There is nothing worse than laying awake at night and not being able to fall asleep. In addition to being super annoying, not getting enough sleep can lead to major short-term performance issues and even more serious health issues over time.
But according to a new study from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society, spending more time in bed in an effort to catch up on sleepless nights might majorly backfire. (Do you have this shocking sleep problem that affects athletes?)
Over 500 people kept detailed sleep diaries for a full year. Most of them were defined as "good sleepers," meaning they didn't regularly have trouble getting a full night of rest, but about 20 percent of the good sleepers experienced a bout or two of insomnia over the course of the year. Half of those who struggled with sleeplessness recovered fully, while sleep became a more persistent problem for the other half.
After analyzing the data, the researchers noticed some interesting patterns among people struggling with sleep: those who had the most trouble getting to and staying asleep actually spent the most time in bed. They tended to go to bed earlier, sleep in later, and take more naps during the day in an effort to play catch up on sleepless hours. Meanwhile, those who elected to just get up when they were laying in bed wide awake were more likely to recover from their insomnia and get back to their regular sleep schedule.
In other words, next time you find yourself awake before your alarm goes off, get up rather than trying fruitlessly to fall back asleep. Lying awake may mess with your sleep schedule long term.