Posted on Tuesday, August 1st, 2023 at 9:00 am    

According to the CDC, roughly 30 percent of adults in the U.S. get fewer than seven hours of sleep a night, which is the recommended amount for their age group. With so many of us struggling to get the rest we need, some people have turned to “sleep banking” to try to catch up on missed sleep.

But what is sleep banking, and is it effective in helping people get the rest they need? That’s what we at Silent Night Therapy wanted to explore in this latest blog. By the time you finish reading, you’ll understand the basics of sleep banking and its potential benefits and drawbacks.

What Is Sleep Banking?

“Sleep banking” is a concept that involves storing up, or “banking,” sleep hours when you have the opportunity. Just like traditional banking with money, the idea is that you can use this reserve when you may be short on sleep. Simply put, it’s like preparing for a late night or a period of less sleep by sleeping more in the days or weeks before. The idea stems from the belief that if you “deposit” extra rest into your sleep bank, you can “withdraw’” it later when needed, reducing the adverse effects of sleep loss.

How Much Sleep Do You Need?

The CDC says your sleep needs vary depending on your age and other factors. Broadly speaking, they recommend you try to get the following amount of sleep each day:

  • Newborns (0-3 months): 14-17 hours of sleep (including naps)
  • Infants (4-12 months): 12-16 hours of sleep (including naps)
  • Toddlers (1-2 years): 11-14 hours of sleep (including naps)
  • Preschoolers (3-5 years): 10-13 hours of sleep (including naps)
  • School-Age Children (6-12 years): 9-12 hours of sleep
  • Teenagers (13-18 years): 8-10 hours of sleep
  • Adults (19+ years): 7-9 hours of sleep

Sleep Banks vs. Sleep Debts

A “sleep debt” refers to the difference between the amount of sleep you should be getting and the amount you actually get. It’s like a negative balance in your “sleep bank.” Every time you skimp on your recommended hours of sleep, you’re taking a withdrawal from your sleep bank and creating a debt that your body expects to be repaid.

Sleep debts don’t just leave you feeling tired. They can also have severe effects on both your mental and physical health. Mentally, lack of sufficient sleep can lead to issues like mood swings, anxiety, depression, and reduced cognitive function affecting memory and concentration. Physically, chronic sleep debt can contribute to a weakened immune system, increase your risk for chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity, and even shorten your overall lifespan.

So, Does Sleep Banking Work?

According to a recent report from CBS News, early research shows sleep banking might be effective in helping people get better rest. Some studies say that when people get a few extra hours of sleep leading up to a period of reduced sleep, they perform better than those who did not bank those extra hours. However, many people use sleep banking to make up for an existing sleep debt, and the practice is less effective in these cases.

Let Silent Night Therapy Help You Sleep Through the Night

If you struggle to get the rest you need each night, Silent Night Therapy can help. Our team specializes in using custom-made oral appliances to address sleep apnea and other sleep disorders. We have extensive experience using these devices and want to help you sleep soundly. Call 631-983-2463 today or complete our contact form for a complimentary consultation.