When’s the last time you had a good night sleep? Experts believe that the body needs eight hours of sleep at night to be fully recovered. In some instances, the body needs more sleep especially when you’ve done physical activities. Athletes not only pay close attention to what they eat and how they train but also how much rest they get for their body.
The most common reasons why Americans tend to experience sleep deficit include work time, travel time, and socializing. There are instances when people tend to just think of sleep deficit as something that can be solved by drinking coffee.
A night of being sleep-deprived doesn’t usually make a person feel sleepy during the day time. But in the long run, sleep deficit can start to manifest in both physical and mental performance. One of the main questions that people ask is if you can catch up lost sleep?
What’s the Deal with Sleep Debt?
There is no denying that sleeping 8 hours uninterrupted at night is something that you can’t replace. However, there are different ways how to catch up with lost sleep.
First, you can take short naps. A 10-20 minute nap can go a long way especially if you want to feel refreshed. A mid-afternoon nap is said to help boost mental performance. Aside from taking a nap, some tend to sleep longer than 8 hours during the weekend. This method of compensating for your lack of sleep can help normalize your body’s sleep pattern.
However, these solutions won’t replace sleeping 8 hours a day. In one study, sleeping for long hours during a weekend won’t reverse the effects of metabolic dysregulation. It will also not correct the potential weight gain that you will get from sleep loss.
Both these strategies to catch up on sleep can give you a false sense of recovery. You might also feel that you are a bit getting the extra boost of energy that you need. Unfortunately, long-term sleep deprivation can also take a bit longer.
According to a research, one hour of lost sleep could take as much as 4 to 9 days to recover fully from sleep debt. A full recovery from sleep debt means that your body returns to its baseline and gets to reduce the risks that are associated with sleep loss.
Strategies to Catch Up On Lost Sleep
If you are looking to catch up on lost sleep, here are some strategies that can come in handy.
- Training your body to have good sleeping habits
The first thing that you should consider is to change your bad sleeping habits. Good sleeping habits can potentially help you sleep longer and deeper. For starters, if you find yourself scrolling on your social media in bed, or maybe drinking coffee an hour or two before your get to bed, these are things that can affect not only your hours of sleep but even the quality of your sleep.
- Track your progress
The next step is to have a sleep diary. A sleep diary will help you write down your sleep patterns, which is something that you can review after a few weeks or months. You will also have to write down the time you went to bed and the time you woke up.
For other people, they use their sleep diary to also unload on things that they might end up thinking when they toss and turn at night.
- Adjust Your Time Slowly
If you’re the type who sleeps late, and you are looking to sleep at an earlier time, be sure that you are going to give your body enough time to adjust. Do it slowly. Perhaps, sleep 30 minutes earlier every day and see how you can get train your body to sleep again. Also, you have to be consistent. You don’t want to sleep 30 minutes early today only to revert to sleeping late the following night.
- Take a bath and do other relaxing things before going to bed
You have to train the mind to get ready to sleep. That’s why an hour or two before your bedtime, be sure that you are going to do very relaxing habits. Taking a bath, doing yoga, and even getting a massage from your partner are just some of the most effective ways you can get your body to feel sleepy.
- Don’t just go immediately to take meds
Some individuals have a knee-jerk reaction to take meds whenever they feel like they want to sleep. The last thing that you want is to be overly dependent on sleeping pills. Instead, you want to talk to your doctor in case you are having a serious problem and if you want professional advice on how to improve your sleep. Doctors could give you good advice on how to approach your lack of sleep.
Our fast-paced lifestyles often overlook the importance of sleep. You’d even hear billionaires proudly say that they only sleep for 4 to 5 hours a day. Just how important is our sleep? Our body does its repair when it’s asleep. Sleep deprivation is also not something that you can easily recover from. It could take a few days before you get to see your numbers in a normal range.