TIME Aging

3 Simple Lifestyle Habits That May Slow Aging

There's more evidence for eating well, sleeping, and exercising

Stress makes our bodies age faster, but thankfully we can combat that with healthy eating and exercise, a new study says.

When cells age, telomeres—tips at the end of chromosomes—shorten. Telomeres help regulate the aging of cells, and their length has been used to determine the body’s current state of health. Things like stress and lifestyle behaviors can influence their length, as compelling earlier research has shown. In the new study, University of California, San Francisco, researchers looked at 239 post-menopausal women for a year and found that for every major life stressor they experienced during the year, there was a significant shortening in their telomere length.

That’s not great news, but the researchers also discovered that the women who ate a healthy diet, exercised and slept well had less shortening of their telomeres. It could be that the women’s healthy habits actually protect them from cellular aging, even in the face of life’s stresses.

The study, which is published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, is observational, which means the researchers cannot say with certainty that it was these healthy lifestyles alone that offered them protective benefits. But at the very least, it shows once again that doing our best to eat well, sleep, and exercise can give us an edge.

TIME sleep

Here Is Why You’ll Sleep 20 Minutes Less On July 12th

Supermoon
A supermoon rises next to the ancient Greek temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion, some 65 kilometers south of Athens, on June 23, 2013. ARIS MESSINIS—AFP/Getty Images

The surprising reason

When the moon is full, we sleep less…at least that was the common belief without any real science to back it up. Now Swedish researchers have not only quantified it, but they also found a correlation between the lunar cycle and our sleep duration.

According to the study, published in Current Biology, researchers from the University of Gothenburg in Switzerland observed 47 healthy individuals and found that they slept an average of 20 minutes less and took 5 minutes longer to fall asleep during the full moon phase. While more research is needed to determine exactly why this is, the study authors suspect that our brains are more reactive when the moon is full, making it harder to calm down and drift off to sleep.

Which means you might want to start preparing now for the supermoons—when the moon is the closest to the earth and is full to boot—on July 12, August 10, and September 9. Enlist these 10 simple sleep remedies to help you fall asleep. (A full moon isn’t the only sleep saboteur; read about the top 10 sleep thieves and how to thwart them.)

MORE: The 3-Minute Massage That Lengthens Sleep

TIME Research

Study: Interrupted Sleep May Be as Harmful as No Sleep at All

Sleep Medicine Booms In The United States
Ryan Gamble has wires applied to his head by lab technologist Amy Bender in preparation for a polysomnographic recording system demonstration at Washington State University Spokane's Sleep and Performance Research Center December 13, 2006 in Spokane, Washington. Jeff T. Green—Getty Images

Just one night of interrupted sleep negatively affected mood, attention span and cognitive ability

Fragmented sleep could be as physically harmful as a total lack of sleep, according to an unprecedented study.

Lead researcher Prof. Avi Sadeh and his team at Tel Aviv University found that an interrupted night of sleep — which is common for doctors and new parents — is similar to having only four hours of consistent sleep. The experiment published in the journal Sleep Medicine studied the sleep patterns of students using wristwatches that monitored when they were asleep or awake.

Students slept a full eight-hours one night followed by a night of interrupted sleep in which they received four phone calls directing them to complete a brief computer exercise before returning to bed. The morning after both nights, the volunteers completed tasks to measure their attention span and emotional state — results proved that just one night of interrupted sleep had negative effects on mood, attention span and cognitive ability.

Sadeh believes that several nights of fragmented sleep could have long-term negative consequences equivalent to missing out on slumber altogether. “We know that these effects accumulate and therefore the functional price new parents — who awaken three to ten times a night for months on end — pay for common infant sleep disturbance is enormous,” he said in a statement.

The study also acknowledged that many people of varying ages and professions are susceptible to fragmented sleep — a finding that Sadeh hopes will provide an impetus for creating solutions. “I hope that our study will bring this to the attention of scientists and clinicians, who should recognize the price paid by individuals who have to endure frequent night-wakings,” Sadeh said.

TIME psychology

5 Scientific Secrets to Naps That Will Make You Happier and Smarter

For many of us, more hours of shut-eye at night just doesn’t seem to be in the cards. Is there anything we can do? Yes.

Naps. Wonderful, glorious naps.

They’re not a full-on substitute for lack of sleep but they can do much more than you think and in less time than you’d guess.

Without them, you’re going to be a mess. Here’s why.

Wanna Be Dumb And Ugly?

Lack of sleep not only makes you ugly and sick, it also makes you dumb: missing shut-eye makes 6th graders as smart as 4th graders.

And if that’s not enough, lack of sleep contributes to an early death.

Via Night School:

Starting in the mid-1980s, researchers from University College London spent twenty years examining the relationship between sleep patterns and life expectancy in more than 10,000 British civil servants. The results, published in 2007, revealed that participants who obtained two hours less sleep a night than they required nearly doubled their risk of death.

Maybe you think you don’t need all that much sleep. You’re wrong.

Less than 3% of people are actually 100% on less than 8 hours a night. But you feel fine, you say?

That’s the fascinating thing about chronic sleep debt. Research shows you don’t notice it – even as you keep messing things up.

In her TED talk, Sara Mednick, author of Take a Nap! Change Your Life, gives the rundown:

Now here’s the part you’ve probably never heard:

Eight hours might not even be enough. Give people 10 hours and they perform even better.

Via Power Sleep:

Timothy Roehrs and Thomas Roth at the Sleep Disorders Research Center of the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan, have demonstrated that alertness significantly increases when eight-hour sleepers who claim to be well rested get an additional two hours of sleep. Energy, vigilance, and the ability to effectively process information are all enhanced, as are critical thinking skills and creativity.

I know what you’re thinking: 10 hours a night? I don’t have time for that. I barely have time to read this post.

Is there a compromise?

Naps.

Can closing your eyes for a few minutes really make that much of a difference? Keep reading.

 

NASA Says You Should Sleep On The Job

Research shows naps increase performance. NASA found pilots who take a 25 minute nap are 35% more alert and twice as focused.

Via Night School:

Research by NASA revealed that pilots who take a twenty-five-minute nap in the cockpit – hopefully with a co-pilot taking over the controls – are subsequently 35 per cent more alert, and twice as focused, than their non-napping colleagues.

Little siestas helped people across a whole host of measures. Improved reaction time, fewer errors…

naps

NASA found that naps made you smarter — even in the absence of a good night’s sleep.

Via Dreamland: Adventures in the Strange Science of Sleep:

If you can’t get in a full night’s sleep, you can still improve the ability of your brain to synthesize new information by taking a nap. In a study funded by NASA, David Dinges, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, and a team of researchers found that letting astronauts sleep for as little as fifteen minutes markedly improved their cognitive performance, even when the nap didn’t lead to an increase in alertness or the ability to pay more attention to a boring task.

Study after study has shown naps boost learning.

Via The Little Book of Talent: 52 Tips for Improving Your Skills:

Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, found that napping for ninety minutes improved memory scores by 10 percent, while skipping a nap made them decline by 10 percent.

And naps make you happier. Studies show we can process negative thoughts quite well when we’re exhausted — just not the happy ones.

Via NurtureShock:

Negative stimuli get processed by the amygdala; positive or neutral memories get processed by the hippocampus. Sleep deprivation hits the hippocampus harder than the amygdala. The result is that sleep-deprived people fail to recall pleasant memories, yet recall gloomy memories just fine.

What’s not to love? I know. You’re busy. You’ll just have another cup of coffee. Sorry, research shows naps beat caffeine.

So how do you nap the right way? How do you get the results you want with minimal effort? Here’s what science says.

 

The Perfect Nap For You

Whatever your limitations and desires, there’s a nap for you. Looking at research from Richard Wiseman and the WSJ, here’s a breakdown.

Which one describes what you need?

1) “I Just Need To Be More Alert And Focused”:

Take a 10-20 minute nap. You’ll get a boost in alertness and focus for 2 hours or more, pay off a little sleep debt and even reduce blood pressure.

2) “Brain No Working. Need Smartz”:

Consider a 60 minute nap. You’ll get all the benefits of the 10-20 minute nap while also improving memory and learning.

But be warned: 60 minute naps cause grogginess.

3) “I Want It All, Baby”:

Take a 90 minute nap. This allows your brain to experience a complete sleep cycle.

You’ll get the full whack: increased alertness, memory, learning, creativity and performance — with no post-nap grogginess.

4) “I Don’t Know What I Want But You’ve Scared Me Into Napping And I Don’t Have Much Time”:

Go with 10 minutes. It beat 5, 20 or 30 minute naps in a comparativeresearch study.

5) “I don’t have enough time to tell you how little time I have”:

No nap is too short: “A 2008 study showed that even a nap of a few minutes provided benefits. Just anticipating a nap lowers blood pressure.”

Got more questions? I have answers:

  • When is the best time to nap? Salk Institute researcher Sara Mednickgenerally recommends you nap approximately 6-7hrs after waking.
  • Trouble falling asleep? Write down any worries and think positive (but not exciting) thoughts. Trying too hard to sleep is counterproductive.
  • Worried you won’t wake up in time? Richard Wiseman recommendsa cup of coffee immediately before napping. The caffeine will kick in 25 minutes after you lay down.

 

Sum Up

We’d all be better off with 10 hours of sleep a night — but that’s not going to happen for most of us.

Naps can boost performance and help make up for some of the problems sleep deprivation can cause.

Learn the sleep secrets of astronauts here and a neuroscientist’s recommendations for the best way to use caffeine here.

In the meantime, see if you can sneak a nap this afternoon. As Groucho Marx once said:

Anything that can’t be done in bed isn’t worth doing at all.

Join 45K+ readers. Get a free weekly update via email here.

Related posts:

4 Things Astronauts Can Teach You About A Good Night’s Sleep

6 Proven Steps To The Best Night’s Sleep You’ll Ever Have

What 10 things should you do every day to improve your life?

This piece originally appeared on Barking Up the Wrong Tree.

TIME sleep

Less Sleep Pushes Your Brain to Age Faster

Researchers find connection between sleep deprivation and a marker of aging brains

We know that sleep is important for a host of body functions, from weight control to brain activities, but the latest study hints that it may also keep aging processes in check.

Scientists at the Duke-NUS Graduate School Singapore report in the journal Sleep that among a group of 66 elderly Chinese volunteers, those who reported sleeping less each night on average showed swelling of a brain region indicating faster cognitive decline.

The participants had MRI brain scans every two years, and answered questions about their sleep habits as well. Other studies have suggested that adults need about seven hours of sleep a night to maintain proper brain function; future research will investigate how sleep helps to preserve cognitive functions and hold off more rapid aging.

TIME Aging

14 Ways to Live a Longer, Healthier Life

These tips will reverse your aging

The answer is more complicated than counting the number of candles you blew out on your last birthday cake. Your daily habits can either add or subtract years from your life—like how much you exercise, or how stressed you allow yourself to be. Read on for 14 things you can start doing today to live a longer, healthier life.

Drop some pounds

Being obese increases the risk of diabetes, cancer and heart disease, possibly shaving up to 12 years off your life, per an analysis in the journal Obesity. But being too thin can hike your risk of osteoporosis and poor immune function. So aim to stay at a weight that’s healthy for you.

Cap your drinks

Regularly exceeding one drink a day or three in one sitting can damage organs, weaken the immune system and increase the risk of some cancers.

Ease your stress

Chronic stress makes us feel old—and actually ages us: In a 2012 study, Austrian researchers found that work-related tension harms DNA in our cells, speeding up the shortening of telomeres—which protect the ends of our chromosomes and which may indicate our life expectancy. Of course, it’s impossible to completely obliterate stress. “What’s important is how you manage it,” says Thomas Perls, MD, associate professor at Boston University school of Medicine. Practice yoga, pray, meditate, relax in the shower or do whatever else chills you out.

Health.com:Best and Worst Ways to Cope With Stress

Keep learning

Having more education lengthens your life span, according to a study in the journal Health Affairs, for a number of reasons. Extra schooling may help you become better informed about how to live a healthy life. And educated folks, as a group, have a higher income, which means greater access to good health care and insurance.

Connect

More and more research points to the value of having friends, and not just on Facebook. An Oxford University study found that being married makes you less likely to die of heart disease, which researchers suggest may be due to partners encouraging the other to seek early medical treatment. Same goes for friendships: Australian research showed that people with the most buddies lived 22 percent longer than those with the smallest circle. “Having positive, meaningful, intimate relationships is critical to most people’s well-being,” says Linda Fried, MD, dean of Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.

Extend a hand

Volunteering is linked to a lower risk of death, a University of Michigan study suggests. But you don’t have to log hours at a soup kitchen: Simply helping friends and family—say, by tutoring your niece or assisting your neighbor with her groceries—lowers blood pressure, according to researchers at the University of Tennessee and Johns Hopkins University.

Health.com: 14 Reasons You’re Always Tired

Work out often

Exercising regularly—ideally at least three days of cardio and two days of strength training a week—may help slow the aging process, Canadian doctors reported. “Being physically active is like keeping the car engine tuned,” Dr. Fried says. “Even if there’s decline with age, it’s less severe.” You were never an athlete? Don’t worry: Starting to work out now can reduce your likelihood of becoming ill going forward, a 2014 study suggests.

Reconsider your protein

A diet rich in processed meat—including hot dogs, sausage, cured bacon and cured deli meats—has been linked to a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes and colon cancer. Limit your intake as much as possible.

Give up smoking

Lighting up increases your risk of not only lung cancer but also heart disease and cancer of almost every other organ. “Just one cigarette a day can take 15 years off your life,” Dr. Perls says. Though you won’t instantly revert to pre-smoking health, kicking butts will cut your added cardiovascular risk in half after a year and to that of a nonsmoker after 15.

Health.com:15 Ways Smoking Ruins Your Looks

Enjoy your joe

Good news for java lovers: Research indicates that drinking it regularly may protect against diabetes, cirrhosis and liver cancer. And Harvard research suggests that drinking 3 1/2 cups a day may lower risk of heart disease.

Sleep better

For evidence that you can—and should—make slumber a priority, look no further than a 2013 study from the University of Surrey in England, which compared a group who got less than six hours of sleep a night with a group who got 8 1/2 hours. After just one week, snoozing less had altered the expression of 711 genes, including ones involved in metabolism, inflammation and immunity, which may raise the risk of conditions from heart disease to obesity.

Have more sex

The feel-good rush you get from it helps you fight stress and depression, jolt the immune system and lower blood pressure.

Health.com:15 Everyday Habits to Boost Your Libido

Go Mediterranean

In a 2013 Annals of Internal Medicine study, women who followed a Mediterranean-style diet were 40 percent more likely to live past 70 without major chronic illness than those with less healthy diets. Eat lots of veggies, fruit, fish and whole grains, and avoid simple carbs, such as pasta and sugar (“age accelerators,” Dr. Perls calls them).

Know your history

Have one or more relatives who lived into their 90s? You may be genetically blessed. But that doesn’t mean you should quit the gym and live on doughnuts. “Before you get to extreme ages, healthy lifestyle is more critical than genes,” Dr. Perls says. So thank your ancestors, but stick to vegetables and cardio as life insurance.

This article originally appeared on Health.com.

TIME sleep

How Procrastination Is Messing With Your Sleep

How Procrastination Is Messing With Your Sleep
Tim Platt—Getty Images/Collection Mix: Subjects RM

Whether you’re a night owl or an early riser, sometimes it can be hard to stick to your bedtime. You know, those times when you mean to go to sleep but instead you stay up to watch just one more episode of Orange Is the New Black. Before you know it, it’s 1 a.m. The next day, you’re probably groggy, tired, and—let’s face it—cranky.

Health.com:11 Surprising Health Benefits of Sleep

“Bedtime procrastination” is the name researchers from Utrecht University in the Netherlands have given to this phenomenon. They define it as “failing to go to bed at the intended time, while no external circumstances prevent a person from doing so.”

Translation: Unlike insomnia, which is when you can’t fall asleep, bedtime procrastination is when you could go to bed, but you willingly put it off and, as a result, you don’t get enough sleep.

Health.com:12 Ways We Sabotage Our Mental Health

This article originally appeared on Health.com.

TIME Science

Face It, You’re a Bedtime Procrastinator

153405991
Peter Dazeley—Getty Images

Because there's never enough time during the day to get all your procrastinating done

It probably goes without saying that you’re super busy most days. So busy, in fact, that by the time you’re ready for bed, you feel like a zombie. But if you’re like a lot of people, it’ll be a while before your face actually hits the pillow and you drift off into dreamland. After all, you still need to Instagram, Snapchat, WhatsApp, call your Mom and play with your cat before you hit the hay.

Now researchers have a name for your conundrum: bedtime procrastination. A recent study from Frontiers in Psychology found that the phenomenon, which the authors define as “failing to go to bed at the intended time, while no external circumstances prevent a person from doing so,” was related to insufficient sleep. Using an online survey to study 177 people, researchers in the Netherlands found that bedtime procrastinators put off sleep not because they wanted to stay up later, but because they didn’t want to stop doing whatever it was that was keeping them up in the first place.

No judgment here, folks, but the researchers also noted that those of us who suffer from this modern-day malady also have problems with self-regulation. “As bedtime procrastination seems to be a self-regulation problem, we speculate that dealing with distractions (a typical case of self-regulation) would be one of the factors that could be related,” the study’s lead author, Floor Kroese, says.

In other words, the problem isn’t so much a symptom of insomnia as it is yet another form of procrastination. And while there’s evidence that your tendency to procastinate may be innate, there’s also tons of advice out there on how to stop.

TIME fatigue

14 Reasons You’re Tired All the Time

Woman drinking water
Getty Images

Lack of sleep isn’t the only thing sapping your energy. Little things you do (and don’t do) can exhaust you both mentally and physically, which can make getting through your day a chore. Here, experts reveal common bad habits that can make you feel tired, plus simple lifestyle tweaks that will put the pep back in your step.

You skip exercise when you’re tired

Skipping your workout to save energy actually works against you. In a University of Georgia study, sedentary but otherwise healthy adults who began exercising lightly three days a week for as little as 20 minutes at a time reported feeling less fatigued and more energized after six weeks. Regular exercise boosts strength and endurance, helps make your cardiovascular system run more efficiently, and delivers oxygen and nutrients to your tissues. So next time you’re tempted to crash on the couch, at least go for a brisk walk—you won’t regret it.

Health.com: 11 Surprising Health Benefits of Sleep

You don’t drink enough water

Being even slightly dehydrated—as little as 2% of normal fluid loss—takes a toll on energy levels, says Amy Goodson, RD, a dietitian for Texas Health Ben Hogan Sports Medicine. Dehydration causes a reduction in blood volume, explains Goodson, which makes the blood thicker. This requires your heart to pump less efficiently, reducing the speed at which oxygen and nutrients reach your muscles and organs. To calculate your normal fluid needs, take your weight in pounds, divide in half and drink that number of ounces of fluid a day, Goodson recommends.

You’re not consuming enough iron

An iron deficiency can leave you feeling sluggish, irritable, weak, and unable to focus. “It makes you tired because less oxygen travels to the muscles and cells,” says Goodson. Boost your iron intake to reduce your risk of anemia: load up on lean beef, kidney beans, tofu, eggs (including the yolk), dark green leafy vegetables, nuts, and peanut butter, and pair them with foods high in vitamin C (vitamin C improves iron absorption when eaten together), suggests Goodson. Note: an iron deficiency may be due to an underlying health problem, so if you’re experiencing these symptoms of iron deficiency, you should visit your doc.

Health.com: 15 Signs You May Have an Iron Deficiency

You’re a perfectionist

Striving to be perfect—which, let’s face it, is impossible—makes you work much harder and longer than necessary, says Irene S. Levine, PhD, professor of psychiatry at the New York University School of Medicine. “You set goals that are so unrealistic that they are difficult or impossible to achieve, and in the end, there is no sense of self-satisfaction.” Levine recommends setting a time limit for yourself on your projects, and taking care to obey it. In time, you’ll realize that the extra time you were taking wasn’t actually improving your work.

You make mountains out of molehills

If you assume that you’re about to get fired when your boss calls you into an unexpected meeting, or you’re too afraid to ride your bike because you worry you’ll get into an accident, then you’re guilty of “catastrophizing,” or expecting that the worst-case scenario will always occur. This anxiety can paralyze you and make you mentally exhausted, says Levine. When you catch yourself having these thoughts, take a deep breath and ask yourself how likely it is that the worst really will happen. Getting outdoors, meditating, exercising, or sharing your concerns with a friend may help you better cope and become more realistic.

Health.com: 12 Signs You May Have an Anxiety Disorder

You skip breakfast

The food you eat fuels your body, and when you sleep, your body continues using what you consumed at dinner the night before to keep your blood pumping and oxygen flowing. So, when you wake up in the morning, you need to refuel with breakfast. Skip it, and you’ll feel sluggish. “Eating breakfast is like starting a fire in your body by kickstarting your metabolism,” Goodson says. Goodson recommends a breakfast that includes whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fat. Good examples include oatmeal with protein powder and a dab of peanut butter; a smoothie made with fruit, protein powder, low-fat milk, and almond butter; or eggs with two slices of whole-wheat toast and low-fat Greek yogurt.

You live on junk food

Foods loaded with sugar and simple carbs (like the ones you’ll find in a box or at the drive-thru window) rank high on the glycemic index (GI), an indicator of how rapidly carbohydrates increase blood sugar. Constant blood sugar spikes followed by sharp drops cause fatigue over the course of the day, says Goodson. Keep blood sugar steady by having a lean protein along with a whole grain at every meal, says Goodson. Good choices include chicken (baked, not fried) and brown rice, salmon and sweet potato, or salad with chicken and fruit.

You have trouble saying ‘no’

People-pleasing often comes at the expense of your own energy and happiness. To make matters worse, it can make you resentful and angry over time. So whether it’s your kid’s coach asking you to bake cookies for her soccer team or your boss seeing if you can work on a Saturday, you don’t have to say yes. Train yourself to say ‘no’ out loud, suggests Susan Albers, a licensed clinical psychologist with Cleveland Clinic and author of Eat.Q.: Unlock the Weight-Loss Power of Emotional Intelligence. “Try it alone in your car,” she says. “Hearing yourself say the word aloud makes it easier to say it when the next opportunity calls for it.”

You have a messy office

A cluttered desk mentally exhausts you by restricting your ability to focus and limits your brain’s ability to process information, according to a Princeton University study. “At the end of each day, make sure your work and personal items are organized and put away,” suggests Lombardo. “It will help you have a positive start to your day the next morning.” If your office needs major reorganizing, avoid becoming totally overwhelmed by taking it one step at a time: start by tidying what you can see, then move through your desk and cabinets drawer by drawer.

You work through vacation

Checking your email when you should be relaxing by the pool puts you at risk of burnout, says Lombardo. Unplugging and allowing yourself to truly unwind allows your mind and body to rejuvenate and return to the office stronger. “When you truly take breaks, you will be more creative, productive, and effective when you return,” says Lombardo.

You have a glass of wine (or two) before bed

A nightcap sounds like a good way to unwind before falling asleep, but it can easily backfire. Alcohol initially depresses the central nervous system, producing a sedative effect, says Allen Towfigh, MD, medical director of New York Neurology & Sleep Medicine, P.C., in New York City. “But it ultimately sabotages sleep maintenance.” Alcohol creates a rebound effect as it’s metabolized, which creates an abrupt surge in the adrenaline system, he says. This is why you’re more likely to wake up in the middle of the night after you’ve been drinking. Dr. Towfigh recommends stopping all alcohol three to four hours before bedtime.

You check e-mails at bedtime

The glaring light of a tablet, smartphone, or your computer’s backlit screen can throw off your body’s natural circadian rhythm by suppressing melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate sleep and wake cycles, says Dr. Towfigh. Sensitivity to the digital glow of tech toys can vary from person to person, but in general it’s a good idea to avoid all technology for one to two hours before bedtime, he says. Can’t avoid checking your device before your head hits the pillow? Then hold it at least 14 inches away from your face to reduce the risk of sleep interference.

Health.com: 12 Surprising Sources of Caffeine

You rely on caffeine to get through the day

Starting your morning with a java jolt is no big deal—in fact, studies show that up to three daily cups of coffee is good for you—but using caffeine improperly can seriously disrupt your sleep-wake cycle, says Dr. Towfigh. Caffeine blocks adenosine, the byproduct of active cells that drives you to sleep as it accumulates, he explains. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine revealed that consuming caffeine even six hours prior to bedtime affects sleep, so cut yourself off by mid-afternoon and watch out for these surprising sources of caffeine.

You stay up late on weekends

Burning the midnight oil on Saturday night and then sleeping in Sunday morning leads to difficulty falling asleep Sunday night—and a sleep-deprived Monday morning, says Dr. Towfigh. Since staying in can cramp your social life, try to wake up close to your normal time the following morning, and then take a power nap in the afternoon. “Napping for 20 minutes or so allows the body to recharge without entering the deeper stages of sleep, which can cause you to wake up more tired,” he says.

This article originally appeared on Health.com.

TIME Sex/Relationships

Husbands, If You Want a Good Night’s Sleep Make Sure Your Wife Is Happy

A new study finds that sleep-wake schedules are more synchronized when a wife is content with her marriage, indicating that sleep patterns are a shared behavior between partners.

A happier wife may bring better sleep for husbands.

According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, married couples are more likely to sleep in sync when a wife is more satisfied with her marriage.

The study indicates that partners who sleep in the same bed are awake, or asleep, at the same time for 75 percent of the time – but it also suggests that the percentage is higher if the wife has a higher level of marital satisfaction.

“Most of what is known about sleep comes from studying it at the individual level; however, for most adults, sleep is a shared behavior between bed partners,” said Heather Gunn, lead author of the study.

“This suggests that our sleep patterns are regulated not only by when we sleep, but also by with whom we sleep.”

[American Academy of Sleep Medicine]

Your browser, Internet Explorer 8 or below, is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites.

Learn how to update your browser