Monday is coming and you are already thinking the weekend will be when you next get a good night’s sleep? If you use your work-free days to make up for sleep deficiencies, be careful. According to scientists, such techniques have an extremely negative effect on our health! What’s more, lounging in bed for more than 10 hours can hurt us even more than inadequate rest. Why such a quandary?
Although we know that sleep is extremely important, duties, work and stress effectively make sleep difficult or even prevent it. Scientists have been sounding the alarm for years – not enough sleep has many serious health consequences, such as obesity, depression and heart disease. Even one sleepless night reduces our ability to concentrate around the clock, causes mood swings and pushes us towards unhealthy food. However, the latest research shows that not only the lack of adequate sleep is harmful, but also its excess.
Weekend sleeping off
If during the working week we neglect sleep, and at dawn, we leave the bed with “matchsticks keeping the eyes open”, then the weekend sleeping off may seem the only way out. Unfortunately, our body is not easy to cheat, and the lack of proper sleep hygiene will always affect our health or well-being – sometimes with a delayed reaction but eventually! There are no shortcuts in the matter of sleep – we must follow it in the same way as we do our daily duties, e.g. going to work.
In order to regulate your sleep, always go to bed and get up at the same time, regardless of the day of the week. Although many would sigh with disappointment or frustration at this advice, we assure you that after a few weeks of a regular sleep cycle, you won’t want to sleep any longer on the weekend! Maybe you will even stop using the alarm clock?
Too much and too little sleep
A team of scientists from Seoul National University College of Medicine analyzed health data of 133 608 Korean men and women aged 40-69. The researchers divided the participants into four groups:
– less than six hours of sleep
– six to eight hours of sleep
– eight to ten hours of sleep
– over 10 hours of sleep.
Studies have shown that men sleeping less than six hours suffered more often from so-called metabolic syndrome, and therefore their body functioned as though they were leading a very unhealthy lifestyle. The metabolic syndrome includes e.g. increased blood sugar, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and excess fat around the waist.
So it may seem that sleeping more than 10 hours would be best for us. However, both men and women in the last group were more likely to have metabolic syndrome and, the women struggled more often with excess fat around the waist.
How to take care of your sleep?
To enjoy deep and effective sleep you must stick to certain rules. First, you need to watch your body to determine its optimal amount of sleep. Remember, however, that the length of our sleep should be from 6.5 hours to 9 hours daily.
Let’s also take care of our bedroom, e.g. change a worn-out mattress for a new one, unclutter the shelves, accessories and furniture. Perhaps you should also look at your bedding and replace it with a thinner / thicker one or with a different filling? According to research, replacing an ordinary duvet with a weighted blanket can help improve sleep quality, as the gentle pressure has a soothing and calming effect on our nervous system.
It’s also a very good idea to get rid of all electronic devices – lying with a laptop in bed or a TV turned on is a real crime against our own body! Let’s not use a phone in the bedroom either. It’s best to leave it in another room and use a regular alarm clock to wake us up instead.