Catching Up On Sleep

Sleep Deprivation

Sleep deprivation is a term used for insufficiency of sleep or sleepiness throughout the day, this may affect the daily task of the individual making it difficult to stay awake and cause a ‘Social Jetlag’ it may be caused due to stress, poor sleeping habits, job requirements etc. Symptoms of sleep deprivation are irritability, Fatigue, Tiredness, Mood changes, Difficulty concentrating, Difficulty remembering, Lack of energy etc.

Chronic sleep deprivation has several serious damages such as insomnia, heart disease, increasing blood pressure, Diabetes, Risk of seizures and considering the number of health and psychological issues also increase the risk of mortality.


The Sleep Cycle

The Sleep cycle is referred to different stages of sleep wherein the brain and physical activity differs. Experts suggest that a common Adult should sleep for 7-9 hours every night, it is during this period when our body refreshes itself so that we can stay healthy, productive and energetic throughout the day. The sleep cycle is characterized by five different stages. The first and second stages are light and moderate sleep when our body temperature decreases and our heart rate is slow The Third and Fourth stages are Deep sleep stages wherein our Brain waves, Breathing and heart rate is at the lowest stage, this stage is also known as the repairing stage as cellular energy is restored and important hormones are released.

REM stage/ Rapid Eye movement stage is when we are dreaming and our heart rate and breathing restore to near wakeful levels.

Catching up on sleep during weekends

Now that we fully understand the meaning of sleep deprivation its effects and The sleep Cycle, Let’s discuss whether it is possible to catch on sleep during weekends. Understandably, we may not get enough sleep every day, so we tend to oversleep during weekends to make up for it. Sleep is a restorative process that being said missing hours of sleep isn’t the same as getting sleep primarily, which means when we catch up our sleep, it may take extra time for our body to fully recover According to a study from 2016, it has been observed that it usually takes around 4 days to fully recover from an hour of lost sleep. It is evident that memories are formed and stabilized during sleep Hence, losing sleep leads to the compromisation of these lost memories. According to Leonie Kirszenblat, a Neuroscientist sleep can be regained due to ‘Sleep Pressure’ through which our brain realizes that we haven’t received enough sleep and leads to physiological changes, Kirszenblat also stated that lack of sleep does have an impact on the brain and cannot be retrieved by sleeping extra hours in the weekend. According to researchers at the Stress Research Institute at Stockholm University, Extra hours of sleep on weekends can neutralize the negative effects of sleep deprivation However the study also shows that more than 8 hours of sleep per night is linked with a higher mortality rate. Oversleeping during weekends and undersleeping on weekdays can also affect our bodies natural ability to differentiate between sleep hours i.e. If we sleep too much on Saturdays and Sundays it would be difficult for us to adjust our sleep hours on Mondays. Also, our sleep cycle should not be compromised as it heals our brain and also flushes out toxic proteins related to the neurodegenerative disorder and Beta-Amyloid which is associated with Alzheimer’s disease. In Conclusion, we can Catch up on few hours of sleep over weekends which will improve our brain function and sleep deprivation however, we cannot rely on weekends to fully complete our sleep hours as not only will it disrupt our sleeping habits but will also affect our sleep cycle and will not reverse our compromised memories

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