Tell me what time you wake up and I will reveal what type of person you are! No, I am not a fortune teller but there is now evidence to show your sleep patterns reveal a lot about your lifestyle and personality. How much sleep you manage to get is essential to your physical and mental health, according to all the sleep experts out there. It can affect your mood, weight control and productivity at work. It seems there is a genetic element in determining how much sleep we need. This is the conclusion reached by Dr. Ying-Hui Fu of the Department of Neurology at the University of California. Although everybody has different sleep needs and patterns, the following facts are worth bearing in mind:
- About 25% of Americans feel they are not getting enough sleep half of the time.
- A quarter of teens are only getting 6.5 hours sleep a night when they should be getting nine hours.
- Forty-one million Americans are getting less than six hours sleep every night.
Here are five different types of sleep patterns. Which one do you fit into?
1. Are you a morning person?
If you like waking and getting up early, you are more likely to shine in the morning and get lots of things done. Your bedtimes are regular and do not vary wildly on the weekends. You like to have a decent breakfast which sets you up for the day. Evenings are less productive for you and you may feel like going to bed very early.
2. Are you a napper?
Some people love a nap in the afternoon. Italian and Spanish timetables have taken this into account, since time immemorial. It is also due to climatic reasons. However, things are changing and there is a proposed labor reform in Spain to shorten the working day by eliminating the siesta! Even if you do not want or need a full siesta of an hour or so, a nap may benefit you.
If you work for an enlightened company, they now provide nap rooms for you to have a snooze, because experts say this can increase productivity, reduce stress and fatigue and lessen the risk of heart disease. Watch the video to learn more.
3. Are you an evening person?
If you are in this category, you may like to burn the midnight oil and party, study or work into the early hours because that is when you feel much more energetic. You prefer to work out in the evenings and you almost always need an alarm clock to wake you up. You do not go in for hearty breakfasts and you are pretty relaxed in regard to mealtimes.
If you are not sure whether you are a morning or evening person, why not take the quiz here?
4. Do you sleep most during the weekend?
Many people struggle through the week on about 4-6 hours a sleep a night because of work pressure, long commutes and late nights. To make up your sleep deficit, you may sleep very late on the weekends or spend an afternoon in bed. The good news is this can partially help you to recover. The bad news is this is not a valid long-term strategy and does not always work to get you back to normal. This irregular type of sleep pattern can negatively impact:
- Your immune system
- Mood swings
- Attention span and focus
- Increase food cravings which will lead to obesity
This was the result of some research carried out by the Penn State University College of Medicine.
5. Do you find it difficult to wake up?
There could be many reasons for this. It may be you are going to bed too late or you have a disturbed sleep pattern, caused by barking dogs or a snoring partner. There may be issues with insomnia, restless legs or sleep apnea. Your problem now is you have a very short time to get up, dressed and out of the house. This can be very stressful.
If you are fed up with loud alarm clocks, try a dawn simulator or a clock fitted with aromatherapy beads which can range from coffee to lavender. Some sadistic inventors have come up with a flying clock which takes off from the bedside table once it rings. Then, you have to chase it round the room and catch it before it stops bleeping. Not my ideal alarm clock!
Whatever type of sleep pattern you match, there is still the problem in getting up as painlessly as possible. Here are suggestions to make it less traumatic. If you are one of those rare types who can jump out of bed, ready to go, then skip this bit!
- Buy an alarm clock with a pleasant sound or with one of the new features mentioned above.
- Forget the snooze button – the sleep quality is rubbish.
- Set the alarm to go off at the latest practical moment.
- Try stretching exercises before actually getting up.
- Exercise if you feel like it – it works for some people in giving them an energy boost.
How do you deal with getting the right amount of sleep and also with getting up? Let us know in the comments below.
Featured photo credit: Lose your sleep/Scott McLeod via flickr.com