We all crave for that perfect night’s sleep. We just lay down with the right amount of dimmed light probably blanketed with an 18-degree air-conditioned room. We drift and sleep for 8 hours ready to tackle the next day feeling refreshed and renewed.
But this isn’t the case for most of us. In the Philippines, you need to wake up at 5 AM to commute at 6 AM where the traffic will amaze you. You are crammed at the train or bus feeling like canned sardines for the whole 30 Min to 1 Hour 30 Min ride.
You arrive at the office at 8 AM. Do your work. And you clock-out at 7 PM due to overtime. And again, you face the horrible traffic to get home at 10 PM. And the stressful cycle goes on.
Due to whatever reason, when you have mild sleep deprivation, it will diminish your cognitive performance, your alertness, and your overall mood. For chronic sleep deprivation, it leads to inflammation, high blood pressure, and numerous disadvantages in insulin resistance and hormone levels. That may explain your cranky mood or those piling medicines you need to take.
Because let’s face it, some just don’t get the luxury of sleep. Actually, it’s surprising that sleeping is even a luxury now in the first place. What can we do then? After all, we need to feed our family and our dreams.
Based on a new study you can actually catch up on your sleep!
Catching Up on Sleep?
But don’t get me wrong. Sleep doesn’t work like a bank account where your lack of sleep can be compensated by just adding the number to your sleep on your weekdays.
For example, you sleep at 7 hours a day feeling rested already. But you had an all-nighter where you just slept 4 hours. So you just plan to sleep an additional 3 hours on the weekend.
Sadly, it doesn’t work that way. Sleep hours lost is already gone. You can’t get back the rejuvenation from that lost sleep. What you can do is just maximize the amount of sleep you get when you can.
Use Your Weekends to Catch up
According to a longitudinal study, sleeping in the weekend might not exactly “catch up” wholly the lost sleep. But it sure does help.
They tracked 43,000 people who participated in the Swedish March Cohort from 1997 to Dec 31, 2010.
They found out that those who sleep too little (less than 5 hours) and those who sleep too long (9 hours or more) have lower lifespans than those getting just enough sleep.
They further checked out the data for sleep pattern relationships during weekdays to weekends. And they found out that the data is still consistent. People sleeping too little or too long during weekdays and weekends have high mortality rates.
The difference is, people who sleep too short in the weekday but later extended their sleep on the weekday didn’t have the same increasing mortality. It may suggest that the extended sleep hours in the weekend probably “catch up” to their sleep-deprived days.
So just allow yourself to sleep the maximum allowable hours during the weekend without that annoying alarm clock.
The Goal is to Bounce Back to a More Normal Sleeping Schedule
But this study should be taken with a grain of salt. Further studies need to be done to fully understand this pattern of sleep. But it’s good to know that if you have no choice, at least you can cope up during your freer hours.
What’s left now is to improve the quality of sleep we currently have. Maybe try these 7 habits to cultivate better sleep. Sleep deprivation should not be something we regularly experience.
We should understand our schedules. And for our health, make necessary adjustments as much as we can because only in deep sleep can we feel fully rested. And we can achieve this by sleeping in almost the same schedules and getting the hours in.
At first, your body might adjust but as weeks go by you will get your right circadian rhythm back.
So cozy up, because you are sleeping well tonight! Enjoy!