We’ve all dealt with losing sleep. Whether it’s staying up late studying, cramming for exams, or just not really feeling tired. We refute the fact that we lost sleep by stating that we can just “catch up on it later,” assuming that's how it works. However, is that really the way our bodies work? Is it really that simple to just make up for the hours lost of sleep?
Sleep is one of the most important elements in keeping our bodies and minds healthy. Depriving yourself of sleep can lead to several negative effects. The most obvious one is that you’ll feel more tired throughout the day. Loss of sleep can also lead to a lack of good judgment in decision-making, as well as poor memory. Furthermore, it can cause you to be less alert and focused throughout the day, making your attention span shorter and your concentration worse. Mentally, depriving yourself of sleep can be extremely draining. Your body won’t just feel tired, but your brain will feel tired along with it. Moreover, losing sleep can lead to numerous amounts of lasting and consequential health issues. Some of the most common ones are high blood pressure and/or sugar. When you really think about it, you lose a lot more than sleep when you don’t receive proper rest. Giving up a little bit of sleep doesn’t really seem so worth it now.
Catching up on sleep isn’t necessarily as simple as it seems. Studies show that there actually is a way to catch up on your sleep, but it’s not as simple as it sounds. Just one hour of sleep loss takes up to four days to make up and nine days to entirely abolish the sense of sleep deprivation. So, how are we supposed to catch up on our sleep? Scientists have shown that it’s actually better to take naps throughout the week rather than to oversleep or sleep in. On the contrary, oversleeping and sleeping in can actually make you feel even more tired. Napping throughout the week is also better than waiting for the weekend to arrive to try and catch up on sleep. It sets a better and healthier routine for you and your body. You should avoid trying to sleep in by sleeping earlier instead. It’s also important to note that things like caffeine should be avoided if trying to get caught up on lost sleep. Lastly, don’t doubt the importance of a good sleeping environment. Where and when you sleep can make all the difference in catching up on your sleep.
Next time really think about whether or not losing your sleep is worth disturbing your natural sleep schedule. The consequences can be much more severe than you think.
Dodd, Justin “Can You Catch Up On Sleep? Science Debunks a Popular Myth”, Inverse, 19 April 2019 https://www.inverse.com/article/54942-catch-up-on-sleep-video
Newsom Rob, Dr. Anis Rehman, “Sleep Debt and Catching Up On Sleep”, 27 June 2023, Sleep Foundation https://www.sleepfoundation.org/how-sleep-works/sleep-debt-and-catch-up-sleephttps://time.com/5541101/how-to-catch-up-on-sleep/
“Good Sleep for Good Help, Get the Rest You Need”, April 2021, News In Health, https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2021/04/good-sleep-good-health