Words by Jenny Stallard
I wasn’t always a non-morning person. My mother tells me when I was small – five or so – I’d come into my parents’ room singing ‘It’s the morning! What shall we do today?!’ Fast forward 30 or so years and now, when I wake, it’s as if I am creeping out of a pit of hibernation. Every. Single. Morning.
I’ve just turned 39, and I can’t bring myself to spend the rest of my life berating myself for not wanting to skip round the local park before a home-cooked breakfast and then work. You could argue that if I try it then it might change things. But you’d have to wake me up first, and as it so happens sleeping in is actually good for you. Seriously, if you don’t believe me then just carry on reading…
1) Your work will benefit
Sleep deprivation costs employers more than £34 billion through lost productivity each year, according to British mattress manufacturer Hyde & Sleep. However, people then assume that means you should go to bed earlier, right? I’d argue it’s entirely subjective, and that the early rising brigade are probably getting under the duvet while I watch new shows like Big Little Lies. Why does the extra hour mean more in the morning? That just feels like misplaced smugness to me. You know the type: ‘oh I’ve been up since 5!’ What do you want, a medal? Bet you’re on the chocolate and coffee by 4pm.
2) Lie-ins are the antidote to ‘bad’ snoozing.
There are endless studies about why hitting the snooze button is bad for you. Google it, and you’ll find reams of them. But I’m not talking about snoozing, here. I’m talking about proper, extra sleep. We all want more sleep. Well here’s the simple answer – have more! When I lie-in and don’t set the alarm I feel in control and relaxed; I own the day in a really positive way.
3) Sleep is just as important as diet and exercise.
I found the joyful nugget of information above on Sleepfoundation.org. This to me confirms what my poor body has always tried to tell me via the medium of mild nausea whenever I’ve got up early to try and exercise – shunning bed to go for a run, or do yoga or HIIT is counter-productive. Also, turns out (wo)man is the only mammal that willingly delays sleep. WTF?! Get your sleep, and get it in the morning. I love how the sunlight starts creeping in as I turn over and snuggle back down under my wool duvet (temperature controlling), big berry-red throw and posh bedding.
4) Sleep’s good for our health.
In his new book, Sleep, sports sleep coach Nick Littlehales says: ‘In recent years, the importance of sleep for our health has been proven with clinical evidence.’ Well that’s good enough for me! He might not be talking about lie-ins, specifically, but I have found when training (I’ve done the London Marathon and Tough Mudder) that a good, long, deep sleep is essential. Then you wake up naturally, and exercise the next day when you feel like it, not when your phone buzzes to tell you that you ‘must’. Plus, it’s even possible that weekend lie-ins can reverse the increased risk of diabetes, according to a study from the University of Chicago. I think a lie in is good for the brain, too. Waking up to do more work means more screen time, which can’t be good.
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5) Night owls can be as productive if not more so as morning people.
There are many women in business who extoll that extra hour of ‘me time’. As far as I’m concerned, none of the things you could do if you woke up deliberately early are better than staying asleep. I’m a night owl – not necessarily a party animal, mind you – I wrote a lot of my novel between 11pm and 1am. I don’t see why an extra hour first thing is better – why not an extra hour during the middle of the day? That’s when I hit the gym or swimming pool. How many of these ‘early risers’ have a full lunch break? Or know the joy of a late night TV watching sesh? An extra hour later in the day is still an extra hour. Happy lie-ins, everyone!