It often happens, doesn’t it? Someone asks what time you got up, and when you say it was midday, they look at you as if you’re the laziest being on earth. Apparently, it’s a big no-no to rise late. Why is this, and how did it become the norm to rise and sleep at set times?
This article examines some situations in which it’s more than justified for you to stay in your bed, and why you shouldn’t feel guilty about it.
The human is a strange being; we impose all sorts of ‘norms’ on each other, often without any idea how they came about; for example, women can wear skirts and men can’t! Sleep rules are also among those most peculiar norms. They do make sense, however, to some degree.
Not only do we need daylight for the wellbeing of many bodily and cellular functions, but the pattern of sleeping in the dark and maximising the light originated when we were primeval; the dark spelled danger, while daylight meant safety and productivity. To some degree–and because mankind has perpetuated the habit–it still applies. It’s very hard to find work that only necessitates night-time hours or to shop and do activities such as banking during the hours of darkness, so whether we like it or not, daylight is our enforced friend.
With practicality in mind, therefore, below are some occasions on which staying in bed seems the right thing to do.
You Are About To Be Ill
Read that header again; yes, that’s right. It says you’re ‘about to be’ ill.
That sounds silly, right? It isn’t. If you’ve reached that run-down, lethargic stage, the chances are it’s your immunity saying you need a breather. While you sleep, your body’s vital functions receive replenishment; cells renew, the brain is recharged, the heart beats at its resting pace. If your body is telling you rest is needed, take heed.
Taking a long lie-down may save your life, and at least your sanity and ability to keep going.
It Is Your One Day Off In A Few Weeks
Many people experience a self-imposed guilt trip if they sleep late on their day off; it’s a ‘waste of a day’. So, why is sleeping a waste?
If you feel you need more sleep, go for it. It’s likely you’ve been burning the candle at both ends during previous days or weeks, and this begins to show in the speed and accuracy of your brain function; thoughts, actions, and speech are all slower when you’re tired. Eventually, your immune system starts flagging too.
Taking many hours’ extra rest could give you the vital edge at work and the energy boost you’ve been needing. As you age, too, extra sleep can help you stay well. If you don’t have children who will be at risk by you languishing under the duvet, what’s the problem in heading to bed for a few hours, even at midday?
You Have Been Working Shifts
Working shifts, especially if you’re not used to this particular rota, can be a literal killer. It stresses the body and mental health in many ways and if your waking hours see you feeling decidedly jet-lagged, you need to rectify your body-clock.
Taking a daytime sleep can be the only way of achieving this. Sleep all day, head to bed at what’s considered a ‘normal’ time, then restart with a healthier waking cycle.
This is, oddly, the one time when most people understand your need for daytime sleep, but it’s no different to being self-employed and working odd hours through choice; just because a third-party employer imposes shifts doesn’t mean they are any more onerous or sleep-deserving than your own reasons for missing night-time rest!
Read more: How To Create The Perfect Sleep Environment
You Have Had Surgery
When you have surgery, the body’s energy reserves become focused on healing that one key area, leaving stores of energy depleted for other activities. There is nothing wrong in taking more time than the recommended ‘allowance’, in recovery.
You are justified in listening to your body and hearing what it’s telling you. Sleep when you wish and rise when you wish. If this means more time off work, take it; a return to work without adequate recovery time lays you open to stress, anxiety and all sorts of physical ailments. It will probably cause you to fall ill, at which point you’ll need more time off anyway.
You Have Had A Shock
As odd as this seems, when you’ve suffered a death in the family, lost a significant job or witnessed a traumatic event, your brain and unconscious thought patterns need time and rest in order to process events healthily. Sleep can hard-wire your subconscious thought patterns and return them to a healthier, more cohesive state on waking. The process of conscious thought, conversely, can be too troubled by events to deal with them appropriately.
The increased stress on the brain and body emanating from shock is considerable; this also has some knock-on effect on eating patterns and self-care. Getting a good amount of extra sleep can equip you to tackle whatever needs doing on a practical level and deliver the clarity and presence of mind to hold your emotions better in check on the psychological front.
If you’re exhausted yet still need synthetic sleeping aids, that’s nothing to worry about. It’s unlikely to have any detrimental effect on you and you can sleep again unaided after a few days. Many sleep aids no longer give the old ‘hung over’ feeling, and if necessary, you can take a half dose and see how that goes before increasing it.
So, now you know the times it’s permissible to sleep during the day, how do you address this seemingly unacceptable need with other people?
The answer’s simple; just tell people you feel unwell and are heading for a lie-down, and that you need to be left alone; request they keep the house quiet and don’t enter your room for any reason. Daytime sleep is usually harder anyway, so you don’t need people waking you. If they can’t respect that, you have every right to check into the nearest budget hotel.
Whatever happens, don’t let anyone make you feel bad. Only you know how you are feeling and what the consequences may be if you don’t take that extra rest period. Family and friends will also appreciate the ‘new you’ when you wake in better spirits and more suitably equipped to face the day.