After a long, hectic week working long hours and missing out on quality sleep, it’s no surprise many of us choose to catch up on shut-eye at the weekend.
Experts however are expressing their concern that bingeing on sleep at the weekends could be negatively impacting our health – leading to a disorder they refer to as ‘sleep bulimia’.
Sleep expert and author of The Secret Life Of Sleep, Kat Duff, says: “As a culture we tend to starve ourselves of sleep during the week and binge on it at the weekend.
“We assume that if we don’t get enough sleep we can make up for it by lying in on a Saturday morning.”
Duff explains that catching up on sleep is far more complex than a lie-in. In order to fully recover from sleep lost, you need extra sleep over the following few days – depending on how much sleep you need to catch up on.
This however can be very difficult for those of us leading busy lifestyles, and as a result many do not fully recover from sleep we have lost.
“This explains why when we sleep in at the weekend we feel great for a few hours after we wake but then we start experiencing symptoms of tiredness again,” Duff says.
It is thought that sleep bulimia affects around 40% of the British population – a number that is steadily rising due to our increasingly demanding lifestyles. Today we are working longer hours than previous generations and the shaky job situation has increased pressure to perform to high standards.
Further causing problems is the growing presence of smartphones and tablets in the bedroom. Such technological devices omit a blue light that suppresses the sleep-inducing hormone, melatonin.
Although the amount of sleep each person needs differs, the recommended time slot is seven to nine hours to ensure optimum physical health and cognitive function.
If you want to get your sleeping habits under control, hypnotherapy is becoming increasingly recognised as an effective treatment for teaching the brain healthier behaviours. For more information on how hypnotherapy can help, please see our sleep disorders page.
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