For who is this article?
Today’s material will be useful to people who have systematically insufficient sleep on weekdays, but are deeply convinced that they can catch up with him if sleep more during the weekend / holidays.
We will give answer to the question whether sleep debt can be paid and under what conditions.
The importance of adequate and quality sleep we talked a lot, as well as the negatives of systematic sleep deprivation or excess sleep. If you have not come across these materials, you can find them here and here. I advise you not to miss.
Today we will focus on something specific: can we catch sleep when we have a couple of nights with insufficient one?
We will reduce the undesirable effects of little sleep during work / busy days, if you nap more during the holidays?
Perhaps some of you have asked these questions or follow a similar principle in everyday life “these days I did not sleep much, but the weekend will not get out of bed.”
Our bodies need a specific amount of sleep, which can vary between different people.
For orientation: Adolescents and teenagers need 8.5 – 9 hours sleep, young and middle-aged people – from 7-8 hours in Bulgaria is considered the norm 8-hour sleep.
Assuming a minimum limit of 7 hours of sleep, then if you do not consistently cover (whether resulting from qualitative or quantitative disorders), we can talk about sleepy debt.
By this term indicates the degree of sleep deprivation, and the larger the sleep debt – ie the longer a person is deprived of quality and sufficient sleep, the more difficult the task sleep to catch up.
“I did not sleep enough weekdays. I’ll catch up weekend! “
As mentioned, thus many people think. But in reality, we can reduce the side effects of little sleep and to “pay” sleep debt, if you sleep more on weekends?
In one study (1) is monitored just that. Participation taken 30 young men and women (mean age of 24.7 ± 3.5 years) who underwent an experiment of 13 nights in the laboratory. Four of those nights were 8-hour rate of sleep, then followed six nights with a slight sleepy debt (6 hours sleep a night) and finally had 3 nights that were considered for restoration to the presence of 10 hours of sleep per night.
The study found that two days prolonged sleep may restore negatives than 1 week with mild restriction of sleep and help reduce drowsiness, fatigue and stress hormone cortisol. But these two days with more sleep does not affect the performance and productivity – ie do not improve, which means that full recovery of the body of sleep debt would take more than two days.
It needs more experiments in the future to establish long-term effects of such a debt sleepy during working days, followed by an extended sleep on weekends.
So if you have a week with little sleep, then sleep on the weekend may help to reduce the increased levels of cortisol, probably we will be able to pay and sleep debt (if not excessive), but will not be able to recover 100 %.
If such a plot is a chronic and common practice, it is catching up sleep on weekends becomes impossible and the negative effects of sleep debt accumulated and reflected by the different reactions of the body.
This is confirmed by another study (2), which deals chronic restriction of sleep to 4-6 hours / night for 14 consecutive days.
After the experiment participants had a breach in performance for all physical and cognitive abilities and their level can be compared to the level of someone who had not slept for two consecutive nights (ie 48 hours with no sleep one minute).
Points to remember
Sleep is very important for a person’s health and it is important to maintain its good hygiene, quality and optimum amount for us.
Sleep debt is a condition that is better to be avoided or minimized.
If occasionally we are going to have 1-2 nights with little sleep (5-6 hours), it can easily be restored if the next night to bed earlier and sleep about 9:00 and then go back to the usual regular rhythm for at least 7 hours of sleep.
Nothing bad is going to happen with the exception of a tense week with little sleep and in fact we could reduce the harmful consequences if sleep over the weekend.
But things are different in:
Systematic lack of sleep due to various factors;
Long weeks of inadequate sleep (14 more days);
Ill health sleep for a longer period of time (reduced his quality).
Then the idea of payment of sleep debt over the weekend became a myth and can not be compensated, and any adverse consequences accumulate and affect health, daily life, cognitive and other abilities.
Therefore, if you fall into any of these categories, you should make a revision of the reasons why your sleep suffers and start working on their removal to the possible extent.