This blog post is dedicated to teaching you how to sleep at 10pm because I think it’s important to dive into particulars by using a bedtime example that’s realistic for most people. Most of us can’t (for various reasons) go to bed any earlier than 10pm.
Obviously, you will go to sleep at whatever time suits you best, so you can still use this write-up to help you sleep at a different time by simply recalculating the times.
Resources That Might Help
You might’ve already seen my recent (more general) post about how to sleep early, but if not, it might be a helpful read.
You might also be interested in my blog post about why it’s best to be sleeping during the hours of 10pm to 4am.
Now let’s get down to business… 10pm bedtime business to be exact… 🙂 Here’s how to sleep at 10pm:
Wake Up Early (at 6am or Earlier)
Since this is essentially a blog about waking up early, you knew this suggestion was coming, didn’t you? 🙂
Trust me, though, I’m not just saying this because I’m a morning person. Waking up early at 6am or earlier (I get up at 5:30am) really does help you sleep at 10pm. An early wake-up time starts the (biological) clock for the day and helps keep your circadian rhythm (sleep-wake cycle) on track.
It’s important to train yourself to wake up early in order to be tired enough to sleep early. Your body craves a consistent schedule, which in turn, promotes good physical and mental health. After sticking to an early wake-up time like 6am for a week, you’ll be so much more energetic in the morning and so much sleepier by 10pm – like clockwork!
Avoid Caffeine After 12 Noon
Caffeine is a stimulant and you want as little of it as possible (preferably none!) in your system as you approach your 10pm bedtime.
Some people are more sensitive to the effects of caffeine than others. If you already know that you’re sensitive to caffeine or suffer from anxiety, you will want to be extra strict about this one.
My previous blog post about how to wake up without caffeine will be helpful if you’re looking to quit caffeine for good. I highly recommend phasing out caffeine and saving it for special occasions (early in the day) only.
Keep Yourself Busy (Mentally & Physically) Throughout the Day
A healthy balance of physical and mental activities throughout the day will gradually deplete your daily energy as nature intended, which will help you sleep at 10pm.
This is why it’s ideal to try to fit in some form of physical exercise in addition to some mental tasks every day. Of course, you will rest in between because no one has endless energy, but you get the idea.
This strategy reinforces your newly-crafted circadian rhythm (sleep-wake cycle) that allows you to awaken early in the morning and is how to sleep at 10pm.
Finish Your Workout by 6pm or Earlier
As mentioned in the previous way to sleep at 10pm, you should try to fit in a workout. If you can’t exercise in the morning, don’t worry. I can’t either, actually, as I discussed in this post about how I made the decision to workout after work.
Just make sure when you get around to it in the afternoon or evening that you finish your workout by 6pm at the latest in order to wind down and keep your 10pm bedtime.
For a successful 10pm bedtime, finishing up by 6pm is important. You need to give your heart rate time to get back to normal and for your body to switch off its stressed, cortisol-producing state that naturally accompanies an exercise session.
Avoid Arguments & Stimulating Media in the Evening
If you seriously want to know how to sleep at 10pm, you do it by winding down – not getting all fired up.
This one is a biggie. Do everything in your power to avoid getting yourself worked up or stimulated too late in the evening.
This means avoiding arguments and intense, emotional conversations. If you need to have a difficult discussion, have it during the day (the earlier in the day the better.) You probably already knew this, though. 😉
What you might not have thought about is that watching stimulating media like horror, suspense or action movies – or videos, movies and TV shows that get you sucked into the story are a bad idea as well because you’ll be awake for hours.
Watching or reading the news is an especially horrible idea in the evening! I try my best to avoid the news all the time because it’s nothing but negativity, but that’s a whole other story!
If you must watch something, watch light-hearted or dull things like documentaries, comedies, or classic TV shows. You know, things that make it easy to feel sleepy… Things that won’t get your mind going…
As the William Blake morning quote goes:
Think in the morning. Act in the noon. Eat in the evening. Sleep in the night.William Blake
Turn Off Electronic Devices by 8pm
Despite what some people might believe, some time away from your computer, cell phone, tablet, TV, or video game console is not going to kill you. In fact, consuming media on your electronic devices is probably contributing to keeping you awake too late.
The blue light emitted from electronic devices slows down your nightly production of melatonin (the sleep-inducing hormone that is sensitive to light). By putting your electronics away 2 hours prior to sleeping at 10pm, you can kickstart your melatonin production and make falling asleep by 10pm easy.
In fact, blue light has more of a negative effect on our sleep-wake cycles that we might imagine. In addition to making us take longer to fall asleep, these other negative effects include: less REM (dream state) sleep, and waking up groggy, feeling unrefreshed or difficulty waking up after a full 8 hours of sleep.
Is it really worth it to be scrolling Instagram or watching YouTube until the second you close your eyes at night?
I recommend thinking twice the next time you decide to lie in bed with your phone or tablet up in your face. And if you decide to do it anyway, at least now you know why you never feel refreshed after a so-called full night of sleep…
Use a Blue Light Filter on Electronic Devices
If you do decide to use your electronic devices past 8pm, I highly recommend downloading a blue light filter. In fact, it’s silly not to download one since it’s free.
Blue light filters will tint your screen a reddish color, which cancels out the blue and violet light (which are essentially equal to the brightness of the sun at noon) emitted from your screens by replacing the white with a yellowish-beige color. No one needs to be looking at the sun, so to speak, in the evening.
For laptops and desktop computers, the blue light filter program f.lux is available for free on their website at justgetflux.com. I use it on my laptop and it’s awesome. You just enter your bedtime and let it detect your location – and f.lux takes care of the rest.
Free Blue Light Filter for Laptops & Desktop Computers
In my opinion, f.lux is the best blue light filter for laptops and desktops – better than the built-in night settings on both Windows 10 and Mac OS. But you can use those instead if you wish.
If you’re a Linux user, f.lux works for you, too.
The f.lux software is also available for Android devices and jailbroken iOS devices, but I don’t recommend it because it doesn’t work very well on those. It’s too buggy.
Free Blue Light Filter for Android
Instead, for Android devices, I recommend the one I personally use – Blue Light Filter by Leap Fitness Group (also free).
Free Blue Light Filters for iOS Devices
For iOS devices, there are many free blue light filters available, but since I don’t own an iOS device, I haven’t used any of them.
If you’re running iOS 9.3 or newer try the built-in Night Shift feature. Just tap Settings > Display & Brightness. From there, you can adjust the brightness and set the time you’d like the blue light filter to activate and de-activate.
If I were to set up Night Shift for myself with the intention of sleeping at 10pm and waking up at 6am, I’d set it for 8:00 PM to 6:30 AM. The screenshot below is just a general one I grabbed from a co-worker since I don’t own an iOS device.
Dim the Lights by 8pm or Earlier
Speaking of turning off devices and using blue light filters… dim the lights while you’re at it. After the sun goes down, the harsh, artificial overhead lights are going to start delaying your melatonin production just as much as electronic devices do.
It’s a good idea to dim your lights if they’re on a dimmer, or simply turn them off and light some candles or use a fireplace.
If you don’t want to use candles and don’t have a fireplace (or maybe it’s summertime?), try putting these Nite Switch bulbs with a built-in blue light filter in your lamps or light fixtures. These bulbs also have a daytime setting, so you can easily switch between day and night light.
Reserve Your Bedroom for Sleeping
Doing work, using your smartphone, tablet or laptop, and watching TV in bed are all things that distract us from doing the activities your bed was intended for: Sleeping (and yes, ok… more intimate things if you choose, too.) 🙂
Our brains are very good at associating things, so if we are spending a lot of time engaging with entertainment and work in the space where we sleep, it sends mixed signals to the brain. Doing everything but sleeping in bed makes sleep harder to come by.
If you want a quick, easy way to sleep at 10pm, ban all electronic devices and work-related materials from your bedroom. If you have to use your phone as an alarm clock, plug it in across the room (and put it in Airplane Mode or silence it) so that you won’t be tempted to pick it up while in bed.
Start Your Bedtime Routine No Later Than 8:30pm
Ideally, if I want to go to sleep by 10pm, I would start my bedtime routine at 8pm or by 8:30pm at the absolute latest.
The purpose of a bedtime routine is to trigger a series of habitual relaxing events that you perform on autopilot every night. These relaxing events help you to wind down and effortlessly increase your melatonin production.
Your bedtime routine should start when you dim the lights and turn off your electronics. If you have an e-book reader like the Kindle Oasis, you can use it during your bedtime routine because it reads like paper and does not emit blue light.
By starting to wind down at 8 or 8:30pm, this allows yourself to take your time and enjoy the process – and it gives you more than enough time to actually fall asleep by 10pm. Most people take around 30 minutes to fall asleep unless they’re very tired, so it’s a good idea to climb into bed around 9:30pm if you intend to be asleep by 10pm.
If you’re physically in your bed by 9:30pm, this still gives you a solid hour or so to do things like soaking in a hot bath, reading a book, meditating, listening to relaxing music, taking a stroll around the block, talking about your day, or whatever it is that you consider relaxing.
Maintain a Consistent Wake-Up Time (6am for Most People)
This final way to sleep at 10pm builds on the first way I mentioned, which was to wake up early. The only difference here is that I’m suggesting to stick with your wake-time consistently. As in every day.
Consistency is key when it comes to sleeping at 10pm and even for sleeping well, in general. Heck, consistency is the key to most everything!
Maintaining both a consistent bedtime and wake-up time is beneficial for multiple reasons – one of them being that you’ll be able to easily wake up early and not feel tired.
Another great benefit of a consistently early wake-up time is that you will be able to easily sleep at your target bedtime of 10pm (or whatever time you choose).
My goal here is to make your quest to sleep at 10pm as fail-proof as possible, and a commitment to consistency makes this happen.
That, my friend, is how to sleep at 10pm… I hope these tips helped and that you will use them to your advantage starting today. Good luck!