Long gone are the days where we refuted bedtime only to stay up a little longer. If you have trouble relaxing and falling asleep at night, you're not alone. As adults, not only do most of us want to go to bed at a decent hour but managing to do so is a rare and coveted occurrence. The older we get it seems that bedtime means sleeping not when you're tired, but when you've finally checked off the last task on your to-do list.
The fact is, there's a window of time when you're sleepy. For most of us, that's about three hours after sunset, or somewhere in the range of 9 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. in our local time zones.
The bottom line is that consistent rest is important and imperative to our health. No matter how busy our lives are, prioritizing a proper bedtime is paramount if you actually want to get the rest you need. Psychiatrist Ellen Vora tells Mind Body Green that after a certain window of time passes, though we're more exhausted than ever, our bodies will start to resist sleep.
"The fact is, there's a window of time when you're sleepy," she says. "For most of us, that's about three hours after sunset, or somewhere in the range of 9 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. in our local time zones. If we push through and stay up past that window, our body thinks: 'Oh! We're not going to sleep even though we're tired; there must be a good reason.'"
At this point, the body goes into survival mode, producing cortisol, the stress hormone that keeps us wired (even if we're technically tired). In other words, staying up a few extra hours to finish up an assignment or binge a Netflix series might mean losing much more than just three hours of sleep—it can be detrimental to your rest.
Even if it sounds impossible with your current lifestyle, experimenting with this magic bedtime window might help you find an end to the vicious cycle of exhaustion and sleeplessness. Even if you'd never consider yourself a morning person, your body might just thank you for getting up early to get things done rather than staying up late. To encourage you to get the snooze you need, we've rounded up a list of essential products to help you relax and fall asleep. Keep scrolling to see some of our top picks.
The science doesn't lie: Lavender has been clinically shown to aid with de-stressing and better sleep. Inhale this essential oil while you try some deep breathing exercises or place in a diffuser for instant relaxation.
Seeing as when we lose sleep it can show in our complexion, this leave-on mask hydrates even the driest skin to dewy perfection, allowing us to wake up to the complexion of our sweet, sweet dreams. Overnight masks are ideal when wanting to treat your skin to something effective that you might not have the time for during the day, making the entire process much easier.
Burning sage is an ancient spiritual ritual that helps combat any negativity in the home, including sleepless nights and restlessness. Studies have shown that sage contains compounds that help with insomnia, which is perfect for anyone trying to get some extra shut-eye.
Now that you know the best time to fall asleep, make sure the rest of your sleep conditions are optimal, too.