I visited Mount Rushmore this weekend, which was eight and a half hours drive from my place. Leaving on Friday evening, reaching there 3:00 AM in the night. I had to comeback on Sunday night itself due to not many vacation days left on my work calendar. The trip was fun and involved driving through curvy mountain roads, but the trip came with compromise of my sleep.
On top of the trip last week and weekend had been hectic too. I was thinking about the sleep recovery due to back to back packed weekends and read about a recent study that was published in journal of Sleep, which talks about the “recovery sleep”. The study revealed not only recovery sleep is good for you, but also can rectify damages caused by sleep deprivation.
- More than 150 healthy sleepers aged 22 to 45, who regularly slept 6.5 to 8.5 hours a night.
- None of the participants worked irregular shifts or had traveled internationally in the months leading up to the study.
- The participants were subjected to sleep 10 hours a night for two nights to take care of any pre-existing sleep deficits.
- Then participants were allowed to sleep for 4 hours a night for five consecutive nights.
- One sixth night each participant was allowed to sleep more than 10 hours and was referred as “recovery sleep” period
- Participants were constantly tested for level of alertness and neurobehaviors throughout the day during this sleep cycle test.
Main findings of the study
The study revealed that the period of recovery sleep restored the participants’ neurobehaviors, including level of alertness and their ability to concentrate.
Dr. David F. Dinges, one of the study authors and Chief of the Division of Sleep and Chronobiology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine said that
- You don’t realize now just how far off normal you are or how much more alert you could be if you’ve gotten more sleep.
- People who chronically under sleep need regular recovery periods of sleep because most people cannot handle sleeping only a few hours a night.
- Getting recovery sleep is important and that may take more than a day
- Don’t get chronically sleep deprived in the first place.
The study does indicate that do not make sleep deprivation your habit as it may have negative consequences, as indicated by Dr. Dinges statement “It’s a profound mistake of people to take for granted you can abuse the system endlessly at no consequence to yourself.
The study brings positive news for me as I am hopeful I can recover my sleep during the coming weekend. Remember, key for healthy living includes lifestyle with eating healthy, exercising regularly and sleeping for adequate time.