Are You Addicted to Being Tired?
Actually, Even Hopeless Mornings Seem More Bearable When You Haven't Closed Your Eyes
Why You're Hooked: A different kind of mood-boosting effect has been found to help clinically depressed people who stay up until dawn. The precise mechanisms are still being examined, but researchers at Tufts University have found that the reason involves a sleep-inducing chemical called adenosine, the buildup of which has been shown to alter brain chemistry and trigger an antidepressant effect.
Why You Need to Kick It: This effect is real but short-lived: It wears off as soon as you next fall asleep, says Killgore.
Also Note: Because only vampires can stay awake indefinitely, researchers are trying to develop a pharmaceutical treatment that replicates the adenosine mechanism.
You Have the Energy for the Elliptical—at 9:45 p.m.
Why You're Hooked: Just when you should be getting ready for bed, you get a second wind. You're surprised, because you were dragging at 5pm, and promised yourself you'd get to bed early tonight. What's happening is that your body knows that bedtime is approaching, so it's trying to keep you awake until then, explains Mary A. Carskadon, professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Brown University. It's easy to misinterpret this signal and think you've adjusted to getting by on a minimal amount of sleep and don't really need to tuck in early, after all. Nighttime also happens to be when the gym is the emptiest, the supermarket is the quietest.
Why You Need to Kick It: You're running yourself down, weakening your immune system and possibly trimming years off your life (not hitting your sweet spot of sleep has been associated with a decreased lifespan as well as an increased risk of dementia). Carskadon says that it's natural to feel relatively awake when you get into bed, even if you didn't get enough sleep the night before. That's where the wind-down routine comes in, she says (now do you appreciate the importance of all those get-to-sleep tricks we're always telling you about?).