Terrible sleep mistake we’re all making

 

It's easy to fall into bad habits when you're on holidays, especially when it comes to your sleep.

Knowing that you don't have to roll out of bed when the alarm goes off is music to our ears.

But experts have warned that too much sleep isn't good.

According to Australian sleep specialist Olivia Arezzolo, sleeping in over the holidays misaligns your circadian rhythm - meaning you're less tired that evening.

And while it doesn't sound bad, it causes issues late at night when you do actually want a good night's rest.

"This is a problem when you have to get up early again, as you'll be suffering major fatigue - cue grogginess, irritability and exhaustion," Ms Arezzolo tells news.com.au

"Studies show those staying up late are more likely to have a higher Body Mass Index (BMI) even if you still attain seven to eight hours of sleep."

The Christmas break isn’t an invitation to constantly sleep in. Picture: iStock
The Christmas break isn’t an invitation to constantly sleep in. Picture: iStock

Each year, about 1.5 million Australians see their doctor about fatigue or exhaustion due to inadequate or ineffective sleep, the Victorian Government states, with some of the most common causes including taking sleep for granted.

Dr Justin Hundloe, GenesisCare thoracic physician and sleep specialist said while most people know skimping on sleep can be detrimental to your health, there is very little public awareness of the impacts associated with "binge sleeping".

"Binge, or over sleeping disrupts your body's regular sleep cycling, and can actually cause you to feel more tired and run down than sticking to your regular schedule," Dr Hundloe tells news.com.au

He said consistency is key to a healthy sleep routine, particularly when entering into the new working year.

"The focus should always be on going to sleep at the same time, getting up at the same time, and allowing seven to nine hours of sleep per night. If people are struggling to maintain a regular sleep schedule then they should consult their GP."

According to experts, binge, or over sleeping disrupts your body’s regular sleep cycling.
According to experts, binge, or over sleeping disrupts your body’s regular sleep cycling.


Sydney-based specialist, Ms Arezzolo said binge sleeping can often lead to unhealthy diet choices.

"People are more likely to eat more fast food and less fruits and veggies. It's not surprising though, staying up late and social events are synonymous where you're likely to indulge in cocktails and canapes."

And this is when alcohol can play a role in sleeping patterns.

"Many of our patients are surprised to learn the impact alcohol and sugar has on sleep," Dr Hundloe said. "Binge drinking can affect melatonin, the hormone that makes people feel sleepy, for up to a week afterwards.

"Digestive discomfort as a result of over eating is also a huge contributing factor to disruptive sleep. Avoid eating any food that will cause reflux or stomach discomfort."

Dr Hundloe recommends avoiding sugar before bed to stop the body from having a sugar high before bedtime.

"We understand the time of year means catching up with family and friends, late nights and an increased consumption of alcohol and sugar, but there are a handful of things people can do to stay on top of their sleep this Christmas period."


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