Is it Actually Possible to Catch Up on Lost Sleep?
While the National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults aged 18 to 64 get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep a day, this may prove challenging for some people. Full-time students, parents of young children, and people with second and third shift jobs are just a few of the many adults that regularly get 6 hours of sleep daily. Because of this many adults want to catch up on their sleep on the weekends and end up sleeping 10+ hours.
However, multiple studies have proven that there is actually no way to catch up on sleep. In addition, oversleeping can actually make you feel just as tired as pulling an all-nighter. Thankfully, there are many lifestyle changes one can make in order to overcome the fatigue you experience when you regularly under-sleep. Here’s a list of lifestyle choices that can lead to fatigue and sleeplessness, as well as ways to have healthier sleep habits.
Facts about Sleep
While it is recommended that most adults get 7 to 9 hours of sleep a day, there are many people that can function on as few as 6 hours of sleep without feeling drowsy throughout the day; while others may need as much as 10 hours in order to function properly.
Exercising regularly and being active throughout your day can actually improve the quality of your sleep. People that are active tend to fall asleep easier and sleep more soundly.
The quality of the sleep you experience is just as important as the quantity.
Naps can be a double-edged sword, for some people they can help them regain energy and alertness, but for others they can contribute to sleeplessness at night.
Things that can cause fatigue and sleeplessness
- Consuming caffeine
- Drinking alcohol
- Eating right before bed
- Not being active during the day or not getting enough exercise.
- Being anemic or not having enough iron in your diet.
- Not drinking enough water
- Health problems like sleep apnea, diabetes, depression, and thyroid issues.
- Taking certain medications like beta blockers
- Having irregular sleep patterns or not going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day.
- Experiencing stress or anxiety
- Trying to sleep when it’s still light outside
- Having a bed or pillow that isn’t firm enough
Ways to overcome fatigue and sleeplessness
- Make sure you rest in an ideal sleep-promoting environment, somewhere dark cool and silent. If you find that silence does not help you sleep, you should try music or white noise.
- Limit your caffeine intake, especially in the hours leading to bedtime.
- Be sure to be active throughout the day and exercise. However, it is important to avoid exercising at least 4 hours before you go to sleep. The endorphins that are stimulated during exercise can actually deter sleep.
- Buy blackout blinds or curtains, especially for those who are shift workers.
- Adhering to a steady sleep schedule where you go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day even on the weekends.
- Use relaxation techniques like aromatherapy, meditation, yoga and massage.
- Schedule at least 30 minutes worth of relaxation time right before bed.
- Stop using close range electronics such as cell phones, tablets and laptops right before bed as that the light from their screens can cause your brain to believe it’s still daylight and make it difficult to fall asleep.
- Eat healthy meals and snacks throughout the day. And eat a balanced breakfast daily.
- Maintain a healthy weight
So while it is impossible to catch up on your lost sleep, making healthy lifestyle changes can improve the quality of your sleep. You should speak to a doctor about any tiredness you may be experiencing so they can assess your sleep hygiene and create a custom solution for your particular issues. In addition, it is important to talk to a doctor about any excessive tiredness you may be experiencing as that this can be an indication of many serious health problems.
Now that you know some healthy and effective ways to overcome fatigue and sleeplessness be sure to use these methods to improve the quality of your sleep. If you have any further questions about over and under-sleeping, be sure to contact New York Sleep Specialist Dr. Mayank Shukla so he can address your unique sleep disorder directly.