The burden of too much information has been observed for centuries. The American essayist and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson elegantly observed, “There are many things of which a wise man might wish to be ignorant.” There is something new from the sleep researchers, however, that you may want to take note of: the “sleep midpoint” and its relation to personal well-being.
The sleep midpoint is the time halfway between when you go to bed and when you wake up. So, a night owl may go to bed at midnight and wake at 8 am, creating a sleep midpoint of 4 am, while an early bird may sleep at 10 pm and rise at 6 am, creating a 2 am sleep midpoint.
If sleep midpoint is a term you are not yet familiar with, it has been recently highlighted and publicized by a major study of the causes of depression. Using a method called Mendelian Randomization, the New York Times reports that researchers were able to compare two groups of over 800,000 individuals and identify the early birds and their medical histories. The findings were that, for these large groups as a whole (and not individuals), people genetically disposed to rising early had a 23% lower risk of major depression for every hour that the sleep midpoint was advanced. Early to bed and early to rise is apparently a lifestyle choice that can significantly improve one’s health.
While the study is bound to be challenged and dissected, as should be done with scientific announcements, it does cause one to reflect on the benefits of a good, and early, night’s sleep.
To get started advancing your sleep midpoint, let’s review the basics of getting to bed earlier:
Improving your bedding is another answer readily at hand for getting a better and earlier night’s sleep. Choose pillows suited to your sleeping position (hotel-quality pillows are great), make your bed comfortable with a mattress pad, and select an oversized comforter that will minimize duvet battles with your partner. Add a down blanket, a body pillow, and a top feather bed for a luxurious touch that will enhance your sleep. Cooling bedding technology has come a long way in recent years and is a great way to reduce the temperature in your sleep environment, which in turn facilitates better sleep.
If despite luxurious hotel bedding welcoming you into your cozy nest, you cannot advance your sleep midpoint, and you are tired of counting sheep, you can try these additional tricks to sleep earlier and better:
- Create a sleep routine. Regular hours, small sleep rituals, avoiding screens, alcohol, and caffeine in the evening -- all of these actions can help improve your sleep - and your mood in the morning.
- Get up and go - it's easier to get out of bed in the morning if you stimulate your senses. Use your nose: it is the shortest route to the brain and the smells associated with the morning activate the arousal system. The smell of coffee, toasting bread, a frying egg, etc. stimulates you more than you might imagine.
- Make your mornings as pleasant as possible by pampering your senses. Let sunlight and fresh air enter your bedroom; use products that smell fresh and pleasant. In the evening, tell yourself that the pleasant morning sensations will arrive all the more quickly if you get to sleep earlier.
If you would like any help or professional advice before ordering your bedding, you may contact our customer service representatives by phone or email, and they will assist you in your decision-making.