Can you Catch up on Lost Sleep?

catch up on lost sleepRoyal Oak and Birmingham, MI

Whether you work a swing shift or your mind was racing too much to fall asleep at a decent hour last night, almost everyone experiences sleep loss at one time or another in their lives. College students pull all-nighters studying for tests. Parents are up at all hours to care for their babies. Whatever the reason, you’ve lost sleep and probably planned on making it up on your day off or over the weekend. But the question remains, can you catch up on lost sleep? Today on the blog, our Detroit sleep apnea dentist Dr. Nancy Hartrick answers this question and shares ways to help you rest better so you can maintain a healthy sleep schedule.

What causes sleep loss?

Sleep loss can be caused by stress or anxiety, work, caring for children or aging parents, or sleep disorders like insomnia or sleep apnea. The first step in finding the best solution for your sleep loss is to identify the reason and implement lifestyle changes to help you rest better. For some, however, sleep disorders like sleep apnea could mean that you need to see a specialist that works with airway disorders.

Why not make up lost sleep on the weekends?

It seems like a relatively simple solution to feeling tired throughout the week. Just sleep in on the weekend. Unfortunately, you can’t ever make up lost sleep. Studies reveal that a single night of poor sleep could affect cognitive abilities, mood, memory and increases the risk of an accident. But unfortunately, that one night often turns into many more unrestful nights that cause sleep deprivation and chronic fatigue. Once you miss sleep, your body experiences the damaging effects of sleep loss, which accumulate if your sleep loss is not treated. So, while sleeping in may make you feel more rested, you can’t undo the damage lost sleep did to your body, even in the short term.

The dangers of habitual sleep loss

Mounting evidence proves that quality sleep could be the secret to lowering one’s risk of Alzheimer’s. During sleep, the brain restores itself, clearing away junk in the brain that otherwise could accumulate and cause amyloid-beta plaque, which is found in the brains of individuals with Alzheimer’s. The Washington University School of Medicine studied mice, which are nocturnal. Their results found that the mice exhibited an increase in tau, which forms tangles in the minds of Alzheimer’s patients. The tau levels found in the mice that were kept awake during their normal resting hours showed twice as much tau compared to mice that slumbered. For humans that were kept awake at night, their tau levels increased about 50%. As the study continued, the mice that were sleep deprived for four weeks showed that tau spread significantly in their brains in an area known to be affected with Alzheimer’s in humans.

How to get more sleep

Getting enough sleep and protecting your brain involves more than just going to bed early every night or living a less stressful life. Quality sleep, the kind that puts the brain into the REM sleep cycle, is what you need to feel rested and be healthy. Sleep apnea is a common reason many individuals feel tired all of the time, are irritable, snore, and have difficulty concentrating. If this sounds like you, no matter what time you go to bed, you could have a sleep-breathing disorder. Dr. Hartrick, a sleep apnea dentist in Detroit, can help you manage this disorder without resorting to a CPAP or medication to help you sleep. Find out about oral appliance therapy and if it’s the right solution for you by contacting Hartrick Dentistry at (248) 549-0950.

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