LONDON, Mar 22: For a lot of people, getting to bed early is a real challenge. Every morning, you wake up feeling shattered and resolve to go to sleep earlier that day.
But then evening rolls round, the internet keeps distracting you (because of course, you simply must know which Hollywood hunk is your soulmate based on your pizza preferences), and before you know it it’s past midnight.
The latest Great British Bedtime Report from the Sleep Council found that 74 per cent of Brits get fewer than seven hours a night, and the number of people sleeping for fewer than five hours has grown from seven per cent to 12 per cent.
61 per cent of the 5,002 people surveyed in 2017 said between five to seven hours a night is the norm.
We all know how important sleep is – every day, new studies seem to find that sleeping longer will make us happier/thinner/richer/healthier/better.
But it’s also largely accepted that different people need different amounts of shut-eye – whilst some seem to fall apart if they get anything less than nine hours a night, others claim to function fine on four.
So how do you know what time to turn out the lights and hit the hay?
The trick is in fact not to worry about the length of time you sleep after all, but to focus on sleep cycles.
“The brain has a pattern of sleep. It’s not like you just fall asleep and hour one is the same as hours two and three and five and nine,” author and sleep expert Dr Laura Lefkowitz explained to the Telegraph.
“It goes through cycles. Within each there is what we call non-REM [Rapid Eye Movement] sleep, and then REM sleep.”