Did you bounce out of bed this morning? Or did you hit the snooze button three times, before begrudgingly dragging yourself out from under your soft, snuggly duvet? If it was the latter, perhaps you considered taking a duvet day.

After all, today is Blue Monday 2017. That’s the third Monday in January, rumoured to be the most miserable day of the year thanks to a combination of dismal weather, bleak bank balances and the fun and frivolity of the festive season being well and truly behind us. Of course, it’s no secret by now that the original Blue Monday calculation was formulated as part of a PR campaign. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a grain of truth in the notion that today, of all days, more people than usual will be considering taking a duvet day.

Whether you’re a Blue Monday believer or not, there is something to be said for taking the occasional duvet day when it comes to improving health and wellbeing. We take a look at the pros and cons below.
 

What is a Duvet Day?


It’s pretty much exactly as it sounds. Simply put, it’s a day dedicated to doing very little, usually by staying in bed. Some UK businesses now offer their employees duvet days as part of their work perks package, allowing employees a set number of days each year when they can take a day off work at short notice, without being ill.
 

Why you should take a duvet day


Every once in a while, we all have one of those days when we wake up and all we want to do is pull the covers over our eyes and go back to sleep. Duvet days allow us to do just that, with a number of key benefits:
  • Boost your brain power: A 2010 study by the University of Pennsylvania showed that having just one lie-in can help to boost alertness and improve intention span. The study was conducted among a group of young healthy adults, all of whom experienced restricted sleep in the week running up to the lie-in.
  • Improve energy levels: The same Pennsylvania study also showed that having a lie-in can help to boost energy levels, again as a short-term solution. It’s worth bearing in mind that while getting more sleep can mean more energy, sleep quality is more important than duration when it comes to feeling refreshed.
  • Relieve stress: As busy adults, pushed and pulled between work and family responsibilities, there aren’t that many opportunities for us to indulge in some quality me-time. A duvet day is your opportunity to do just that, giving you some time to recharge, relax and take a step back from day-to-day stresses. So why not switch off your phone, log off all your email and social media accounts, and take some time to focus solely on you?
  • Support your immune system: Sleep plays an important role in helping our immune systems to work effectively, warding off coughs, colds and other illnesses. If you feel a little under the weather, taking a duvet day could be the key to getting back to full health sooner.
 

Why you shouldn’t take a duvet day


While there are benefits to taking a duvet day, in some instances it’s not always the best choice to make. Here are some reasons not to retreat under the covers:
  • You regularly feel like you don’t want to get out of bed: Feeling reticent to get out of bed, particularly when it’s cold and dark, is natural – but if you find that you regularly have a low mood or even a sense of dread when it’s time to get up and start the day, taking a duvet day may not be the best course of action. Instead, try to identify why you might be feeling this way – whether it’s dissatisfaction at home or at work, or whether specific worries are playing on your mind. You may find it helpful to speak with a trusted friend, family member or even your doctor to find a solution.
  • You’re struggling to sleep at night: If you don’t get enough sleep at night, then having an extended lie-in might seem the logical way to catch up on much-needed rest. But while a duvet day might be the solution for the odd sleepless night, if you’re experiencing sleeplessness on a regular basis then identifying and dealing with the cause is likely to be more effective in the long-run. Start by keeping a sleep diary to identify any patterns or triggers, and consider speaking with your doctor if problems persist.
  • You regularly oversleep: Even if you aren’t experiencing any obvious sleep disturbances, regular oversleeping can sometimes be a sign of an underlying health issue, as several studies have shown. Instead of taking yet another duvet day, it could be beneficial to start a sleep diary and to speak with your doctor to rule out a medical condition that’s making you feel overly tired.

Discover useful sleep tips with our Sleep Health & Advice Hub where you’ll find advice on everything from night sweats to combating allergies at night.