Can a lie-in make you healthier?
Every morning, my alarm goes off, I wake from my slumber and hit the snooze button. Then I crawl back under the duvet to grab a few more minutes of shut-eye. "Tonight I'll go to bed early," I tell myself. But, evening comes and I get a second wind, completely forgetting about my early night.
Why am I finding it so difficult to get a good night's sleep? And is it a problem?
The amount we sleep has declined over the years and insomnia is on the rise. Modern technology is often blamed. The light from our smartphone affects levels of melatonin - the sleep-inducing hormone - keeping us wide awake into the early hours.
Lack of sleep can badly affect our health and memory. We need deep sleep to move our memories from short-term storage into long-term storage. If we don't get enough sleep, we could lose these memories. This is especially disastrous for people studying for exams.
So, how can we learn to sleep better? For Professor Till Roenneberg, it's important people recognise they have an internal body clock. This determines whether you are a night owl, an early bird or somewhere in the middle. We don't have any choice. "It's like feet," he said "Some people are born with big feet and some with small feet, but most people are somewhere in the middle." Our work schedules are out of sync with our natural sleep patterns. He says this leads to "social jetlag" where people feel like they are constantly in the wrong time zone.
Paul Kelley - a sleep expert from the University of Oxford - says that most people are getting up too early. He believes work and school should start a few hours later. Many companies are starting to realise more sleep can mean a more productive workforce and are changing work schedules. While in South Korea, office workers are heading to relaxation parlours at lunchtime to take power naps in hammocks or massage chairs. This is much healthier than catching forty winks while sitting on the toilet or dropping off at their desks.
So, if like me you find yourself hitting your snooze button every morning - don't feel bad. It's just our body clocks!
get a second wind
the early hours
catch forty winks