The Perfect Night's Sleep


I’m sure it varies with each person, but can anyone recommend the best hours to sleep? After working over time 2 days in a row I went to bed at 10 Saturday night, woke up 2 hours later then didnt’ fall asleep till 2 am and finally woke up around 12:30 the next day. A lot of sleep and yet I didn’t feel rested when I woke up.
Going to bed early (10ish) causes me to wake up a few hours later. Going to bed late (1 or 2) and getting 8 hours sleep is not restful either.
There’s got to be just the right time slot where I can get a restful night sleep. Any ideas?

Important note: I don’t have a good mattress either and it’s not easy for me to obtain one at the present time. Perhaps that’s a key factor.


I’ve read a few times that people sleep in cycles of 1.5 hours, so if you sleep in a multiple of 1.5 hours then you will wake up feeling better than if you wake up in the middle of a cycle, so 6, 7.5, 9, etc. Seems to work for me after I do fall asleep, which takes forever :frowning:


IT varies from person to person. In general, adults need around 8 hours. Avoid vigorous physical activity or anything with caffeine , including chocolate (Unfortunately) within the last few hours before bedtime. Get your sleep as consistently as possible (same hours each day). Daily exercise, if you have the time, can help you to be sleepy in time for bed, assuming you don’t exercise too late in the day.

Also, there are these little foam pads you can get for your mattress, if you need a softer surface to sleep on.

Beyond that, it’s all about what works for you individually.

If you do find a universal miracle cure for insomnia, be sure to write a book. You’ll be a rich person. :slight_smile:


I’m a registered sleep tech (Polysomnographic Technologist), so the first thing I’m required to tell you is… consult your doctor. There a many factors (physiological, psychological, and environmental) than can affect your sleep, so your individual case may or may not be helped by the advice (mine or others) provided in this forum.

That being said, there are several sleep resources available on the web. One is the National Institute of Health, who has an overview of sleep in a pdf document. The web page is:

Some of the advice in this article may make sound childishly obvious, but you’d be surprised about the sleep habits I hear about from all the patients I see in our lab. (One young guy brought his CD player to the lab, and said he listens to hard-rock music while going to sleep. I made him leave it off, and he slept fine.)

Regarding a mattress, my wife and I went to a place where you can try Tempur-Pedics, Select Comforts, and others. We chose the Select Comfort Sleep Number bed. Other mattresses might be fine for you, but I love my Sleep Number bed. We bought it last year, and my back feels much better.

As far as waking up groggy, there’s a fairly new product on the market that I’m considering for my son who’s just starting law school. It’s called Sleeptracker (See The reviews look favorable. The idea makes sense, because someone with a normal sleep architecture goes through several stages of sleep throughout the night every 90-120 minutes. Some stages are deeper than others, and if you’re woken up during them you’ll probably feel groggy. This device purportedly senses when you’re in an arousal (not a sexual arousal, but when you’re transitioning from a lower sleep stage to a lighter one, or from sleep to wake). Then, if it’s within the time window for when you’re supposed to wake up, it sets off the alarm.

Again, contact your doctor. If you have sleep apnea, or another physiological or psychological condition, there is little or nothing that changing environmental conditions (bed, noise level, etc.) will help. I wear a CPAP mask, and sleep much better with it. (And my wife & kids don’t have to hear me snore.) Sleep apnea has been linked to more and more problems, including hypertension, depression, etc. It’s small wonder, considering that you’re reducing the oxygen available to you brain and body during these apneic events. My doctor recently told me about a case (he didn’t provide name or details, of course) in which a patient had a disease that neither he nor the Mayo clinic could resolve. However, when the patient was sleep-tested for an unrelated issue, then put on CPAP, the mysterious disease was resolved.

Regarding the appropriate amount of time, it varies from person to person, and it various for an individual based on different conditions (environment, health, changes as they age, etc.) Generally speaking it could be 6 to 10 hours. Keep in mind, though, that the lower amount of slow-wave sleep and REM sleep you get, the less rested you’ll feel. The amount of the various stages can be affected by medications, caffeine, apneas, periodic leg movement syndrome, etc. Time in bed is not an indicator of the quality of sleep, as you already know too well.

Hope this helps!


Thank you so much for taking the time to write such a thorough reply. I really appreciate the advice!:slight_smile: :thumbsup:


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