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Why do you go to sleep at the time you do? Why do you wake up when you do? Is it related to a job? Or school? During our life we may change our sleep schedules often. Understanding how our bodies adapt and handle this is important for our health.

Sometimes our bodies are trained to go to sleep and rise on certain schedules. It may not be the ideal schedule for our bodies, but your body is forced to adapting. Primarily, it is because of our responsibilities in life. We have to be at school or work at a certain time, and there is no way to avoid it. So how do we get the most sound sleep, to assure a high performance when you may be sleeping and rising at a time that is not ideal for your body? If you work during the day in an office environment it is likely that you rise when it is dark outside and are traveling home again when it is dark, never truly seeing daylight.

A recent University of Michigan study discovered that getting outside during the day helps people fall asleep more quickly and get more sleep at night. This is not a complete surprise due to other studies that have shown that artificial light just doesn't compare to natural sunlight. So, ideally you need to get out of the office or home at some point during the day to ensure healthy sleep.

This study did shed light, if you will, on other reasons why our bodies can't shut down at night.

A smartphone app created by researchers at the University of Michigan is helping to show us data on how people sleep around the world. The findings showed that women go to sleep earlier and wake up later than men, getting about 30 minutes more sleep on average.

It showed more similarities between the patterns of users 55 and older and more variety for people 30 and under. Middle-aged men get the least amount of sleep with less than the average seven hours per day that the CDC recommends. Overly tired can cause many negative side effects, resulting in a decline in work performance.

Study authors found that the average minimum sleep duration ranged from seven hours and 24 minutes in countries such as Japan and Singapore to a maximum average duration of eight hours and 12 minutes in the Netherlands. The average sleep duration for U.S. residents was 7.87 hours. So are we in the U.S. getting enough sleep? How many hours do you get each night of sound sleep?

If you aren't sure you are getting enough sleep, try monitoring it yourself using an app. I know we say to avoid using your electronics before bed, but in this case, it may help shed light on how you can have more effective sleep.

Here are a few favorite apps for a better sleep from lifehacker.com:

The Fit Bit

Sleep As One

Sleep Cycle

JawBone Up

Sleepbot

For more on this article, click here.

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