cause damage and can be very painful. (15)
Basically, when you sleep, your body is able to restore itself and can more effectively fight any foreign bodies.
The white blood cells are able to do their job, then they go away. Effectively getting rid of inflammation.
Take away: Get your zzz’s to help your body reduce the inflammation.
10. Sleeping Early Can Reduce the Chance of Heart Disease
Because sleeping more can reduce inflammation, it also reduces the chances of heart disease.
Since the heart is in fact part of the body, it can be susceptible to inflammation.
Typically heart inflammation is caused by oxidized cholesterol, sugars and leptin.
However, the arteries in the heart are just as likely to fall victim.
When the immune system sends white blood cells to heal damage or get rid of an intruder, the red blood cells carry the white bloods cells to their destination.
Since there are so fewer white blood cells than red, it takes far more red blood cells to get the amount of white blood cells needed.
This means that the blood becomes thicker.
Thicker blood puts more stress on the arteries of the heart which can cause blockages and ultimately, heart disease. (18)
Getting more sleep can also reduce stress. Less stress means less strain on the heart.
Take away: Sleep does a heart good.
11. Sleeping Early Can Reduce Stress
Stress can both impact sleep and be impacted by sleep.
Anyone who has been worried about anything knows that this worry can keep you from falling asleep or staying asleep.
On the flip side, not getting enough sleep can cause you to be more stressed.
The physical effects of not getting sleep and feeling stressed are one thing.
But the daily repercussions on your heart from not getting enough sleep can be just as bad.
Poor sleep and not enough sleep can cause your performance at work or school to falter.
Your learning, retention, motivation, productivity and many other factors of being successful in the workplace or at school are reduced significantly.
If you have pressure from your boss or your teachers or parents or loved ones, this can cause stress.
Feeling more angry or upset or sad or even stressed can also bring about more stress.
Since sleep deprivation can change your mood and attitude, your relationships with those that are close to you could suffer, also adding stress to your life.
By getting enough sleep, just 7-9 hours per night, can reduce the physical stress in your body and stress from outside factors.
In fact, studies suggest that even an extra hour to hour and half of sleep can make a difference in your stress. (19)
Take away: Reduce stress by increasing sleep.
12. Sleeping Early Can Increase Creativity
No matter what your muse is, sleep can magnify that inspiration.
Whether your art is painting, writing, building, speaking or whatever, sleep can encourage your creativity to flow.
One of the many aspects of learning is recall and application. While you sleep, your brain is practicing what you have learned and applying it in ways that it deems appropriate.
Many great artists have said about their work, “it came to me in a dream”. Which may be the honest truth.
But creativity is not relegated to art.
For the same reasons that you learn during sleep, you can also solve problems while you sleep.
The phrase “let me sleep on it” is based on real physiological facts.
While you sleep, your subconscious is able to come out and play. It takes the day’s worries, concerns and troubles and reorganizes them so you can see them from a different angle.
Your brain literally “loosens up” and is able to escape the trap of reality and the confines that come with it.
Come morning, or sometimes in the middle of the night, you have solved your problem or at least have a new perspective to look at it from.
And usually the solution is not one you would have considered in your waking hours.
By not getting enough sleep, your brain won't have the time or energy to tackle all of this and your creativity both physical and critical, will be at stake. (20)
Take away: If you want to be the next big artist, or even just solve a problem, get to sleep early.
13. Sleeping Early Can Increase Your Life Expectancy
This topic is about balance. Just as too little sleep can reduce your longevity, so too can too much sleep.
Studies show that those who get more than five hours of sleep per night are more likely to not only live longer, but also live a better quality of life.
The reason for this is twofold.
First, sleep helps reduce the chance of disease.
Getting enough sleep can improve the health of the endocrine, cardiovascular, nervous and immune system.
If these are functioning optimally than the chances of them being or getting diseased are reduced.
If you are healthy, you are also living a better, more fulfilling life. Hopefully.
The other idea is that not sleeping can be an early indicator of disease.
However, this is a very subtle warning sign that many may ignore, causing their longevity to shorten.
Take away: Balance your sleeping and you just might live longer.
14. Sleeping Early Can Increase Your Libido
Sleeping early can increase libido, especially in men, in a few ways.
First, you will be well rested enough to actually partake in the physical activity.
If you are always tired, you will not feel up to exerting energy, even in this case.
Second, since getting enough sleep can reduce stress and other stress related feelings like anger and frustration, you will be more “in the mood”.
Stress is one of the major factors of intimacy issues in both genders and erectile dysfunction in men.
Finally, getting enough sleep increases the amount of testosterone produced, which inspires friskiness.
Take away: To help get in the mood, get in more sleep.
8 Tips For Sleeping Early
Sleeping does not always come easy.
The amount and quality of sleep can be impacted by aspects of your life, your health and even something as simple as sleeping conditions.
However, there are some things that you can do to program yourself to sleep better.
You can also take steps during your waking hours to set yourself up for better sleep.
The goal is to do this naturally without the aid of medication.
Studies have shown that medication can actually not help with sleep and can decrease your longevity.
But you can make small, simple changes to your life that can help you get to sleep earlier, have better quality sleep and reap all the benefits of sleeping early.
Many of these tips can be applied to those with shift work schedules or unusual schedules to find as much “normalcy” surrounding sleep as possible.
Here are 8 tips to help you sleep.
1. Reduce Caffeine Intake
Coffee and energy drinks are the life force for many working professionals.
Just look at the stock in any coffee chain or energy drink.
Caffeine itself is a natural stimulant that can be extracted from plants.
In moderation, caffeine is actually very healthy for you.
But most people these days use caffeine, not in moderation, to get through their day.
Caffeine can come in the form of pills, coffee, tea, and in some foods.
The problem with consuming caffeine during the day is that it can impact your ability to sleep when you need to sleep at night.
SleepEducation.org notes a study that shows if you consume caffeine even 6 hours before bed time, the total amount of sleep you will get will be reduced by up to an hour.
However, caffeine doesn’t just reduce the amount of sleep that you get, it reduces the quality of the sleep you do get.
By moderating your caffeine intake during the day, you will be able to have a more restful and productive sleep.
2. Get Into A Sleep Schedule
Humans are creatures of habit.
And so is the body. Especially when it comes to sleep.
The body relies on the circadian rhythm to tell it when to sleep and when to wake.
The circadian rhythm can be influenced to adapt by your sleeping habits.
In other words, if you stay away until 2 in the morning and sleep until 2 in the afternoon, this will become the “norm” for your circadian rhythm.
Sleep.org states that having a consistent bedtime and consistent wake time will help train your body to sleep better longer.
This means every single day.
So even if you want to stay up late and sleep in on the weekends, DON’T!
Just these few days of change in routine can confuse your sleep schedule and will cause you to lose more sleep during the week.
3. Take a Warm Bath
This tip is somewhat debated.
One thought process says that a warm bath will allow you to relax and prepare you to go to sleep.
The other idea, as explained by Spine-Health.com is that a bath will actually keep you awake because the body needs to cool off to sleep comfortably.
Therefore, a hot bath before bed will cause your body temperature to rise, which is not conducive to sleep at all.
However, if you choose to add a bath to your bedtime routine, it can be beneficial.
A way to encourage sleep after a bath is to include an essential oil like lavender, which is a natural sleep aid.
4. Pre-Sleep Routine
Since people are such creatures of habit, having a routine before bed can help prepare your body and your brain for sleep.
This can also help you solidify your bedtime schedule.
NoSleeplessNights.com suggests that taking as little as a half hour to yourself before you go to sleep can help calm your mind, relax your body and put you in a prime sleep mode.
While the exact details of a pre-sleep routine is highly individualized from the amount of time it takes to the activities that you do, it is generally good to avoid television and other electronics and to avoid things that cause stress.
In order to have a successful routine, you need to enjoy the activities and find them relaxing.
You should also make sure that you do not eat too much before bed.
It is also important to void your bowels and bladder so you are comfortable during the night and don’t have to get up during your sleep.
A problem that millions of people have that prevent them from falling asleep is that they are unable to shut their brains off.
Harvard Health details a study that suggests that meditation can help with this.
Meditation focuses on being in the moment and being present. It helps push worrying thoughts away, lets go of negativity and encourages restful sleep.
The study recommends that you do this for at least 20 minutes a day.
This is a very helpful tool to add to a sleep routine.
Similar activities like tai chi and yoga can also help you find a relaxing state before sleep.
However, yoga and tai chi can also be considered exercises which raise your heart rate and your body temperature. So if you do add this to your routine, do so with caution.
6. Prepare a Space That Encourages Sleep
Generally speaking, and according to RawFoodExplained.com in order for a space to be conducive to sleep, it needs to be quiet, dark and comfortable.
As many people are aware, noise disrupts sleep. Hence why most alarm clocks are made to make noise to wake you up.
However, if noise is not able to be totally eliminated, having background noise, or a white noise playing while you sleep can combat the disruptive noise.
For some, the noise of a fan is enough but there are other options like a radio or apps or noise machines that have many options like thunder storms, whale noises, or babbling water.
Because the circadian rhythm is so sensitive to light it is very important to have your sleeping quarters as dark as possible.
Even ambient light is enough to disturb your sleep.
Remember, many digital alarm clocks have electronic displays and even this slight amount of light can be disruptive.
Finally, it is imperative to be comfortable.
This encompasses wearing comfortable sleepwear, having the room at the right temperature, having a comfortable mattress and pillow.
Everyone has that one item that they absolutely must wear in order to fall asleep. Some have that item that they absolutely cannot wear in order to get to sleep.
It is fascinating how one item can make or break your good night’s sleep.
During sleep, the body cools down. In order to support this, the environment where you sleep should be cooler.
And it goes without saying that a comfortable mattress and pillow are going to support sleep better than sleeping on a hard floor. Anyone who has been camping can attest to this.
Many people are also more comfortable sleeping next to someone else or sleep better with a pet in the bed.
7. Do Not Use Electronics Right Before You Go To Sleep
Artificial blue light, which is emitted from phones, laptops, and most electronics, is perceived by the brain as a natural light.
Because the circadian rhythm depends on light to tell it when to be awake and when to be asleep, artificial blue light tells the brain to be awake.
This is a conflicting message when you are trying to get to sleep.
Light is very stimulating to your brain and it is important that you slow down the brain’s activities before bed.
By stopping electronics use about an hour before you go to sleep can help you get to sleep quicker and stay asleep.
And depending on the content that you are reading, checking your devices or even watching the news can bring about stress and worry as you are trying to relax and sleep.
8. Try Sleeping Under a Weighted Blanket
A new product on the market is a blanket that is heavy.
The idea is that sleeping under this weighted blanket will help you sleep at night and it could also reduce anxiety.
The science behind this blanket is that having weight on you while you sleep is similar to the feeling of being swaddled like an infant.
This promotes the feeling of security, safety, and relaxation.
Additionally, when the body feels this weight, the body responds by releasing seratonin which is a happy chemical.
The goal of this blanket is help promote sleep and reduce anxiety so that you do not have to rely on medication to sleep.
In addition to helping with sleep this blanket also claims to be beneficial for those with Parkinson’s, alzheimer's, PTSD, autism, cerebral palsy, anxieties, menopause, Tourette’s and bipolar disorder.