Good news has emerged for anyone who occasionally has to face a sleep-starved period of frenetic activity on the home or work front, as a recent study in the US scientists has revealed that it is possible to “stock up” sleep in advance.
Researchers at the Walter Reed Army Institute split a group of volunteers into two sub-groups, then allowed one sub-group to have more sleep than usual for a week, while the other sub-group had the same amount of sleep as they normally did.
During the second week of the study, the whole group were allowed just three hours of sleep a night, and researchers set them various tasks and activities – some more complex than others.
It quickly became apparent that the volunteers who had been allowed to sleep more in the first week were better equipped to face the sleep deprivation, faring noticeably better in the challenges than those who had only had their regular amount of sleep.
In the words of study leader Tracy Rupp, those who had had extra sleep “showed less performance deterioration with regards to reaction time and alertness than the group that had been given the habitual prior sleep.” The study also found that the people who had stored sleep recovered more quickly from the experiment.
With regard to “napping”, Ms Rupp commented: “Although this study didn’t use napping, it has been shown to be very effective, at least improving performance in the short term.”
Of course, it’s all very well dreaming of more sleep, but the reality is that our home and work environments often don’t allow us time for those extra zzzs. And that’s where spa weekends come into their own.
The calm, relaxing ambience of a spa resort, combined with the fact that you can choose how much – or how little – you do during your two or three-day stay, means that you can accumulate sleep stocks in anticipation of an especially busy period ahead.
After a day spent sampling a variety of activities and therapies, ranging from Pilates and meditation to Body Balancing and Reiki , you’ll find that sleep comes naturally – and that you’re in the perfect place to sleep longer and more deeply than at home.
Whether you choose to embark on spa weekends on your own or in the company of a few good friends, you’ll find that the UK’s state-of-the-art spas and health resorts offer an ideal opportunity to build up your reserves, allowing your body the chance to recharge its energies, ready to cope with the most demanding of schedules.