It goes without saying that getting the right amount of quality sleep is extremely important to your physical and mental health. However, research has suggested over 50% of adults believe they don’t get enough sleep at night, which not only results in you feeling groggy, irritable and tired, but can lead to bigger problems, like insomnia, high blood pressure and depression.
As a self-proclaimed sleep expert, I’m always on the lookout for ways to better my sleep. From testing out the best mattresses to trying viral TikTok sleep hacks, I’ll try almost anything to make sure I’m getting a good night’s sleep every night. To find out more about how I can improve my sleeping habits, I spoke to experts at Make My Blinds who pointed me in the direction of its new Sleep Calculator.
The Make My Blinds Sleep Calculator is a simple test that works out how many hours of sleep you need a night and what time you should be going to bed to achieve this. I decided to give it a go, and it turns out I’ve been going to bed at the wrong time for years!
Sleep calculator: how it works and the results
Using the Sleep Calculator was extremely simple. All I had to do was answer a few questions regarding my gender, age and the time I usually wake up in the morning. I will say that I was initially surprised by the age differences on the test, as there seemed to be a large gap between ages 3-12, 13-21 and then 22-64. This made me a little hesitant about the results, but after answering questions about my diet, bedroom temperature and exercise habits, I felt a bit more confident in my test results.
When asked to provide my typical wake up time, I realised that I was probably not doing the best for my sleep as my wake up time varies. Even though one of the rules of good sleep hygiene is to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day, I tend to wake up at different times on weekdays and weekend days. Typically, I wake up between 7am and 9am, so I went bang in the middle with 8am.
Other questions I was asked included my diet (meat eater), when I have my biggest meal (dinner), when I prefer to workout (evening), my ideal bedroom temperature (15.6-20°), what I regularly consume (caffeine and alcohol), activities before bed (reading and phone), what wakes me up in the night (sound), how I limit light in my bedroom (blackout blinds) and my sleep position (side). Other questions also looked into if I had any sleep or health conditions.
Once answering these questions, the Sleep Calculator said that my suggested bedtime was 10:25pm so I can get 9:15 hours of sleep and six sleep cycles. The reasoning behind this is it’s recommended for adults to get 7-9 hours of sleep and 4-6 sleep cycles a night. The calculator went on to explain that women need 20 minutes more sleep than men, so if I start to fall asleep at around 10:25pm, I should be able to wake up feeling refreshed at 8am the next morning.
My other results showed that as a meat eater, I should limit eating high-protein foods before bed so I don’t spike my blood sugar. It also recommended having dinner two to four hours before bed to make sure I’m not uncomfortable when trying to get to sleep by being too full or waiting for my food to digest (see how eating late at night affects your sleep for more details).
I tend to get into bed around 10 but I postpone turning off the lights and trying to get to sleep for 30 minutes to an hour. After seeing my results, I realised that I typically fall asleep closer to 11pm, which limits the amount of sleep I’m getting, especially if I’m waking up closer to 7am in the morning.
To find out how else I can improve my sleep, Make My Blinds experts explained that the environment we sleep in can influence how good or bad our sleep patterns are. They explained that “as lighter mornings approach, the amount of natural light entering your bedroom can disrupt your sleep quality, so it’s important to make the room as dark as possible for as long as possible.”
Make My Blinds advised that “one of the best ways to achieve this is by investing in blackout blinds or the best smart blinds as they’re cost-effective and will help block out any natural light.” The experts also recommended sleeping in a neat and tidy bedroom to relax the body and mind and ensure your space is relaxing and free from technology and distractions.
For more sleep tips, try these 5 Scandinavian sleep hacks for the best night’s sleep the Nordic way.