What Time You Should Go to Bed for the Best Night's Sleep
When Morrissey appeared on Desert Island Discs in 2009 he chose a bed as his luxury item. The former Smiths frontman explained:
"I like to be hidden and I like to sink. We all love to go to sleep - it's the brother of death. It means we can just switch off our brains when we go to bed and forget about ourselves, hopefully."
A few hundred years previously, William Shakespeare had this to say on the matter in Macbeth:
"Sleep that knits up the raveled sleave of care,
The death of each day's life, sore labor's bath,
Balm of hurt minds, great nature's second course,
Chief nourisher in life's feast."
In other words, sleep is good.
How much sleep should we have?
The problem in the modern era is that most of us aren't getting enough of it. According to one survey, 39% of people in England are suffering from disrupted sleep. So what's the key to a good night's kip?
According to the National Sleep Foundation, most adults between the ages of 26 and 64 should be aiming for somewhere between seven and nine hours of sleep a night.
When should we go to bed?
Research suggests that we should think about sleep cycles when we head off to The Land of Nod. Waking up in the middle of a cycle can leave you feeling grumpy and tired, so it's important to try and get to the end of the fifth or sixth cycle (each lasts about 90 minutes).
If you need to be up at 6.30am head to bed at 9:15 pm or 10:45 pm for optimal results. Whereas if you need to get up at 7 am, try going to bed at 9:45 pm or 11:15 pm.
Forgot all the old wives' tales, cycles are key. Find out the best time for you to go to bed using this sleep calculator.
Does cheese give you nightmares?
In 2005, the magnificently titled British Cheese Board decided to do some research to try and answer this one once and for all. The results were pretty encouraging for dairy fans. 75 per cent of the participants said they slept pretty well each night and had no nightmares in the process. Intriguingly though, most of the participants could clearly remember their dreams. The conclusion?
"The essential amino acid in milk, and therefore cheese - tryptophan - was having its effect on the cheese eaters by stabilising their sleep patterns and reducing stress levels."
So it transpires a bit of cheese before bed might actually be advisable.
What should you do if you wake up in the middle of the night?
We've all been there. Having woken in the middle of the night, it's easy to succumb to the temptation to check your phone and see exactly what the cricket score is in Australia, or the latest tweet from Donald Trump.
But it's vital that you try and resist this urge since Harvard researchers found the blue light could shift people's sleep schedules by up to three hours. Unless it's an emergency, just wait until the morning. You'll feel better if you do.