T Nation

Sleep Before/After Midnight


The ostrich legs article sort of hints at something I've heard a number of times in various forms: that every hour of sleep before midnight is worth two hours of sleep after midnight. I've seen other forms too, which use 2am as the cutoff point. Now, it seems intuitively plausible considering that humans evolved long before the invention of electricity, and had to sleep on natural day/night cycles. At the same time, you'd think that as long as you established a constant sleep rhythm, even someone who works 3rd shift could operate just fine.

I've done a bunch of searches trying to find out if there is anything to the advice, but I haven't found anything. Is there scientific evidence that someone who works 3rd shift will operate worse in life and in the gym than someone who sleeps from 9pm - 5am? Or is this just bro advice?


I would like to know this also.

On a related note I've read about some research that suggests that according to the human biorythm a day should equal 25 hours instead of 24.


I think it's garbage.

My sleep hours have always been irregular to say the least because I'm a night owl, and enough sleep is enough sleep, period.


So people working third shift are fucked then? lol.


Edit post above: Guilty of skimming again; it sounds like BS to me. An hour of truly restful deep sleep = an hour of truly restful sleep in my opinion.


I worked night shift for 14 years and had my best gains during those years. However I was in my 20's then. Now in my mid 30's I dont know if I could hang at night. Being in the medical field my whole life this is a constant topic of discussion among medical professionals. No real conclusive evidence based medicine on shift workers and life issues i.e. health, divorce rates, suicide etc. Been a few small studies but conflicting data. In my medical opinion "average" person needs 6-8 hours straight good sleep regardless of time to get best benifits.


Read this. If I didn't have evening clients I would do this. Fall asleep at 8:30-12, wake for 2-3 hours, then sleep from 3-6:30. I am hella productive mentally from midnight until 2am.


Doesn't Ronnie Coleman go to sleep at about 3am?


The body is better suited to sleeping in a dark environment, but every hour before midnight being worth 2 hours to total bullshit. I bet if you slept from 8pm - midnight every night you would feel like total shit after a few days.

And for the record, I usually go to bed at about 8am and wake up around 3pm and I am fine as long as I get 7-8 hours.


I've heard it from enough good sources that I believe it. I have noticed that I seem to feel better sleeping from 10-8 than 2-12. Obviously you can still get along fine sleeping after midnight, but I don't think it is optimal.


I've always wanted to try this.




Totally just bro advice man.

Check out this study:


Just bortarded if ya ask me.


Thanks DJHT. The anecdotal "evidence" seems to cut both ways so I'm going to assume it's all equal. I'm actually going to invest in some room darkening shades though.


Here's a chart that illustrates the natural circadian rhythm of humans. I've always been told to be in bed by 10:00 pm, but my own experience is that I feel best when I go to bed at 1:00 am and wake up at 10:00 am.


Matt Kroczaleski works night shifts at a pharmacy and sleeps a few hours a day, he is doing alright.


That's nothing, I work at a meth lab and I don't sleep at all and I'm doing JUST GREAT!!!


I work nights as a nurse. It sucks, so bedtime is 0700 for me. My sleep sucks, I get up at 1330 when my wife leaves (time to watch the 21 month old), and I get a nap around 1700 or 1800 for an hour or two if I'm lucky.


you know what, this is what i told myself when i was super busy with school and only slept 4-5 hrs tops, but the truth is i function WAY better with sleep. As soon as i got home from school i gained 10 lbs pretty quick. NO it can't be pegged to sleep patterns, But i felt like i was functioning much better at this time. I guess what im trying to say is not everybody is a Matt Kroc


I feel best going to bed around 1130, waking around 9-930.

but often go to bed at midnight. Just because a lot of people say something is true doesn't make it true.

As long as you're getting enough QUALITY sleep, I don't see it making much of a difference.