If you get frustrated because you can’t sleep eight hours straight, you might be aiming for a goal that really isn’t the best thing for your health.
In fact, two sleep experts from Australia say there’s a better way to sleep — and it’s in shifts!
Read more: 8 top-rated apps for a better night’s sleep
Health benefits of splitting your sleep
Melinda Jackson, a senior research fellow at RMIT University, and Siobhan Banks, a senior research fellow at the Centre for Sleep Research at the University of South Australia, are making the case for sleeping in two separate chunks.
Looking through history, the researchers found loads of evidence that people used to have a “first” and a “second” sleep, and they argued it has a lot of benefits.
They even quoted Charles Dickens’ 1840 novel “Barnaby Rudge”:
He knew this, even in the horror with which he started from his first sleep, and threw up the window to dispel it by the presence of some object, beyond the room, which had not been, as it were, the witness of his dream.
There are places where people still sleep twice a day, such as Spain, where workers take a two-hour afternoon siesta.
Flexibility with work and family time is one of the advantages of a split-sleep schedule, researchers say, but there are other ways it could improve your life:
- More natural for our body clocks
- Could increase alertness, improve mood
- May fight insomnia
One disadvantage noted by the experts is that it might not be practical to ask your boss for a schedule change that would allow two bursts of sleep.
Click here to read the full findings from the researchers.