Your Healthy Family: Can You Catch Up On Sleep? - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Your Healthy Family: Can You Catch Up On Sleep?

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Making sleep a priority is essential for overall health.  Everyone feels better after a good night’s rest, but sometimes other priorities get in the way of getting at least seven hours of shut-eye every night.

Many people will try to make up for lost time by sleeping in on the weekends, but according to Reena Mehra, M.D., a sleep expert at Cleveland Clinic, it’s not that simple.  “The whole notion of being able to catch up and sleeping more on the weekends to offset any curtailed sleep during the week is not really going to be that helpful, at least in terms of neurocognitive function, vigilance, drowsy driving and those sorts of things,” said Dr. Mehra.

Sleep deprivation can have detrimental effects on the body.  Just one night of lost shut-eye can cause a lack of alertness, impaired memory and can increase the likelihood of having a car accident.  Long term sleep deprivation can even affect a person’s appearance, causing premature wrinkling and dark circles under the eyes.  Research has even linked a lack of sleep to an increase in the stress hormone cortisol, which can break down collagen – the protein that helps keep the skin smooth.

Dr. Mehra says that while sleeping on the weekends will help people function on the weekend, it won’t help them during the week because the body can’t store sleep for later use.  “Our bodies like consistency so it’s best to keep the same sleep-time/wake-time as much as you can,” said Dr. Mehra. “There will probably be some variations on typical work days versus days that you have off, but it’s important to keep that as consistent as possible.”

Getting adequate sleep is also essential as research has shown that long term sleep deprivation is associated with high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack and stroke.

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