A scientist on what an extra hour in bed does to your head

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Feeling blue? Spend an extra hour in bed and dry shampoo instead. It will do wonders for your wellbeing – not to mention your scalp. Claim 25% off Living Proof Perfect hair Day (PhD) Dry Shampoo with DOSE25*.

Many of us are going to bed later, checking our emails and scrolling through mindless media to wind down from the day. Before we know it, it’s midnight – we’re still wired and the alarm beckons at 7am – because we wouldn’t dream of skipping that ‘wake up’ shower routine that sets us up for the day. But to the contrary, scrimping on that extra hour of shut-eye is sabotaging our wellbeing. As for the “coffee will fix it” mantra we tell ourselves to compensate for the sleep deficit, Matthew Walker, scientist and professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of California explains that if you can’t function optimally without caffeine before noon then “you are most likely self-medicating your state of chronic sleep deprivation.” Ouch.

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Late night workers and night owls take note. In his novel Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams Walker says, “Routinely sleeping less than six or seven hours a night demolishes your immune system”. It also increases our probability of gaining weight. “The less you sleep, the more you are likely to eat. In addition, your body becomes unable to manage those calories effectively, especially the concentrations of sugar in your blood”. He goes on “Inadequate sleep – even moderate reductions for just one week – disrupts blood sugar levels so profoundly that you would be classified as pre-diabetic.” Suddenly dry shampoo is more appealing, right?

For those of us who claim that we “don’t have enough time to sleep” because we have “too much work to do” consider that this is because we’re not getting enough sleep in the first place. When we sleep less, we work less productively and thus need to work longer to accomplish a goal. “This means we often must work longer and later into the evening, arrive home later, go to bed later, and need to wake up earlier, creating a negative feedback loop”, Walker explains. “Why try to boil a pot of water on medium heat when you could do so in half the time on high?” Precisely.

The bottom line is that we need more than seven hours of sleep each night to maintain cognitive performance. Walker adds that “After ten days of just seven hours of sleep, the brain is as dysfunctional as it would be after going without sleep for twenty-four hours.”

Now, we’re not encouraging people to forgo their personal care regimes altogether. We could simply go to bed earlier and spend more time lathering to our heart’s content. But if you’ve had a late night, in order to fulfil your 8 hour quota, choose a lie-in over a morning shower. In fact, there’s evidence to suggest that washing our hair too frequently can upset the scalp’s microbiome and be a major contributor to a bad hair day. Keep a bottle of Perfect hair Day (PhD) Dry Shampoo nearby instead. It absorbs and removes oil, sweat and odour, makes hair look, feel and smell clean and leaves virtually no visible residue or powdery build-up behind. It even has a time-released fragrance to deliver a light, clean scent throughout the day. Just make sure you slap on some deodorant too.

*Claim 25% off Living Proof Perfect hair Day (PhD) Dry Shampoo with DOSE25. Offer expires midnight on 21st January 2020. Fancy winning a healthy hair bundle from Living Proof worth over £300? Enter our competition here.

This is a partnership feature with Living Proof.

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