It’s hard going to bed at 7pm, especially when it’s still daylight, food hasn’t been properly digested, you haven’t had the chance to unwind from work and others in the household are still up. It’s harder still if you’re a nightowl. If you are, it’s not worth “getting caught up in a cycle of frustration”, Junge says.
“We can all cope with reduced sleep every now and then,” Junge says.
Though we can cope, it’s important to be aware of the short-term risks that come with not getting enough sleep such as impaired ability to drive, operate machinery, and “be pleasant to fellow citizens”.
So, if you can manage to go to bed early to compensate for the early wake-up then she recommends it: “If you can alter your sleep schedule go for it, that’s the wisest thing to do.”
If not, napping, to a degree, can nip in the bud the crankiness and lethargy that come from being overtired.
“Short naps when sleep-deprived are very helpful,” Junge says. The reason short naps are better than long naps is that it typically takes 20-30 minute to drift into a deeper stage of sleep. “If the nap is longer than this it’s likely the person will wake up out of deep sleep which means they are groggy, confused, disoriented.”
“Short naps when sleep-deprived are very helpful.”
Moira Junge, Sleep Health Foundation
She adds: “That’s why the road safety messages about having short naps are often recommended to be 15-20 minutes maximum.”
It generally takes 5-to-10 minutes (if not more) to fall asleep so setting an alarm for 30 minutes reduces the likelihood of waking up out of deep sleep.
The other reason long naps aren’t recommended is that they can disrupt our normal routine too much and make it difficult to fall asleep at night when we are trying to. Junge adds everyone is slightly different: “Longer naps might be appropriate for some people – experimenting with this is best to work out your sweet spot.”
Experimenting with nappuccinos can bring more bang to your nap time buck too. What? Caffeine levels peak about 30 minutes after we have a coffee so drinking a cappuccino (or latte if you’re Melburnian) before a 20-minute nap provides the double dose benefits of sleep and extra alertness.
Sip on that. Or just record the game.
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