Do you use your weekends and vacations to ‘catch up on sleep?’ In the past, experts have claimed that it was actually impossible to catch up on lost sleep, but more recent studies have shown that it actually may be possible to undo the damage that is done from lack of sleep with more sleep. Can you really catch up on lost sleep?
What Do We Mean When We Say ‘Catch Up on Sleep?’
First, you will never regain that hours of sleep that you have lost, anymore than you will regain the hours that you actually slept. The time that has passed is gone forever. This isn’t, however, what we are talking about when we talk about catching up on lost sleep. What we are talking about, instead, is undoing the damage that we have done by not getting enough sleep – from a physical and mental standpoint.
What Does Research Tell Us About Lost Sleep?
Numerous studies have shown that those who do not get enough sleep each night are not as mentally alert or as healthy as those who do get plenty of sleep. Some people do not get enough sleep for such a long period of time, they think that the way that they feel is actually normal – when it isn’t.
What research has shown is that when a person sleeps in on the weekend – getting ten to twelve hours of continuous rest – they suddenly find that they feel better mentally and physically, and they are more alert from a mental aspect as well. What this means, for all intents and purposes, is that you actually can recover from your lack of sleep, to regain your normal state of mental alertness and physical health.
The Bad News Concerning Recovery Sleep
The bad news concerning recovery sleep is that you cannot ‘rest up.’ What that means is that you cannot get sleep this weekend that will carry you through the week. Once you spend a night that does not include a full night of rest, you will revert back to the decreased mental and physical state that you experienced before the recovery sleep.
Furthermore, many experts believe that cycles of recovery sleep, followed by cycles of lack of sleep simply is not healthy over a long period of time. In terms of conducting and living your life, you would be better off doing with less sleep during the weekends, and getting more sleep during the work week, but the absolute best solution is to make sure that you get at least eight hours of rest each and every day of your life if you want better health.
August 9th, 2010
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