Article Thumbnail

Getting Enough Sleep Won’t Help if You Don’t Have a Consistent Bedtime

Set the alarm and hit the sack, already: People with regular bedtimes, while arguably very boring and predictable, are also more successful. A study of 61 undergrads at Harvard found that those who slept the most erratically had lower grade point averages, The Independent reported, because erratic sleep schedules messed with their circadian rhythms.

The students kept sleep diaries for a month, and those who were able to go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time not only did better academically, but also were then able to fall asleep faster and wake up easier. So they didn’t toss and turn at night, nor did they have to keep hitting snooze in the morning before lifting their limbs to get the day started.

“We found that the body clock was shifted nearly three hours later in students with irregular schedules as compared to those who slept at more consistent times each night,” senior study author Charles A. Czeisler told The Independent. “For the students whose sleep and wake times were inconsistent, classes and exams that were scheduled for 9 a.m. were therefore occurring at 6 a.m. according to their body clock, at a time when performance is impaired.”

Even though all the students ended up sleeping for about the same amount of time each night, the students who could not manage to do so on a predictable schedule still suffered, leading the authors to conclude that sleeping at consistent times is as important as getting enough sleep.

That said, let’s not forget that these people all went to Harvard University, a better school than you attended, which means that even the shittiest sleeper among them is still probably a very tired, successful neurosurgeon today.