You can’t “catch up” on sleep.
Somewhere on our journey from hunters and gatherers to a global economy full of offices and long commutes, the idea that we could sacrifice sleep and make up for it later became commonplace. The thinking goes that if we go to bed late and wake up early throughout the week we can sleep in on the weekend to account for the difference.
Unfortunately, healthy sleep is not an inventory of hours that you can borrow from one day and then restock another to bring everything into balance.
Lost sleep charges interest, and the fees are significant.
A new study explored this idea more deeply, and the researchers found that 7 days of recovery was not enough to compensate for 10 days of lackluster sleep. 7 days!
If you can’t recover in 7 days, your cycle of losing sleep on weekdays and then oversleeping on weekends is unlikely to be more effective.
When we look at our daily routines, we should not think of sleep as something we can compromise or sacrifice. Instead, we need healthy sleep every day of the week. No matter what. And a fluctuating sleep schedule where some days we wake up early and other days we wake up late will mean that nearly every night is a lost opportunity to give our bodies the sleep they need.
Habits of Healthy Sleep are strongest when we have a consistent bedtime and a consistent waketime. If you find yourself cutting sleep to fit more into your day, reconsider. Put sleep first and look for other ways to restructure your routine.