Can You Really Make Up For Lost Sleep? Science Has an Answer


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From those hazy newborn days to Daylight Savings havoc, being a parent means losing sleep. In fact, it can mean getting less sleep for up to six years. So how do you make up lost sleep? There are few ways you can replenish some of that missing shut eye.

A study recently published in Current Biology confirms what experts have long agreed on: you can’t make up for too many late nights simply by sleeping in on the weekend. A couple extra hours doesn’t make make up for the lost time or correct shifts that have occurred in your body’s natural circadian rhythms.

photo: Wokandapix via Pixabay

Instead of hitting the snooze alarm all weekend, a better approach is to follow the age old advice given to new moms and sleep when the baby sleeps. In other words, take a nap. “The light exposure in the morning right after your sleep period is what we think is most important for keeping those regular biological rhythms going,” Dr. Cathy Goldstein, an associate professor of neurology at the the University of Michigan Sleep Disorders Center told TIME. “If you do need to log some extra hours, a midday nap might be better.”

Keep your nap short and sweet, just twenty minutes is the perfect amount of time according to the National Sleep Foundation. Just make sure you don’t take that nap too close to bedtime or you’ll be bouncing off the walls right along with your toddler. Goldstein also suggests maintaining consistent wake times, even on weekends, and limiting nighttime light exposure to improve sleep quality.

—Shahrzad Warkentin



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