I used to go to bed routinely at 9 pm every night for years. It was a routine, it was constant. Did I sleep well? Sure, sometimes, other nights I would drive myself crazy trying to get to sleep. Do I still follow that routine? No, not at all.
The reason is pretty simple as well. I found going to bed at 9 just didn’t really work for me. I didn’t sleep well at all because I had more things to do and most of all I had things I wanted to do. There are only 24 hours in a day and we really don’t need to spend any longer than 8-9 hours asleep. That’s not to say that sleep isn’t important because it really is! We can’t function well without it but we also don’t need to be in bed by 9 and lay awake for 4 hours with our mind ticking over.
Of course there are thousands of research studies done on sleep, and yes the importance of having a regular time to go to bed has been proven pretty much each time, but don’t let that idea control you. If go to bed at your regular time and you just can’t go to sleep GET UP! Go and do something quietly until you’re tired. Read a book, have a cup of tea, have a quiet chat with a mate, listen to music, do whatever just limit that screen time otherwise you will royally stuff yourself over.
Don’t let that ‘bedtime’ rule your life and what you’re doing. If you wanna go out and be out until 3 am do that, if you wanna binge watch a show, do that too. Do whatever you want and sleep when you’re tired. You’ll get into a better routine, one that naturally fits your body. Maybe you’ll find yourself going to bed early but getting up at 5 am and starting your day then or maybe you’ll find that you’re a night owl and go to bed at 1 and get up at 7 or 8 am.
The important idea here is that we often get stuck in routines and ruts that don’t actually suit us anymore. If you can’t sleep try something new. Stay up a bit later, drink less caffeine, have a time in the evening after dinner when you can have that worry about tomorrow and everything you have to do so once you’re in bed you can just sleep. Going to bed should be easy and simple, if it isn’t change it up and just see what happens.