This is why you should never go to sleep after midnight

According to recent studies, going to bed after midnight would have more harmful consequences than it seems. It can even cause neuronal and behavioural dysfunctions.

Going to sleep after midnight can have serious consequences for your health, here's why
© Once upon a time in Hollywood / Sony Pictures
Going to sleep after midnight can have serious consequences for your health, here's why

This time, I'll go to bed early tonight! You've certainly already said this famous sentence to yourself several times, but it is so hard to apply in reality, isn't it? We finish eating and watching our favourite series, and midnight is already here. A toothbrush, one or two nocturnal thoughts, and some compulsive scrolling already bring us to the early hours of the morning.

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What time do we go to bed?

About half of Britons (48%) go to sleep from around 10 pm to around 11 pm. If you go to sleep at 11 pm and it takes you twenty minutes or so to fall asleep, that's close to only half an hour of sleep before midnight. This precious sleep time is the most restorative for our body. If it is true that these hours of sleep count double before midnight, what are the harmful consequences of staying up past midnight? We explain.

According to a study published in the journal Frontiers in Network Physiology, serious consequences on our health and our brain await the night owls. According to Elizabeth B. Klerman, author of the study:

There are millions of people who stay awake in the middle of the night, and there's pretty strong evidence that their brains don't work as well as they do during the day.

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Why staying up past midnight is dangerous to our health?

Indeed, during the day, our neural activity follows our physical needs. To be active, to eat etc. However, at night, our neural activity is based on a slow physical rhythm because we are supposed to sleep! Staying awake when the sun goes down thus leads to cognitive and behavioural disturbances. Fragmented or insufficient sleep affects the functioning of the brain the next day, explains the researcher.

This is one of the reasons why we tend to eat more fatty and richer foods after midnight. This bad habit, which can lead to 'severe behavioral dysregulation', can also involve, according to the researchers, an increase in addictions such as heavy alcohol consumption.

The study concludes:

These examples demonstrate how negative affect, impaired judgment, and impulsivity during nocturnal wakefulness may increase the incidence and appeal of dangerous ideas, and promote dysregulated behaviors.

This article has been translated from Gentside DE.

Sources used:

Frontiers: The Mind After Midnight: Nocturnal Wakefulness, Behavioral Dysregulation, and Psychopathology

RTL: le sommeil avant minuit est-il vraiment meilleur ?

Elle: Voici pourquoi rester éveillé après minuit est mauvais pour la santé

YouGov: The YouGov Sleep Study: Part one - Sleeping patterns

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