Ever wonder when you should be going to sleep? Or why, even when you get 7, 8, or 9 hours of sleep, you still feel exhausted upon waking? It all has to do with the way your body produces and regulates hormones. Melatonin production (a hormone that induces sleep) peaks a few hours after the sun sets, making it important for us to be asleep between the hours of 10 pm and 2 am.
Moreover, the adrenal glands—which regulate stress—recover between the hours of 11 pm and 1 am. If you’re not sleeping during those hours, then the glands can’t do their job. Result? A you that is exhausted and less happy than you could be. Tonight, experiment with going to bed earlier than usual—at the latest by 11 pm. You can start a positive trend by limiting your screen time (on the computer, iPad, TV, and mobile phone) after 9 pm, and making sure your bedroom is nice and dark.
If you’re having trouble changing your schedule, see if you can commit to an earlier bedtime for a week with a friend or your romantic partner. Teaming up to make change for the better can be the fastest way to establish new, healthier routines.
Just remember: The time that you go to sleep may be far more important than getting a coveted 8-hours. When your body’s glands are allowed to rest and recover in the way they were designed to, you’ll be happier at home and more productive and inspired at work.