There are many things that make the idea of staying in the Love Island villa totally unappealing to me. A morning debrief in which you have to confess all of your feelings about the person you are or are not coupled up with before you’ve even had a coffee? No thanks. Getting dressed up in heels every single night to sit on a sunbed? I’d go crazy. Being so bored that you have to resort to pulling the least interesting man in the villa for a chat? Suddenly, the idea of a free holiday to Mallorca—where Love Island is filmed—is a lot less desirable.
But there’s one thing in particular about living in the Love Island villa that I’m certain would make me walk out of there quicker than Liam left Love Island in week one of this year’s series: the Love Island sleep routine. Not only do Love Island lineup have to share a bed with someone every night—often a person they barely know or have had an explosive argument with hours earlier—but their beds are set up inches apart from people, with no privacy from the 11 other islanders and several other Love Island couples also sleeping in the room.
On top of that, they’re woken up by a very bright light, which is why many of the islanders are looking less than pleased when we see them in bed in the morning and even have to crack out the sunglasses in bed (although if we had Gemma's Love Island's sunglasses, we'd wear them all day everyday). Previous islanders have revealed that contestants on the show often have go to bed very late, especially when big events like recouplings take place. ITV haven’t confirmed their exact bedtime but interviews with past islanders suggest it can be as late as 3am or 4am some nights. Season 2 contestant Katy Mcdermott revealed (opens in new tab) that contestants are woken up at around 9:30am daily, but are allowed to lie in if they’ve stayed up late for a recoupling. However, entering the Love Island villa also means handing over your watch and your sense of time until Love Island ends or you're dumped from the villa, as the islanders never actually know what time it is.
So now that the contestants have left the villa and headed back to their real lives—most after a long stint in the show—how could their IRL sleeping routines be impacted and what are the effects on their bodies? We spoke to the experts to find out...
How does Love Island sleep routine impact contestants' bodies?
Our experts revealed what the islanders will experience will their sleep patterns and how to adjust back to real life...
How the Love Island sleep routine impacts contestants while in the villa
The sleeping arrangement on Love Island is very unusual so it’s bound to be a shock to the system to the contestants entering the villa. This is especially true because an irregular sleeping pattern can seriously impact the amount of rest you get. “We sleep better when we go to bed and wake up at the same time every day,” says Dr Lindsay Browning (opens in new tab), a psychologist and neuroscientist specialising in sleep. “This allows your body to know when it should be tired and when it should be awake, allowing you to feel more refreshed when you wake up and to drop off easier when it is time for bed.”
The islanders' previous sleep schedule could also affect their circadian rhythm, which is our body’s internal clock that tells us when it’s time to go to sleep and wake up. “If we change our bedtime and wake time, then our circadian rhythm will not be aligned with our new bedtime and we may find it difficult to fall asleep or wake up,” Dr Browning explains. This is something many people experience when they are jet lagged and you might also have a milder version of this if you stay up late on the weekends but go to bed early during the week. If the Love Island sleep schedule is inconsistent as islanders have suggested, it could certainly affect the contestants’ circadian rhythms in this way, which could lead to tiredness during the day.
Sleep is not only important for good physical health but research has found that it could affect our mental health too. A 2010 study (opens in new tab) of 2,619 people found that people with insomnia and short sleep duration were more likely to have clinically diagnosed depression or anxiety and that the sleeping problems often remained after the anxiety or depression had resolved. This isn’t ideal when Love Island has already been criticised for not prioritising the islander’s mental health enough.
However, there is one positive aspect of the islander’s sleep bedtime and morning routines when it comes to sleep health and that’s the lighting. According to sleep expert Martin Seeley (opens in new tab), being woken up by a bright light is actually beneficial for your body. “The amount of light a person does or doesn’t see plays an integral part in their sleep pattern,” he explains. “Being exposed to a bright light in the morning is a signal to their brain that it’s time to wake up.”
How the Love Island sleep routine will affect contestants outside of the villa
So how difficult will it be for the islanders to adjust to a normal sleeping routine when they leave the villa very soon? This will probably depend on the individual and their history with sleep. Research (opens in new tab) shows that it takes just three to four nights of high-quality sleep to recover from a poor sleep schedule, so for some islanders their sleep schedule could be back to normal in no time. But Dr Browning says that the islanders might feel as though they are jet lagged if they are used to going to bed so late.
“To move your time zone earlier you should gradually shift your bedtime and wake time by half an hour to an hour earlier each day until you get to your ideal bedtime and wake time. It is important to set a morning alarm at this earlier time and to stick to it,” is her advice for this year’s islanders, although this might be pretty hard for them with all the parties and events they’ll be invited to now that they’re out of the villa.
Seeley recommends a morning workout routine to help get the islanders back on track with their sleep—not only is this something to get out of bed for but it will make them feel more tired and ready to sleep when bedtime comes around. Restricting the time they spend on their phone will also be beneficial, especially because they don’t spend that much time on their phones in the villa (despite the infamous “I’ve got a text” line). This is because being exposed to a lot of blue light, especially in the evenings, can affect your sleep quality and your ability to fall asleep. Using something soothing like a meditation app or the best crystals for sleep could help them to get into a calm state too.
Let's hope they've all managed to readjust okay!
Alice Porter is a freelance journalist covering relationships, entertainment and digital culture. She is particularly interested in how women are portrayed in the media, whether that's on reality TV or TikTok. She writes for publications including Stylist, Refinery29, Grazia, Cosmopolitan and Glamour and has been featured as an expert on the BBC radio show Woman’s Hour. When she’s not writing about any of these given topics she’s probably thinking about them elsewhere: either during an all-day Netflix binge, a deep conversation at the pub or during a long walk on the beach.
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