The great sleep problem: Why we’re getting too much (and not enough)

It seems a common problem. We get the right amount of sleep, yet we’re still tired. One group of researchers think they know why.



It’s a truth universally acknowledged, that those in possession of fatigue is in want of a nap. It’s what we’re repeatedly told. If you are tired, go to sleep.

Overworking is one facet, interrupted sleep is another, but what about those lucky few, those who nail the recommended seven-plus hours of shut-eye but are still wandering the earth half-asleep?

Well according to AsapSCIENCE, there’s a pile of reasons why you’re still feeling the drag.

For one, you may be doing too little, as light exercise can leave you more energised, despite the fact that it is tiring. Flash your mind back to the last time you worked out. That evening you probably slept insanely well, with the eggheads of the aforesaid institution believing that those who exercise sleep better, even if they sleep the same amount of time.

Another is our reliance on caffeine to stay awake/alive/existing. Per ScienceAlert: “…even though most of us wouldn’t guzzle espresso straight before bed, the window for avoiding caffeine is actually much longer. Caffeine blocks adenosine, a neurotransmitter that accumulates in the brain throughout the day, making us drowsy in the evenings.”

Simply put, if you have coffee six hours before bed, it will affect both your circadian rhythms and your ability to drop off.

It’s probably worth watching the clip if you can stay asleep through it. Unless you are dealing with ‘social jetlag’, which is extreme fatigue enabled by circumstance, work and responsibility. “For instance, a person who is naturally a night owl but must start work at 7am is at a higher risk of being socially jetlagged,” explained Professor Robert Adams, a sleep specialist with the University of Adelaide and the Sleep Health Foundation and lead researcher of a new study into Australian sleep habits. “And the same can be said of morning larks who routinely stay up late on international work calls.”

Hope that helps. That, or you’re just not built for the 9-5 lifestyle.


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