Staying in Bed On Days Off is Essential to Health

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Researchers have found that the optimal level of sleep is between 7 and 9 hours a night because of longer working hours and increased sleep. The previous optimal time line used to be between 6 and 8. Also with this news, comes information that trying to catch up on sleep deficits is crucial to health and must be done in more than one night.

Sleep Deprivation and Weekend Rest

According to the researchers, sleeping in for 10 hours on a weekend may not be enough to overcome the sleep deprivation faced by Americans across the nation. As more individuals devote more time to work, and to their kids’ activities outside of school, they often sacrifice sleep to catch a TV show they previously recorded or to read a book. Some even bring work home to do after supper, losing sleep that way. It all adds up, says researchers, and individuals need to deposit sleep back into their overdrawn sleep account if they are to maintain good health.

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Inadequate sleep amounts result in inability to think clearly which leads to problems with decision making and problem-solving; these skills are vital during the work day. If a person has experienced sleep deprivation, on a continued basis, they can increase their stress as they try to cope and work through a fuzzy mindset. Increased stress can lead to more sleep loss from people thinking and worrying at night, resulting in more fuzzy thinking and loss of memory skills, perpetuating the vicious cycle.

If folks fail to catch up on that loss of sleep during the weekend, they will continue to add to the sleep debt and “may result in continuing build-up of sleep pressure and an increased likelihood of loss of alertness and increased errors,” according to the study published in the journal Sleep.

It is alright for folks to sleep in on days off and they should use both days/nights off or as many as they have to catch up on their sleep so as to decrease this sleep debt. Each person’s optimal time of sleep will vary based on their own personal health conditions, circadian rhythms, level of stress and other factors. Individuals who are experiencing sleep loss should contact their personal physician to discuss measures of gaining more sleep.

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