Is It Really Better And More Healthy To Go To Sleep Earlier?

tjohejtjohej
edited May 2016 in Sleep Hacking

I have heard this over and over again from many sources, that going to bed earlier, around 10pm is the optimal for sleep quality and health. Like sleeping 1 hour before 12pm is worth 2 hours etc etc. But are these things really true, or is it another "myth"? Is there any science behind this? 


 


Do the body really have an internal clock that is fixed like this? Or would the internal clock not always be adjusting to habits and different seasons etc?


Comments

  • WalterWalter ✭✭✭

    Your internal clocks will shift to accomodate to seasons but there's a limit to how much change your body can adapt. 


     


    I don't know any hard science that says 11 pm is the outer limit, but there are many plausible theories and there is anecdotal evidence that sleeping earlier is healthier. Easiest thing to do is here is test it yourself.


  • Sleep quality is something that can be lab tested though, so there must be some tests that have been done on quality sleep at different times?


  • WalterWalter ✭✭✭


    Sleep quality is something that can be lab tested though, so there must be some tests that have been done on quality sleep at different times?




     


    You are correct: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=sleep+timing


     


    They are mostly observational studies though and are focused on just a few aspects of health. Like here where later sleep times is correlated to higher obesity rates: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24919802



  • You are correct: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=sleep+timing


     


    They are mostly observational studies though and are focused on just a few aspects of health. Like here where later sleep times is correlated to higher obesity rates: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24919802




     


    Hmm that study is not very convincing though. I would think that kids that have parents that are more slack with when they go to bed also does not care as much about other areas, like if the kids eat as healthy etc. 

  • WalterWalter ✭✭✭


    Hmm that study is not very convincing though. I would think that kids that have parents that are more slack with when they go to bed also does not care as much about other areas, like if the kids eat as healthy etc. 




     


    True, that's why I said mostly observational studies. A direct mechanism between going to bed earlier and health is not as simple as it sounds. It will involve the complete biology and physics of human circadian rhythm.

  • RekaReka ✭✭✭
    edited June 2016


    You are correct: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=sleep+timing


     


    They are mostly observational studies though and are focused on just a few aspects of health. Like here where later sleep times is correlated to higher obesity rates: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24919802




     


    That is most likely caused by shorter sleep, and not later sleep times. There is hardly any study which could control the requirements of getting up early, and focus only on the timing of sleep, because the whole world is set to benefit early risers. I would like to see a study where people can get sufficient sleep, according to their own preferences, and then compare how their sleep patterns may impact their health. But it is not possible when everything is adapted to favour early rising people.


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  • WalterWalter ✭✭✭
    edited June 2016


    That is most likely caused by shorter sleep, and not later sleep times. There is hardly any study which could control the requirements of getting up early, and focus only on the timing of sleep, because the whole world is set to benefit early risers. I would like to see a study where people can get sufficient sleep, according to their own preferences, and then compare how their sleep patterns may impact their health. But it is not possible when everything is adapted to favour early rising people.




     


    You have a point, but staying up late when the early risers are asleep has benefits as well. Either way, humans have a circadian rhythm just like all other mammals. While everybody has their own rhythm when left to their own devices, it would roughly be to sleep when it's dark and be active when it's light, and deviating from that rhythm structurally causes all kinds of problems. I don't mean the difference between going to bed at 10 pm vs. midnight (same sleep duration), but the difference between going to bed at 10 pm vs. going to bed at 10 am after working the night (again with same sleep duration).


  • ACH85ACH85 ✭✭

    Excellent long-form article on circadian rhythms found via the NYT Now app:


     


    https://aeon.co/essays/soon-we-will-see-chrono-attached-to-every-form-of-medicine


     


    One of the claims is that people can be night owls and early birds or somewhere in between, but in a limited way still tied to circadian rhythm. Don't justify going to bed absurdly late by being a night owl. 


     


    Another interesting concept was the idea of a main "internal clock" with a variety of other system-specific or organ-specific internal clocks. The idea is your overall internal clock can be set to the proper circadian rhythm, but you can mess up system-specific clocks. For example if you eat late at night, it messes up your liver-specific internal clock, causing fatty deposits in the liver, and your pancreas-specific internal clock, messing up blood sugar / insulin regulation. 


     


    Another interesting claim is that chemotherapy is tolerated far better if it is timed away from white blood cell production, which occurs on it's own daily clock. 


  • Qi_PowerQi_Power I'll help if I can

    Jack kruse says 10-12pm is optimal i think


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  • WalterWalter ✭✭✭


    Excellent long-form article on circadian rhythms found via the NYT Now app:


     


    https://aeon.co/essays/soon-we-will-see-chrono-attached-to-every-form-of-medicine


     


    One of the claims is that people can be night owls and early birds or somewhere in between, but in a limited way still tied to circadian rhythm. Don't justify going to bed absurdly late by being a night owl. 


     


    Another interesting concept was the idea of a main "internal clock" with a variety of other system-specific or organ-specific internal clocks. The idea is your overall internal clock can be set to the proper circadian rhythm, but you can mess up system-specific clocks. For example if you eat late at night, it messes up your liver-specific internal clock, causing fatty deposits in the liver, and your pancreas-specific internal clock, messing up blood sugar / insulin regulation. 


     


    Another interesting claim is that chemotherapy is tolerated far better if it is timed away from white blood cell production, which occurs on it's own daily clock. 




     


    Fascinating field of study. I stumbled upon research concerning human internal clocks in the book Sync, which is a book about different types of synchronization within nature. I need to read it again. Either way, ever since I read it I'm a lot more convinced that 'living in accordance with nature' is something more fundamental than just a snappy quote.


     


    And if living in a daily rhythm has any footing, then the same surely applies to seasons (as most traditions know for centuries, the knowledge that modern life tends to ignore).

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