We’ve all been there. Your alarm’s going off, you just want a few more minutes in bed, so you hit snooze and try to eek out your night’s sleep.
But you might be doing more harm than good, according to a sleep expert.
Constantly snoozing your alarm doesn’t actually give you any physical benefit at all, according to Professor Jason Ellis, director of the Northumbria Centre for Sleep Research.
Prof Ellis appears on the first episode of Britain is a Nation Of…. a new podcast by Yahoo News UK.
Prof Ellis said: “What that does is any sleep that you get after that is going to be called ‘surfing’.
“So you’re going to go from wake to a very light sleep, wake to light, wake to light.
“The problem is it actually has no benefit for you. In physical terms you need deep sleep and you need REM sleep in order to refresh the mind and the body.
“So this light sleep, all it’s going to do is weaken the drive to sleep later on at night. That’s why napping’s not good for you either.”
How to nap properly
“If you are going to nap,” said Prof Ellis, “You should really do it for less than 30 minutes so it’s not enough to go into a deep sleep cycle because otherwise your body wants to finish it off.”
It’s when you go over that 30 minutes that you run the risk of feeling worse than before you tried for 40 winks, he added.
“Have you ever had one of those naps where you have woken up and felt absolutely awful?
“That’s your body trying to finish a sleep cycle and you’re trying to actually do something else.
“The two are not friends, believe me.”
The key then, is keeping a nap short or having a proper sleep so you have a full ‘sleep cycle’ which takes 90 minutes, he said.
What about a ‘turbo nap’?
Some people swear by the so-called ‘turbo nap’ – drinking a cup of strong coffee then settling down for a 30-minute top, which is apparently the time it takes for the caffeine to kick in.
That way you wake up fresh from a nap as well as with a caffeine boost.
But it might not be the answer to all your problems just yet, said Prof Ellis.
“There’s clearly no scientific evidence behind it,” he said.
“There are some good clues in there though and it’s certainly worth a study or two.”