Whenever we sleep poorly throughout the week, we all think 'I'll make up for it at the weekend'. But those extra hours in bed might not be helping the situation. So, can you make up for lost sleep? And if you can't, what should you do?
Can you catch up on sleep?
The answer to this is no. While getting a few extra hours on the weekend won't do you any harm. It's not possible to make up for lost sleep. A few bad nights of sleep won't do any long term damage. But constantly depriving your body of sleep on a weeknight can have adverse effects long term. There is a strong link with getting too little sleep on a daily basis and developing certain metabolic conditions like diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular conditions.
How much should you sleep?
You should aim to get at least 7 hours of sleep per night. That is how much the body needs to be fully functionally. However, everyone needs a different amount of sleep to suit their own body. If you feel tired you should listen to your body and try and sleep longer. Some people function best on 9 hours and some function best at 7.5 hours. It's all down to figuring out what suits you best.
How can you avoid catching up on sleep?
The best way to not have to catch up on sleep at the weekends is to set a proper sleep schedule. It's important to make it realistic and something you can stick to. If you know you'll be getting home at 8 pm on a Thursday then setting a sleep schedule for 9 pm is setting you up to fail. Look at exactly what times are best for you to go to bed each night and stick to it as closely as possible. Even on weekends. We all tend to throw our sleep schedule out on a weekend but it will have an effect on your weeknight sleep schedule if you do.