According to new research from the University of Pennsylvania, instead of hitting the pillow to catch up on missed sleep you should — wait for it — try to stay awake. The study, which will be presented at this year's meeting of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society, claims that between 70 to 80 percent of us could put sleeping problems to bed by avoiding trying to make up for missed Z's.
The research team analyzed a group of 539 people who kept sleep diaries for six months. The group included 394 good sleepers, 36 good sleepers who developed short-term insomnia but recovered, and 31 sleepers who had long-term chronic insomnia.
The study showed that the good sleepers didn’t change the amount of time they spent in bed, while those who had previously developed short-term insomnia spent less time in bed. Yet those who developed chronic insomnia spent an increased amount of time tucked up as their sleep deprival soared.
Director of the Penn Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program, Dr. Michael Perlis, said in a press statement, "Those with insomnia typically extend their sleep opportunity. They go to bed early, get out of bed late, and they nap."
Sound familiar? Well according to Dr. Perlis, "While this seems a reasonable thing to do, and may well be in the short term, the problem in the longer term is it creates a mismatch between the individual's current sleep ability (which is low) and their current sleep opportunity (which is vast, as it has been extended) — and this fuels insomnia."
So next time you’re lying in bed staring at the ceiling and wildly counting sheep, reconsider your nap and think of all the sleep you’ll gain (eventually)...
This post was written by Danielle Fowler. For more, check out our sister site Grazia.