You can literally get amplified benefits of sleep by sleeping at the right hours. Dr. Kulreet Chaudhary says, “Timing your sleep is like timing an investment in the stock market—it doesn’t matter how much you invest, it matters when you invest.”
It’s been shown that human beings get the most beneficial hormonal secretions and recovery by sleeping during the hours of 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. This is what I call “Money Time.”
You get the most rejuvenating effects during this period, and any sleep that you get in addition is a bonus. This is based on the seemingly lost realization that we humans are a part of nature, and when the lights go out on the planet, that’s a cue from the universe that it’s time for us to turn down too.
Today, however, we can trump nature and light up our house. We can be up until 3 a.m. doing the laptop lap dance, and not even think twice about it. That is abnormal.
We are literally designed to go to sleep when it gets dark, so if you’ve made a habit of ignoring this innate law, it’s time to take action to readjust.
It is found that our body’s natural production of hormones is critical to getting the best sleep possible. By lining your sleep up with your natural hormonal secretions, the benefits you get from sleep will be exponentially better. For example, you may be sleeping from 1 a.m. to 9 a.m. and getting eight hours of sleep, but you are missing on that “money time” when the beneficial hormonal secretions are at their highest. Melatonin, human growth hormone, and more are secreted in their strongest doses when your sleep is lined up properly. Want to stay young and vibrant longer? Then you need to know that you get the best dose of HGH, the “youth hormone,” if you’re sleeping during those prime time hours.
Some people get eight or more hours of sleep, but still don’t feel well rested when they wake up. Dr. Chaudhary also states that, “If your body is chronically deprived of the regenerative sleep between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m., then you may still feel fatigued when you wake up in the morning.” Again, this affirms the understanding that it’s all about the hormone production, and missing out on that “money time” is not a very smart investment.
Around 10 p.m., your body goes through a transformation following the natural rise in melatonin. This transformation is to increase internal metabolic energy to repair, strengthen, and rejuvenate your body. Heightened production of antioxidant hormones happens at this time to help protect your DNA from damage, improve your brain function, and more. If you’re asleep as normal during this phase, all is well. However, if you’re up when 10 p.m. rolls around that increase in metabolic energy can be experienced as a “second wind.”
Have you ever had this happen before? After work, around 6 or 7 p.m., you are tired. You can’t wait to hit the sack and get a great nights sleep. Then 10 o’clock rolls around and you feel wide-awake and ready to do stuff! It’s very likely that you have just experienced the energy “second wind.” It’s really not that much different from exercise. People who’ve done any type of endurance training know that if you keep at it for a certain amount of time even though you’re tired, your body will kick into a second wind and you’ll feel energized again and ready to keep going.
Instead of the increased energy being used for normal internal housekeeping, it was used for you to update your Facebook profile and watch three more episodes of your favorite show on Youtube.
It’s important to understand that your body’s ability to repair itself, remove free radicals, and maximize hormonal output, is greatly inhibited when you allow yourself to stay up and move into that second wind. People who stay up past 10 or 11 p.m. and dig into that second wind energy, often find that they have a harder time falling asleep when they want to. The result is that you’re more fatigued and groggy when you wake up in the morning. So let’s get into some specific tips to get that “money time” sleep your body really deserves.
Money Time Power Tip # 1
The 10 p.m. recommended bed time isn’t exact with all of the variation in time zones, day light savings time, how far you are from the equator, time of year, etc. If we get too neurotic about the exact time to go to sleep, it can get a little ridiculous. What you want to aim for to get the highest quality sleep possible is getting to bed within a few hours of it getting dark outside.
For most people, this is going to mean somewhere between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. most of the year. By doing this, you are giving yourself a huge hormonal advantage. During the winter season, humans would naturally be sleeping more and going to bed a bit earlier. Conversely, during the summer months when the days are longer, you have a bit of a permission slip to stay up later and enjoy the weather a little more. Nature is giving us direct cues on when to sleep, we just need to learn to pay attention to them.
Money Time Power Tip # 2
To help reset your sleep cycle so that you are actually tired when the optimal bedtime rolls around, make a habit of getting some sunlight as soon as possible when you wake up. This is going to help boost natural cortisol levels and fully wake your system up. Your body knows what to do, and will find it’s natural sleep cycle with you practicing good sleep hygiene.
Money Time Power Tip # 3
During normal sleep at night, your body follows a predictable pattern, moving back and forth between deep, restorative sleep (deep sleep) and more alert stages (non-REM) and dreaming (REM sleep). These stages of REM and non-REM sleep come together to form a complete sleep cycle.
Sleep cycles typically last for 90 minutes each and repeat four to six times at night. So, six normal 90-minute sleep cycles would equal nine total hours of sleep.
Even if you get a full night’s sleep, you can still wake up feeling groggy if your alarm goes off during the middle of one of your sleep cycles. To make your mornings better and more energetic, start setting your alarm so that it goes off in accordance with these sleep cycles instead of the standard “eight hours of sleep.” For example, if you go to sleep at 10 p.m. set your alarm for 5:30 a.m. (for a total of seven and a half hours of sleep) and you’ll likely find that you feel more refreshed when you wake up than if you set the alarm for 6 a.m. and interrupted another sleep cycle.
Alternatively, you can go for an additional sleep cycle if that’s what you feel best about. Again, going to bed at 10 p.m. for example, set your alarm for 7 a.m. to get that sixth full sleep cycle under your belt. And, here’s a great tip if you ever do find yourself in a pinch and need to sleep less than normal. Shoot for getting that minimum of four
sleep cycles in for a total of six hours. If you have to stay up until 1 a.m. (again, not smart, but it happens) set your alarm for 7 a.m., not 7:30 or 8 a.m. and you’ll likely find that you feel better when you wake up to start your day. Use these sleep hacks for the forces of good, and your body will pay you big dividends in return.