Lifestyle

Fully recovering from a bad night’s sleep might take longer than you think


Recovery after a lack of sleep can take longer than a week (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

While we think that staying up late one night will be rectified the next day when we can get an early night, a new study shows that it might not work that easily.

Sleep deprivation threatens both our physical and mental health, with World Sleep Day statistics suggesting that 45% of the population suffers from sleep-related issues.

We would like to believe that a one or two nights of good sleep, or maybe even a week, after many late nights will ‘right’ our body clock.

But a new study shows that people who slept 30% less than they needed for ten days did not fully recover their cognitive function even after seven nights of recovery sleep.

So even a week of good sleep won’t cancel out a week of late nights and early starts.

Though the study conducted was small, it seems that external sleep specialists agree with its findings.

Sleep specialist, Dr Raj Dasgupta, said: ‘What the study showed is that there are things like memory and mental processing speed that will not be restored that quickly.

‘Definitely, the major parts of sleep loss can be recuperated but there are things that you’re just not going to get back quickly.

Sleep deprivation disrupts cognitive function (Picture: Getty Images)

‘That’s why it’s so important not to have that sleep debt in the first place.’

Sleep experts say that the brain needs uninterrupted sleep cycles to learn new skills, make new memories, and repair the mind and body from the day.

A lack of sleep will mean have a detrimental effect on your ability to pay attention, learn new things, be creative, solve problems, and make decisions.

This will have an impact even if you skip a proper amount of sleep for just one night, and if you consistently get less than optimal levels of sleep. Another sleep study found that people who slept less than six hours a night for two weeks functioned as badly as those who were completely deprived of sleep for two nights.

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