Some people with sleeping problems spend too much time in bed trying to get more sleep. Sleep consolidation is a method of trying to compress the total time in bed to match the total amount of sleep needed. Overall, this improves sleep.
- Determine the average total sleep time. Consider the following example: you go to bed at 11pm, but do not fall asleep until 1am. Then wake at 3am and cannot fall back asleep until 3:30am. You wake again at 5am, and cannot fall back asleep until 6am. You then wake up in the morning at 7am. In this example, you are spending 8 hours in bed, but only really getting 4.5 hours sleep.
- Take the total amount of sleep you actually get, and add 30 minutes (This would equal 5 hours in the above example).
- Set a consistent wake time in the morning. This should remain unchanged through the week, even on weekends. (for example, assume you have to wake up at 7am every day for work. You should also wake up at 7am on weekends).
- Set your initial bedtime by counting back from your morning wake-up time. (In our example, you would count back 5 hours from 7am. Therefore, your bedtime would not be until 2am).
- When you first start this process, you will feel like you are not getting enough sleep. However, should soon find yourself sleeping more consistently through the night. (In this example, sleeping from 2am until 7am without frequent awakenings).
- As you consolidate your sleep, begin to lengthen your sleep time by going to bed 30 minutes earlier each week, until you eventually get enough sleep that you feel refreshed in the morning and through the day. Most people need between 6 and 8 hours of sleep per night.