A recent survey found that, next to the weather, one of the most favourite topics of discussion among adults was sleep. The survey might not have been scientific but there’s no doubt that we do complain to each other when we don’t get enough shuteye between the sheets.
Experts say our circadian clock is actually more sensitive than people realise. Our circadian clock is an internal system that regulates hormone levels to promote sleep at night and alertness during the day. Doctors believe our circadian clocks naturally start secreting sleep-promoting melatonin around 9pm and levels stay elevated throughout the night before dropping off in the morning.
For that reason, they say getting up early and napping later in the day is better than sleeping in very late in an effort to make up sleep time. “The light exposure in the morning right after your sleep period is most important for keeping those regular biological rhythms going,” said a spokesperson for the US National Sleep Foundation. Just 20 minutes of napping was enough to leave you feeling refreshed as long as it didn’t occur too close to bedtime, added the spokesperson.Sleep researchers also found that sleep-deprived people snacked more in the evenings and estimated that the loss of one hour’s sleep resulted in the person eating an extra 200 calories the following day.