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Does Sleeping In Help You Catch Up on Sleep?

Posted On November 22, 2013
November 22, 2013

Watching your favorite team battle its arch rival caused so much anxiety that before you knew it you ate almost the entire gallon of Rocky Road ice cream. A big “no, no” on your diet but tomorrow is a new day and you can easily get back on track Monday morning. Now, what if you also had bouts of insomnia all week, tossing and turning. On Saturday morning, can you catch up on sleep by getting up late? Unfortunately, it isn’t a simple answer.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, the average adult requires 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night, and getting more or less can affect your lifespan. In addition, it comes as no surprise that close to 30% actually get less than 6 hours. Natural inclination would be to tell yourself: “Well, I will just catch up on the weekend and sleep in.” But is this assumption accurate?

A number of research studies in the United States and Europe were all in agreement. After weekday sleep deprivation, sleeping in on the weekend does not help recoup the effects on your brain. When sleep is lost, the body starts producing increased levels of stress and inflammatory hormones. Getting back on track with an optimal number of hours of sleep, hormone levels thankfully go back to normal. However, the effects on the brain do not fare as well. The extra amount of sleep was found to not improve brain functioning.

Known as “sleep debt,” lost sleep can be attributed to an early morning, a late night or some combination. And your debt can quickly ramp up into the danger zone. But the answer to counteract the effects does not come from sleeping in on the weekend. An excellent option to combat the deprivation is adding extra sleep at a steady and consistent amount each night.

Yet, interestingly enough in a study conducted at Walter Reed Army Institute, researchers discovered that if people banked extra sleep before being sleep deprived, they quickly recovered from the deficit.

Nevertheless, your best option is going to sleep and getting up to start your day at the same time, each and every day, weekends included. This keeps your body on an ideal schedule for your individual needs. Keeping to a regular sleep schedule will also make falling sleep that much easier. But in a pinch, taking a scheduled nap no longer than 25 minutes can help lessen the effects of a sleepless night. If you would like to find out more, please contact one of our medical concierges today at 1-855-863-4537 to schedule a free consultation

About Phoebe Ochman

Phoebe Ochman, Director of Communications for Sleep Apnea Treatment Centers of America, manages all content and communications for the company.
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