How To Make Up For Lost Sleep

man falls asleep while studying at night

Do you know that losing just 1 hour of sleep may contribute to everything from lost productivity to a heightened risk of heart attack and stroke?  According to a study in 2016, it takes four days to fully recover from one hour of lost sleep. So how about the hours of sleep debt you are yet to pay? It then means your sleep account is gradually becoming bankrupt and needs sleep funding, interestingly your sleep debt can be cleared.

A number of justifiable reasons such as trying to meet a deadline for the completion of a task, preparation for an examination, interview, or presentation amongst others could be responsible for your lack of quality sleep at night. But then, sleep is a restorative activity, and not getting enough sleep regardless of your reasons can result in devastating health problems including stroke, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, hypertension, and obesity, all of which increase the risk of death.

Having a short sleep duration(s) is not a death sentence, as studies have proven that you can make up for the damaging effects of lost sleep. Therefore, catching up on lost sleep isn’t optional but a prerequisite for making up for the short sleep duration you had at night or during the week for a healthier lifestyle. 

Here are tips that will help you make up for lost sleep

Take a Nap

Man takes a nap during break time

A short afternoon nap can make up for an hour of night sleep lost.  A 20 minutes’ daytime nap can make up for a sleep deficit, however this should not be a habit or routine that is always missing out an hour or two of nighttime sleep for a 20 minutes’ daytime nap as you may end up being sleep deprived. This is because our biological clock allows us to sleep better at night than during the day. But then any sleep is better than no sleep and more sleep is preferred to less sleep.

Sleep on Weekends

Man sleeps at weekend

Yes, I know we often schedule our weekends for house chores and other fun activities, how about funding your sleep account having accumulated a sleep debt during the weekday by sleeping during weekends for ideally not more than 2 hours from your normal weekday wake up time. Although this will not completely erase your sleep debt if you had more hours in debt, for instance, if you lost 4- 5 hours of sleep during the weekday you can recover it at the weekend compared to a 15 – 20hours of sleep lost. but it will improve your health as the body is allowed to rest awhile.

Sleep Earlier than the Previous Night

If unfortunately, you lost an hour of sleep the previous night trying to complete a task, the good news is that you can recover your lost sleep tonight by going to bed earlier than you did last night. The amount of sleep lost and recovered may not be the same, though. Most of the first few hours of sleep can be recovered, but if the amount of sleep lost is more than a few hours, not all of it will be recovered.” For instance, a 6hours of sleep the previous against a normal 7 hours of sleep can be recovered with an 8hours of sleep scheduled for today.

Read Also: 6 Things To Consider When Purchasing A Student Mattress

Free Up Sleep Time

Having accrue hours of sleep debt by engaging in activities that interfere with your sleep time, it is time to free up your sleep time and have 1 or 2 nights of more sleep and less activity. This will make up for the hours of sleep deficit and balance your sleep account.

Unarguably, not everyone needs the same hours of sleep per night. However, it is important to take your sleep as important as any activity that’s capable of keeping you awake so it’s mandatory you make up for a portion of the hours you lost through naps,weekends, early bedtime,  and even having more days of sleep to augment your sleep need for a healthier lifestyle and productivity.



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