Work out the perfect bed time for you with our sleep calculators
Most of us cannot control what time we have to wake up and be out of bed. We all have our own needs and personal morning routine as well as commitments to children, pets, work, spouses that require us to wake up at a certain time each day.
That time may vary day by day and this makes it very hard to get into a routine and fine tune our body clocks. Perhaps the one thing you have more control over, after your night-time commitments are met, is the time you go to bed.
How many of us actually work out what time we need to get up then back calculate the perfect time to be asleep by? We may guess at it or just go to bed when tired but most of us when woken unnaturally ie by alarm clock, feel tired, lethargic and perhaps a little cranky.
We can wake up at any time feeling refreshed and alive and energetic if we can work out the perfect time to sleep using a simple formula. The calculation is based on the ideal number and length of sleep cycles. Our goal is to wake up when the alarm is set (or even without one if you get good at this).
Use either of the manual or automatic methods below and see how well it works for you – remember that everybody is different so you may have to experiment a little.
The Automatic Perfect Bedtime Calculator
– SEE THE FORM ON TOP OF THE RIGHT COLUMN OF THE SITE
The Manual Method
- It takes the average person 15 mins to fall asleep (it might be longer if you have an active mind).
- The average sleep cycle is approx. 90 mins long.
- We know that the average person needs 5 sleep cycles per night.
- Multiply 90 mins by 5 sleep cycles per night for 450 minutes or 7.5 hours of sleep.
- Add the time you normally take to fall asleep then count backwards from your wake-up time and you have a good starting point for your perfect bedtime.
The first calculation is just the starting point. If you find that your are not waking naturally when you want to (just before your alarm clock or desired wake up time or otherwise way before) then adjust your bedtime accordingly by 15 minutes every few days. You have to be well organised here and stick to your goal bed time. Keeping a diary may be a good way to stay on track and get a better handle on your sleep patterns and needs. Of course there are many other things that affect your ability to sleep and to get a good nights sleep. You may be interested in these recent articles:
The Doctor Oz Site Provides some good info on sleep efficiency (see it here)
Measure Your Sleep Efficiency In sleep science, we use many different calculations to teach us how people sleep. But sleep is not just aquantity issue but also a quality issue as well. While it is fairly simple to measure how many minutes a person spends asleep, it is often not so easy to measure the quality of that sleep. When looking at sleep quality, we often try to see how much of certain sleep stages a person gets. Stages 1 and 2 are known to be the light stages of sleep. We know that Stages 3 and 4 are the physically restorative sleep. These are the stages when the “wake up and feel physically ready to meet the day” sleep occur. And we know that REM sleep (Rapid Eye Movement) is the mentally restorative sleep – this is the sleep that helps your memory, and lifts the fogginess of dreamland. In the past the only way to measure the amounts of these stages was to attach electrodes to a person’s head, monitor their brainwaves all night long, and calculate the percentages of each stage of sleep. But there is another, simpler way that everyone can calculate their sleep efficiency at home. It has been well documented that the sleep process works in a particular pattern. When you sleep, you go from wake to Stage 1 to Stage 2, to Stage 3 and 4, back to Stage 2 and into REM sleep. This cycle takes 90 minutes and you should have a minimum of 5 cycles throughout the night (see the bedtime calculation above). But, if you are woken up in the middle of a cycle, your brain goes back to the beginning and starts the entire process over again! It is like having to start the race back at the starting gates, even if you are pretty close to the finish line. The fewer interruptions you have to your sleep, the better your sleep quality (since fewer interruptions allow you to complete an entire sleep cycle). Take a look at the amount of time you spend in bed asleep (minus all the awakenings you may have and how long it takes you to fall asleep), and divide it by the total time you spend in bed, you will get an estimate of the overall percentage of how efficiently you sleep! While it is not exactly the same as monitoring your brainwaves, it is still a good measure of sleep quality. In the sleep science world, we like to see this number above 85%. We consider 85% as normal and really good sleep efficiency is above 90%. For example: You go to bed at 11 p.m. It takes you 25 minutes to fall asleep, and you wake up 3 times for 5 minutes, 15 minutes and 5 minutes again. You wake for the day at 6 a.m. Here is how to calculate an estimate of your sleep efficiency: Sleep Efficiency Calculator Total Sleep Time = 7 hours (420 minutes) Minus time to fall asleep = 25 minutes Minus time awakened= 25 minutes (5 minutes + 15 minutes +5 minutes) Total time asleep = 6 hours and 10 minutes (370 minutes) Now divide 370 minutes /420 minutes = 88% While 88% is within the normal range, there is still room for improvement!