What Do Doctors Say About Setting a Wake-Sleep Schedule?

Sleep hygiene has a profound impact on your health, wakefulness, and overall quality of life. Of course, when the makers of many of the most popular adjustable bed systems in the world tell you this, perhaps it may look like a conflict of interest.

So, instead, take the word of renowned Harvard sleep doctor Dr. Lawrence J. Epstein. Yes, sleep doctors do exist. That being said, Dr. Epstein’s formal titles are slightly more professional: Program Director, Sleep Medicine Fellowship Program, Brigham and Women’s Hospital; former President of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine; Instructor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School; and Associate Physician, Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders, Departments of Medicine and Neurology, Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

He also co-wrote The Harvard Medical School Guide to a Good Night’s Sleep, which goes to great lengths to describe the importance of a proper sleep schedule.

“It’s very important to set aside enough time to get an adequate amount of sleep,” Dr. Epstein writes on the Harvard Healthy Sleep website.

While some people wrongly believe they can “catch up” on their sleep over the weekend, human bodies simply don’t work that way. While your former 18-year-old self may have been able to get away with pulling all-nighters, most adults really do need seven to nine hours of sleep every night. Unfortunately, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that 35% of us fail to get enough sleep, while 90% say they sometimes or always wake up in the middle of the night, upsetting a natural sleep schedule.

If you’re experiencing trouble falling asleep at night and regularly feel fatigued during the day, then setting a strict sleep schedule is one of the most important decisions you can make. By going to bed and waking up at roughly the same time every day, you train your body to get the rest that it needs.

But setting a sleep schedule and sticking to it isn’t the only step you can take on the path to better sleep. In addition to “maintaining a regular sleep-wake schedule,” the Harvard Healthy Sleep website also recommends “Creating a comfortable sleep environment is a simple but important first step to getting better sleep.” To that end, many people are choosing to improve their sleep quality by investing in adjustable beds for extra comfort while sleeping.


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