If you're one of the millions of Americans who always feels tired and a little bit groggy, know that you're not alone. A 2001 report by the National Sleep Foundation found that 63 percent of Americans say they are not sleeping enough on an average night. Busy schedules, kids, and electronic distractions are just some of the reasons why we may not get enough. But if you don't get enough rest during the week, can you make up for it on the weekends?
The Risks of Shortfalls
Your total "sleep debt" is the difference between the amount of rest you should be getting and the amount you are actually getting. Over time, this deprivation can add up and leave you vulnerable to a number of serious health effects, including impaired driving, poor memory and concentration, obesity and heart disease. Sleeping enough is also restorative to both the mind and body, which boosts your mood and gives your body a nightly time to repair itself. Sleeping enough isn't just a matter of being more comfortable; it may also be a matter of your health.
Making up for all the snoozing that you missed during the week will take more than just a few extra hours in bed on Saturday morning. The best way to make up for lost sleep is to go to bed an hour or two earlier every night until your body recovers. If you have been sleep deprived for a period of months or longer, recovering from the backlog could take months.
Making time for rest needs to be an ongoing part of your daily life. You can easily recover from an occasional short night or two, but you should make sleeping enough a high priority for the sake of your own mental and physical health benefits.