Maybe you've had a few late nights at the office or spent Friday night busting moves on the dance floor. You may wonder whether it is possible to catch up on your lost sleep.
The short answer to this question is 'yes.' But the longer answer is that catching up on your lost sleep is challenging. Sleep restores your body and mind, including repairing your blood vessels and heart. So, when you miss sleep, your body takes longer to recover.
Unfortunately, lost sleep isn't usually a once-in-a-while occurrence. Many people sacrifice their sleep on a weekly or nightly basis. This is known as a 'sleep deficit' or 'sleep debt.'
Research from PubMed has shown that it could take up to four days to recover from an hour's lost sleep and up to nine days to eliminate sleep debt.
Risks of attempting to make up for lost sleep
There are many risks involved with inconsistent sleeping habits, including:
- Weight gain
- Memory problems
- Heart disease
- Delayed immune response
What are the health risks associated with not having enough sleep?
Chronic sleep loss can result in many health problems.
These include an increased risk of diabetes, a weakened immune system, and high blood pressure. It could even lead to higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which can lead to anger, and depression.
In addition, being overtired can lead to making silly decisions and an increased risk of falling asleep behind the wheel, leading to an accident.
How much sleep should you be getting?
While the amount of sleep a person needs varies,The National Sleep Foundation recommends that Americans need 7.1 hours of sleep to function well, but 73% of people don't hit that target. Children and teenagers require even more sleep to help their bodies grow and recover.
With chronic sleep debt, you may never be able to catch up on the sleep you've lost.
Tips for getting enough sleep
- Set a sleep schedule - if you need to alter this, change it in 30 - 60-minute intervals
- Use a bedtime routine to relax your body and mind before bed
- Set your alarm 30 - 60 minutes before bedtime
- Go to sleep 15 minutes earlier each night until you get to your desired bedtime
- Stop using electronic up to two hours before bedtime
- Avoid naps outside of 20-minute power naps
- Optimize your bedroom environment - keep the temperature cool, lights and noises blocked out, and replace bedding if it is uncomfortable
Here’s how Beds4U can help
Our Beds4U team are NZ sleep experts devoted to helping Kiwis have incredible sleep. We provide a wide range of NZ-made beds and mattresses in all NZ bedsizes including single, double, queen, and king beds. We offer all comforts, from soft to firm, to suit everyone's needs.
A good quality and comfortable bed will help support your body and keep your neck in a neutral position. This can help support good back health and make it easier to get to sleep, stay asleep, and have great-quality sleep.
Shop your favourite sleep essentials and start your journey to make every night a good night's sleep.
To summarize, a lost hour of sleep now and again won't cause much harm in the long run. But the regular loss of sleep can harm your health and well-being.
You should always aim for 7 - 9 hours of sleep per night and try to catch up on what you miss. If you find yourself regularly falling short of this target, you must devise a plan to try and reach it.