After a long work week, it’s extremely tempting to sleep in for an extra few minutes (or hours!) on the weekend. But according to a sleep expert, having a lie-in could be damaging to your health.
I’ve been covering sleep and wellness on T3 for a couple of years now, and while I know the benefits of having good sleep hygiene, I’m often guilty of trying to catch more ZZZ’s on Saturday and Sunday. But despite how cosy your best mattress is, sleeping isn’t as good for you as you might have initially thought.
To find out more, I spoke to Max Kristen, sleep expert at Panda London, who explained four reasons why you shouldn’t have a lie-in and how to enjoy sleeping in without negatively affecting your sleep and health.
4 reasons why you shouldn’t have a lie-in
Disrupted sleep patterns
Spending too much time in bed can have a dramatic effect on your sleep quality. This is because “extended periods in bed can disrupt your natural sleep-wake cycle, leading to irregular sleep patterns, difficulty falling asleep at night and daytime sleepiness,” says Kristen. Instead, try to stick to your normal sleep schedule by going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, in order to regulate your body’s internal clock. Alongside keeping to your normal sleeping hours, make sure you’re getting enough natural light exposure to support your sleep routine.
Sluggishness and reduced productivity
Is there such a thing as too much sleep? Yes and it can leave you feeling sluggish and unproductive. Sleeping for longer than normal or bed rotting can contribute to “cognitive sluggishness and impaired concentration”, according to Kristen. “Regular mental stimulation is important for maintaining cognitive function. Spending excessive time in bed can lead to a decrease in overall productivity” which can make daily tasks and responsibilities more challenging if you delay getting out of bed.”
“If lying in becomes a frequent habit, it can lead to social isolation,” says Kristen. Oversleeping or lying in bed all day not only leads to feelings of isolation and loneliness but it can also affect your relationships as you could miss our on activities and social engagements.
Physical health issues
While the occasional lie-in can be refreshing, having one too many can lead to physical health issues. Kristen states that “remaining sedentary for extended periods can lead to physical health issues such as stiffness, muscle atrophy, and poor circulation… Lack of physical activity and disrupted sleep patterns may contribute to weight gain over time, as a sedentary lifestyle and irregular sleep can affect metabolism and appetite regulation.” With this, it’s important to listen to what your body needs and try to engage in regular exercise to maintain a healthy body.
In general, Kristen suggests aiming for moderation when it comes to sleeping in on the weekends. If you can’t resist a lie-in, adding just 30 minutes to an hour of extra sleep for a weekend lie-in shouldn’t do too much damage but any longer than that can cause issues.