Later bedtime better for sleeping?


Question from KTucker: When I go to sleep at 11:00 p.m. or earlier, I sleep for an hour or so, then wake up and can't go back to sleep. If I go to sleep at 1 a.m. or later, I usually sleep better. How can I remedy this?
Answers - Helena Schotland Many people wake up in the middle of the night and fall back asleep fairly easily. If that's the case, I wouldn't be too worried about the situation. Some folks have a much harder time going back to sleep, which can obviously impact them in a negative way. Some people just have a naturally later bedtime than others. And if you find that you're able to fall asleep and stay asleep without any issues when your bedtime is somewhat later, I would just gravitate toward that natural bedtime. As long as you're getting a sufficient duration of total sleep, and you feel refreshed the next day.
Marisa Weiss, M.D. What about variable bedtimes throughout the week, for people who have to work at night or travel at night to get to their jobs?
Helena Schotland It's really best if you can stick to a schedule as much as humanly possible. Little kids like schedules, and so do big kids. I find that people who tend to work late at night have a hard time shutting it all off and immediately going to sleep. I used to work evening shifts in an emergency room and got home at 12:30 in the morning. I found it very difficult to immediately go to sleep. So it's best not to work in an evening shift in an emergency room if one can. It's best to give one downtime before you go to sleep. Little kids need a bath or a book before they go to bed, and adults need some downtime as well. It's very hard to shut everything off and expect yourself to go to sleep as if you were a machine.

On Wednesday, January 17, 2007, our Ask-the-Expert Online Conference was called Sleep Well: Healthy Habits for Good Rest. Helena Schotland, M.D. and moderator Marisa Weiss, M.D. answered your questions about ways to improve your sleep.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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