After spending the whole day working, chances are you want to make the most of your free time and the rest of the day. Whether you meet a friend for drinks or catch the latest episode of your favourite TV series, your sleep can often take second place.
However, Dr Michael Mosley has revealed that going to bed one hour earlier than usual could offer some impressive health benefits.
The simple bedtime habit could even protect your brain from disease and reduce your risk of dementia.
Speaking on his BBC Radio 4 podcast Just One Thing, the health guru said: “Research [shows] that early to bed, early to rise really does make you healthy, wealthy and wise.
“I’ve been encouraged to learn that an early night sleep is good for the heart, good for the mood and may even ward off dementia.”
Dr Mosley clarified that this advice is not for insomniacs, but for people who can fall asleep but put off going to bed. “If you don’t have serious sleep issues, then beginning your bedtime routine an hour earlier than normal can be really beneficial,” he said.
The doctor explained that getting an early night can be really good for your brain.
He said: “When you’re in deep sleep, which typically occurs in the early part of the night, your body clears toxins from your brain.
“This was shown in a fascinating study, from Boston University, where they discovered that during deep sleep a wave of cerebrospinal fluid, the liquid that sits around your brain and spinal cord, rushes in and washes away waste that has accumulated during the day.”
The doctor added that this could help explain why night owls, people who tend to be active late at night, are more likely to suffer from neurological problems as well as psychological ones.
Apart from boosting your brain health, getting an extra hour in bed could also be good for your heart and your waistline, according to the doctor.
The podcast host referenced a recent study which analysed the sleeping habits of more than 100,000 Brits, and found that those who went to bed between 10pm and 11pm were 25 percent less likely to develop heart disease over a five-year period than those who went to sleep at midnight or later.
Furthermore, going to sleep earlier could also help regulate your appetite, reducing cravings often linked to weight gain, Professor Esra Tasali, from the University of Chicago’s Sleep Centre, who appeared on the podcast explained.
While all of these benefits sound impressive, it can be difficult to wind down earlier than you’re used to. Fortunately, Tasali shared her tips for building a strong bedtime routine.
The professor said: “Find your own individual bedtime routine – that could be reading a book, that could be listening to music, something that would relax you at night to be conducive to sleep.
“We always talk about light exposure which should be of course limited at night.
“Also staying away from stimulating activities – our phones, social media, or email or work.”