Sep 3, 2021
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How to help your body recover from a lack of sleep

The modern world is the world of sleep deprivation. We often waste minutes or hours of sleep: due to work, watching videos, surfing the Internet, chatting with friends. Little by little, our “debt to sleep” becomes apparent: we feel bad, concentrate poorly, become nervous. Over the years, sleep deprivation contributes to the development of chronic diseases. How to recover from regular sleep deprivation?

  • Sleep on weekends. It is now unknown whether this really helps to “pay off the debt” or only returns us to normalcy. However, this is helpful. The study, which followed 43 thousand people, showed that such compensation for lack of sleep during the week is associated with a decrease in the risk of death. In addition, it will contribute to the normalization of metabolism associated with lack of sleep.
  • Take a nap in the afternoon. A short nap – 10 to 20 minutes – will help you stay alert throughout the day, improve working memory and sharpen your thinking.
  • Get plenty of fluids. Lack of sleep is known to contribute to dehydration, which is bad for all body systems. Scientists recommend drinking more in order to feel better amid a lack of sleep.
  • Watch your diet. Lack of sleep is associated with a deterioration in the diet: we start to eat more unhealthy foods. Remember to eat healthy to minimize this harm.
  • Be on the street more. Sleep-wake cycles are often disrupted in people with sleep deprivation. Sunlight helps restore circadian rhythms and, therefore, promotes a better night’s sleep.
  • Have some coffee. Of course, this is only symptomatic help that will help keep you awake throughout the day. Stimulants cannot replace restoring normal sleep patterns.

Getting enough sleep on one weekend and taking a nap a couple of times during a break from work may not be enough to “Pay debt before bedtime.” It may take time to recover. It is important to ensure that the effects of sleep deprivation do not accumulate in the future. For this, a non-profit organization Sleep Fund recommends:

  • Have a clear sleep schedule. If it is necessary to change it, this should be done gradually, for 30-60 minutes a day.
  • Develop a bedtime routine. Half an hour before bedtime, dim the lights, turn off electronic devices, and do something relaxing.
  • During the day, try to exercise enough physical activity, do not consume caffeinated foods before bed, spend less time in front of screens in the evening, do not do anything in bed except sleep and sex.
  • Optimize your bedroom. The temperature in it should be comfortable, light and sounds from the street should not penetrate into it. Make sure your bed is comfortable.

After 10 days of lack of sleep, brain function does not return to normal in a week

Polish scientists tested how long it takes to restore normal brain function after a lack of sleep. Their new study is published in PLOS ONE… It was attended by 13 people. For 10 days, their sleep duration was 30% less than normal. The volunteers wore special sensors, with the help of which the scientists monitored how much time they slept. Following this, for a week they were given the opportunity to sleep as much as they wanted.

Participants in the study received an electroencephalogram every day to assess how sleep deprivation was affecting them. They also took tests for attentiveness and concentration.

The study showed that after a week of recovery, the volunteers did not return to the indicators that they had before the reduction in sleep time. During this time, only the reaction rate returned to normal.

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