Recovering from a Lack of Sleep Takes Longer Than You Might Think

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Posted on Monday, November 8th, 2021 at 4:34 pm    

Life is a balancing act — from work, to home, to family, to friends, it’s easy for us to get wrapped up in always being busy with something. When this happens, whether it’s for a few days, a few weeks, or it’s just our way of life, our health and our sleep often end up on the back burner.

Maybe you can function for some time with minimal sleep, but after a while, your body and mind will tell you that you could really use some sleep. Finally, you get a long stretch of sleep, and maybe you feel re-energized. But for some people, it still isn’t enough. If you’ve ever wondered why you’re having a hard time catching up on sleep, the answer is only two words: sleep debt.

The Importance of Sleep

Your body needs sleep. Not just any sleep, but restful, quality sleep. In order for your body to function and for your body’s systems to continue performing the actions that keep you healthy and alive, they need time to rest. Quality sleep allows your brain, your heart, and your muscles, just to name several, to take a break from all the work they do to keep you going when you’re awake.

When you lose sleep or only get a few hours of sleep each night, the losses compound and create what is now called “sleep debt.” It works the same way finances do, in a sense. The more sleep debt you rack up, the more sleep you’ll have to get to catch up on the sleep you lost on top of still get trying to get the right amount of sleep you need each day.

A chronic lack of quality sleep can harm you and your health in the long term.

Catching Up on Sleep

A recent study found that lack of sleep impairs cognitive function and that it lasts much longer than many people may think. Simply catching up on the six hours of sleep you missed a few days ago isn’t enough.

A recent study examined participants who lost sleep for ten nights in a row. After testing the participants’ cognitive function and reflexes, the researchers discovered that their cognitive function had declined. The participants then slept for their normal amount of time for seven straight days. When their cognitive function was measured at the end of that seven days, the participants were still performing less than optimally. In other words, the participants still had not recovered from the sleep debt they incurred a week earlier.

What You Should Do

The best way to prevent sleep debt is to not create it in the first place. Of course, it’s easier said than done these days. But try to get at least seven to eight hours of sleep every night so your body can rest properly. If you have trouble sleeping, try a few of these tips here.

Having Trouble Sleeping? We Can Help

If you find it difficult to get to sleep or stay asleep, we can help. Call Silent Night Therapy at 631-983-2463 for an appointment with one of our sleep specialists today.