With Daylight saving ending and the holiday season starting, it’s a good time to revisit the benefits quality sleep. Building a proper sleep schedule can help you build your workout performance, health, and recovery time. So, what can you do to boost your nightly downtime? For starters, creating a comfortable sleeping environment, increasing natural light exposure, and developing a schedule are just a few of the strategies we introduced that can improve your sleep and boost your workout performance.

Your quality of sleep can quickly diminish with too much blue light before bedtime. Televisions, phones, and tablets can all trick your brain into thinking that it’s still daytime. This added light will reduce your body’s ability to release the important hormone melatonin, which helps you relax and fall into a deep sleep.

You should also limit caffeine before bedtime for a better night of sleep. While sensitivity to caffeine varies from person to person, studies have shown that consuming caffeine up to six hours before bed can cause significant sleep disruption. So the next time you need to stay up, remember that limiting caffeine before your bedtime will help you feel more rested the next day.

Naps may also be a go-to method when you miss out on sleep, but they can actually be counterintuitive. Sleeping during the day can disrupt your bodies sleep clock, making it harder to stay asleep at night. While you may need a quick nap, don’t make them regular habits if you want quality sleep.

The time adjustment that happens at the end of Daylight saving can disturb your sleep. If you are someone who has a very consistent sleep to wake schedule, your sleep schedule will shift one hour without much change in your sleep quality or quantity. If you are trying to establish a routine or are still struggling with a consistent bedtime, this could be a challenging time of year to perfect your sleeping habits.

You should track your sleep cycles to determine how to get the optimal amount and quality sleep. For example, each sleep cycle should last for about 90 minutes. If you wake up during a completed cycle, you’ll likely feel well rested. However, if something disrupts your sleep, and you don’t complete a cycle, you might feel groggy, disoriented, and persistently tired throughout the day.

While seven to eight hours is ideal for good health, it is possible to get enough rest and feel great if you can time your sleep cycles properly. If you know about how long it takes you to fall asleep, count your total sleep in 90-minute increments after you fall asleep. Look at the chart below for an example of what a sleep schedule might look like.

Bedtime Time it takes to fall asleep Sleep Cycles Optimal Wake Up time Total Sleep
9 pm 5 min. 6 6:05am 9 hrs 5 min.
10pm 15 min. 5 5:45am 7 hrs 45 min.
11pm 10 min. 4 6:10am 6 hrs 10 min.

Remember, everyone’s needs are different. Training volume, age, and health status can determine how much sleep you need. If you still feel like you are sluggish when you wake, try adjusting your sleep schedule so you can pop out of bed ready for the day!