A while ago I wrote about sleep debt its affect on day to day life. This time I want to introduce the idea of a sleep bank, where you can ‘deposit’ sleep hours before a busy week.
Studies have shown that there are benefits for accumulating sleep – Volunteers were split into two groups and one group slept normally for a week and the other accumulated sleep, both groups then had a week of sleep deprivation and only slept 3 hours a night. Those who had accumulated extra sleep performed better at mental and physical tasks, even towards the end of the week.
This is useful information for those in extreme circumstances such as soldiers before a big military operation but how can we use it in day to day life?
If you know that you are going to have a busy week – exams, traveling abroad for work, a relative with a scheduled operation etc, then you can plan to sleep an extra half hour to an hour each night the week before. You can also bank extra time through naps (but remember to keep them to early afternoon).
Try and keep to a regular routine and accumulate your extra sleep by going to bed early rather than lying in late, as you do not want to disturb your night time sleep. It is better to go to bed half an hour early each night, than have a lie-in for two hours one morning.
If you have children with a busy schedule of exams coming up, then ensure they go to bed early in the days leading up to the exams as anxiety and last minute studying may hinder sleep the night before.
If you are a competitive athlete and have been training for a big run or event then banking your sleep may help give you that edge on race day.
Going away for the weekend but will be sleeping a strange (and possibly uncomfortable) bed or be burning the candle at both ends for a weekend city break? Then planning your sleep ahead will help you make the most of your time away.
However please bear in mind that just like a bank account – if you already have a sleep debt, then trying to bank sleep will not work in your favour as you will still be repaying your debt!
Charlotte Welply is a life coach and speaker and specializes in insomnia and other sleep difficulties.
There are links on her website www.charlottewelply.com to free guided mediations and pamphlets to help you and your children sleep, as well as information on upcoming courses. You can also follow her on facebook https://www.facebook.com/charlottewelply and twitter @CharlotteWelply for tips, news and information about the world of sleep.
Category: HEALTH AND FITNESS