Celebrating Sleep

Our Features Editor Alex takes us through another great blog post, this time, why we sleep!

There was a news article on the TV the other day about teenagers and their sleeping patterns. Research showed that they actually have a different circadian rhythm to the rest of us – that ebb and flow of tiredness that makes sure we kip when we need to and are alert when should be. They genuinely do work better when allowed to go to bed later and get up later.

Back in January’s “This Week We’re Loving”, which I was looking after that month (we take turns!), I recommended a book called “Why We Sleep” by a neuroscientist called Matthew Walker. I bought the book immediately, and have just got to the bit where he talks about this. Children have an early-early rhythm, teenagers have a late-late rhythm, and then we mature into a sort of medium-medium rhythm. As we get older, it moves back towards childhood, the author says, and we’re best suited again to early nights and early rises.

As a lifelong fan of sleep, I’m a bit biased about this book, but Mr Walker feels really strongly about sleep and its health benefits. It’s well worth a read!

Read our post about getting a good night’s sleep! 

A lot of people contacted the BBC to say they were quite sceptical about teenagers sleeping patterns being later, and that they were just prone to laziness. Which is a bit of a shame. It’s good to be sceptical, but the science is strong behind this one!

Apparently it’s also a myth that we need less as we get older – we need exactly the same amount, it’s just that we’re not as good at getting it. Oh, and post-lunch sleepiness is a real thing – it’s not because of what we have or haven’t eaten, we’re programmed to have an afternoon nap. Our rhythm is based around two sleeps per day.

A nap – even a wee one – has been proven to increase your memory afterwards.

We treat ourselves to things all the time – food, haircuts, clothes – why not treat yourself to something absolutely free and guaranteed to be good for you? An early night!

Let us know how you sleep in the comments below! Do you squeeze in a nap? Do you writers get your heads down after lunch? And when do you find you’re at your best? Morning or evening?

Take your copy of the “Friend” with you on your early night’s sleep with a weekly subscription!