Comment récupérer son retard de sommeil ?

How to recover from sleep delay?

Sep 08, 2023

Sleep experts say it's possible to "catch up" on sleep , but don't sleep in on the weekends .

According to researchers, it takes four days of quality sleep to recover from one hour of sleep deprivation .

Taking a nap or getting more sleep during the week may be more effective than waiting until the weekend to sleep in.

Sleep debt

A third of Americans accumulate a debt every night that they may never be able to repay: sleep debt.

This is where the concept of “catch-up sleep” comes in: It involves trying to accumulate additional hours of sleep on the days following a lack of sleep. For example, sleeping in on weekends.

The study results are mixed on this subject, but after checking the research and talking with a few experts, we can say that it seems possible to catch up on sleep, but it's difficult to achieve .

Why is it hard to catch up on sleep?

Dr. Alex Dimitriu, psychiatrist and sleep medicine expert , believes that it is possible to catch up on sleep, but only if you haven't let your lack of sleep get worse .

By definition, one hour of lost sleep equals one hour of sleep debt.

“If the lack of sleep is more severe, the recovery time becomes significantly longer, and complete recovery may not be possible . So it is important not to let the lack of sleep go too far,” Mr. Dimitriu, founder of Menlo Park Psychiatry & Sleep Medicine, to Insider.

It's important to control your lack of sleep because " in the long term, not getting enough sleep can lead to medical problems such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, increased risk of cancer and immune dysfunction ," said Dr. James A. Rowley, former president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine Foundation.

Four nights of sleep

Perhaps the most intriguing findings regarding sleep deprivation and recovery time come from a small study that found that for every hour of sleep deprivation , a person would need four regular nights of seven to nine hours of sleep. quality to fully recover .

So, if you need seven hours of sleep a night but only get six hours during the work week, you will accumulate a deficit of five hours of sleep on Friday .

According to the study's predictions, this means you would need about 20 days of consistent quality sleep to fully recover.

So it’s not by sleeping in for a few hours on the weekend that we’re going to fix things .

That said, in 1963, a 17-year-old boy stayed awake for 11 days for a science project. He suffered temporary nausea and memory loss, but said that after sleeping for 14 hours he felt normal again.

Also read: What is the link between sleep and anxiety? – (


Anticipate sleep recovery

Paying off sleep debt is like paying off credit card debt : Try to pay off all , or as much as possible, of the total balance so that the debt doesn't grow too large.

This means that you do n't have to wait until the weekend to try to make up for an entire week of lost sleep. On the contrary, if you miss an hour or two of sleep, try to make up for it immediately the next day , either by taking a nap - 20 to 30 minutes in the best case - or by having a good night's sleep the following evening .

The most important thing, however, is to set a sleep schedule and stick to it. “Sleep loves regularity and rhythm,” says Dimitriu, because it maintains a consistent circadian rhythm.

What is the circadian rhythm?

The circadian rhythm, often called the internal clock , affects a range of important bodily functions, including temperature regulation , hormone control , memory , concentration and, of course, sleep .

Sticking to a consistent sleep schedule – that is, going to bed and waking up at the same time every day – is one of the main ways to maintain a healthy circadian rhythm and, therefore, be healthier .

That's why sleeping in might not be the best option and short naps might be better.

Of course, this is easier said than done and not everyone can change their schedule to get more sleep.

Sleep debt and daily life

For example, if you work night shifts, have multiple jobs, or have to take the kids out early in the morning , you're more likely to be sleep deprived, but you have less flexibility to fix it. Do your best to sleep as much as possible.

In these circumstances , just finding an extra 15 minutes a night can make a big difference,” Ms Rowley said.

It can also help to think outside the box. For example, a recent study showed that when people moved from a five-day workweek to a four-day workweek, the percentage of those who slept less than seven hours a night fell from 42.6% to 14. 5%.

However you decide to sleep, remember that sleep is not a luxury, but a necessity .

“Sleep must be considered in the same way as diet and physical exercise, as one of the pillars of good general health, and must be considered as a priority in the same way as them,” said Mr. .Rowley.

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