Study: Why Your Bedtime Matters Just As Much As the Number of Hours You Sleep

It’s all about consistency, folks.

Sure, setting a bedtime alarm might sound like an eye-roll-worthy suggestion. But a new study performed by researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital shows that doing so could have some eye-roll-tempering impacts on your life. Think: better work performance and the ability to actually stick to your morning workout schedule — for once!

As the Independent reports, the new study looked at the sleep patterns and circadian rhythms of 61 Harvard students and their grades. In the end, they found that it wasn’t just the amount of sleep that mattered in terms of academic performance; turns out, when it came to bedtime, consistency was key. Those with the least regular sleep schedules — i.e. staying up til 2 a.m. watching ALL of Season 5 of Orange Is the New Black one night, then crashing at 8 p.m. the next — had the lowest GPAs. Those who went to bed at the same time every night, on the other hand, performed better academically and had less trouble waking up (helloooo, morning workouts!) and falling asleep.

Soooo, the takeaway? Well, as the lead author of the study, Andrew J.K. Phillips, a biophysicist at the Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders, Brigham and Women’s Hospital., said, per the Independent, “Our results indicate that going to sleep and waking up at approximately the same time is as important as the number of hours one sleeps.” So, you still need a good amount of sleep (seven hours is what’s recommended, and a good chunk of us don’t get that), but when you go to sleep on the regular plays a big part, too.

So, if you’re one of those people who can’t seem to stick to a sleep schedule (you are certainly not alone), we’re going to make that eye-roll-worthy suggestion again: Set a bedtime alarm and hop under your duvet right when it goes off. Conveniently, Apple recently added a bedtime alarm to the iPhone (so on the ball, those guys) t. And if you aren’t sure what time to set that alarm for (when does one need to go to bed, anyway?), this trick should help you land on your perfect bedtime.

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