It’s a well known fact by now that we Brits aren’t the best at sleeping. In fact, many of us suffer with insomnia, while others just have bad sleeping habits that we can’t seem to kick.
Last year, it was reported that 20 million people in the UK don’t get enough sleep, with those between the ages of 35 and 44 suffering the most. And while you may think that the solution to a bad night’s sleep is to make time for a nap during the day (and we’re certainly guilty of that too), experts say that it might actually be the worst thing you could do to compensate.
According to research by Sealy UK, one in five Brits want to take a nap at work because of poor sleeping habits but experts have revealed that these are the people who should avoid taking naps the most.
We know, we questioned it too – surely a nap is more useful for those who have hardly slept overnight? But Neil Robinson, chief sleep officer at Sealy UK, explains that doing so could do more harm than good.
‘Thinking of taking a nap after a bad night’s sleep? Think again. It may sound strange, but people who struggle to get a good night’s rest are the ones who need to avoid naps the most,’ he explains.
‘If you’re regularly having problems sleeping, having an afternoon siesta can actually make your sleeping problems worse, as it is likely to disrupt your natural waking and sleeping patterns. Unfortunately, the more you feel like you need to nap, the more you need to avoid it.’
However, for those who insist on napping regardless, Neil says that they should be planned and timed strategically. ‘Napping too late or too long can cause problems and leave you feeling worse after the nap,’ Neil continues.
‘This is because our sleep naturally occurs in cycles of around 90 minutes with three layers of non-REM (non-rapid eye movement sleep), with each one deeper than the previous. This means that the longer you sleep for, (over 10-20 minutes), the more likely you are to get into deeper levels of sleep, causing you to wake up feeling groggy and unsettled.’
He also advises that you should time your nap times between 1pm and 3pm as this can help reduce your stress levels, lower blood pressure, and make you feel more alert when you get up, allowing you to function better.
The more you know…