Sleep…Most Certainly My Achilles Heel

More than weight, nail-biting, or any of the other behavioral issues I have had to deal with over the years, setting a consistent sleep pattern is by far and away the most difficult.  And here comes more bad news for people like me…

THE FACTS: Chronic sleep deprivation is a given for most Americans.  But paying off a sleep debt is not as simple as sleeping late on a Saturday.

In studies over the years, scientists have found that it can take a week or more for the cognitive and physiological consequences of poor sleep to wear off — even after increasing sleep.

[Scientists] examined the cognitive effects of a week of poor sleep, followed by three days of sleeping at least eight hours a night.  The scientists found that the “recovery” sleep did not fully reverse declines in performance on a test of reaction times and other psychomotor tasks, especially for subjects who had been forced to sleep only three or five hours a night…

[When] subjects slept four hours a night over five days, and then “recovered” with eight hours a night over the following week, they still showed slight residual cognitive impairments a week later, even though they reported no sleepiness…

The good news:

[Scientists] found that people recovered much more quickly from a week of poor sleep when it was preceded by a “banking” week that included nights with 10 hours of shuteye.  In other words, if you know you have a week of little sleep ahead of you, try loading up on sleep beforehand, not simply afterward...

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