This is another one of those sleep hygiene that’s been mentioned just about everywhere. Some places say to sleep and wake the same time every night. But an more appropriate rule is to go to bed at the same time every night and then you fall asleep when you fall asleep. And you wake up when you naturally wake up. It would be silly to set an alarm to wake you up when it is the weekend and you need as much sleep as possible.
Your body runs on a 24-hour cycle pattern. When you follow the pattern of going to be at the same time (weekdays and weekends included), you find that your body will automatically produce melatonin at the same time and you fall alseep at the same time every night. And your cortisol profile will become more regular (high during the day and low at night). One reason some people can not sleep (the “wired but tired” symptom) is when cortisol profile is out of norm (being high at night when it shouldn’t).
Page 148 of The New Health Rules …
“Sleep-Train Yourself … But if you reinforce a rhythm — say 11:30 betime and 6:30 wake-up — your body will help you out. It will learn to start producing melatonin at around 11:00, to make you sleepy. And at around 6:00, it’ll start pumping wake-up hormones, serotonin and cortisol. Falling asleep and waking up with both be less of an effort.”
It has a point, but I disagree with its bed time. 11:30pm is way too late. And second, 11:30 to 6:30 is only 7 hours (which is not enough).
From AdrenalFatigue.org …
“The consensus from research and clinical observation is that it is necessary to sleep an average of eight hours per day. Some people need even more in the beginning phases of recovery from adrenal fatigue.”
Let’s say you had to wake up at 6:00am to go to work (and that is when your alarm will ring). You want to go to bed early enough that you wake up naturally just before your alarm rings. You don’t want the alarm to cut off your sleep process. So 10pm to 6am would be 8 hours. However, you it may take a while to fall asleep and on some days you may actually be needing more than eight hours. So I would recommend going to bed at 9:30pm.