With so many of us juggling work, children and social lives, it’s perhaps no wonder that the average amount of sleep we’re getting has declined in recent years.
I had no idea that cutting back on sleep by just an hour or two a night could have such a devastating
effect on everything from my concentration, memory and patience to skin tone.But that’s what I discovered within days of starting a fascinating experiment with me as a guinea pig.
For the study, my sleep is to be six hours a night for a five-day stretch, with bedtimes at 11pm and my alarm at 5am. Surveys have found this is a common pattern for those who regularly have six hours.
And the effects are noticeable. After just two days, I’m tired, snappy, forgetful and tearful. I’m also constantly hungry and craving sweet snacks to pep me up.
Most shocking, though, are the results of the scan of my face. My pores
have more than doubled in size and the red areas have increased by 50 per cent. No wonder my husband declares: ‘You look lousy
I’m appalled and begin to mentally tot up the damage my early years of motherhood may have wrought.
To make matters worse, Dr Guy Meadows confirms my worst fears: ‘You can’t repair a sleep debt by having loads more sleep the next day. Your daytime activities are like a house party, and after every one of those you need a clean-up operation to remove the toxins amassed during the day.
From now on, I’m going to make sure I get the full eight hours —or I fear I will suffer the consequences.