Avoiding a bad night’s sleep is better than trying to make up for it later. But if you can’t get enough sleep, here are some helpful recommendations. Prioritize going to bed on time (or a little earlier) the following night. If you can’t keep your eyes open, a short nap is better than a long one.

You take an early flight. You are a new parent. Or maybe noisy neighbors kept you up at night last night. Whether by choice or unintentionally, you’ve had very little sleep and now face the day with glassy eyes and lack of sleep.

What’s the best way to deal with it?

First, it’s important to recognize that sleepless nights (even if they’re infrequent) affect our health and well-being. Research indicates that after just one sleepless night, blood tests can detect changes in more than 100 blood proteins, including those that affect blood sugar levels, immune function and metabolism. Over time, these types of biochemical changes can increase the risk of health problems such as diabetes, weight gain, and even cancer. Other research suggests that not sleeping through the night can alter RNA fragments in the blood in ways that indicate a decline in cognitive functioning.

And yet other research shows that drivers are at greater risk of crashes after getting a poor night’s sleep. And you probably know from experience that a poor night’s sleep can affect mood, alertness, ability to concentrate, and even judgment and agility.

The unpredictability of life pretty much guarantees that you won’t sleep perfectly every night of your life (and you certainly shouldn’t blame yourself when that happens). But avoiding bad sleep if and when you can is far more ideal than trying to undo the consequences the next day. There is a phenomenon called “sleep debt”, which unfortunately accumulates over time.

sleep debt

Sleep debt is the amount of sleep you need at night minus the amount you actually get, and each hour lost adds to the total debt. Most adults need at least seven hours of sleep per night, according to the CDC. People try to make up for their lack of sleep by snoozing more the next night or during the weekend, but there’s really no way to make up for it in the short term. The recovery of this night is not going to be done the following night. It takes a few nights before you really recover.

Or maybe longer. A randomized, controlled study published in March 2019 in Current Biology asked participants to reduce their sleep by five hours during the week and then make up the difference over the weekend. The following week, on average, study participants still had a disrupted sleep schedule, in addition to taking in more calories during the evening, gaining weight, and having more blood insulin sensitivity. weak. A sign of disturbance in metabolic function.

So if you didn’t sleep well last night, what’s the best way to get through the day and get back to a healthy sleep schedule? Here’s what you need to know.

1. Prioritize returning to your sleep schedule the next night

As we mentioned, you can’t really make up for your sleep deficit. The best way to recover from a sleepless night is to not let it turn into two nights (or more) of disturbed sleep. Try to go to bed at the same time as usual the day after a bad night’s sleep and get back to a regular and consistent sleep schedule as soon as possible. And if you’re planning on sleeping in on the weekends, the best way to do this is to gradually reduce the time you spend in bed each day so that you’re back to a normal schedule at the start of the week. Let’s say you wake up at 7 a.m. on a weekday. On Saturday morning you will wake up at 9 am, on Sunday morning you will wake up at 8 am and on Monday morning you will wake up again at 7 am. Even two days of not waking up on time can disrupt your normal sleep schedule in the future.

2. Avoid taking a nap the next day

After a night of sleep deprivation, you’ll probably feel tired and want to take a nap the next day. But it’s best not to take a midday nap if you can. Even if you’re sleepy or feeling a little unwell, it’s best to wait until bedtime (or maybe a little earlier). If you take a nap, you’re going to have the same problem the next night[restlesssleepStickingtoaconsistentsleepschedulemeansgoingtobedandwakingupatthesametimeeverydayItisbestnottovarymorethan30minuteseithersideofyourusualtime[desommeilagitérespecterunhorairedesommeilcohérentsignifiesecoucheretseréveilleràlamêmeheuretouslesjoursIlestpréférabledenepasvarierdeplusde30minutesdepartetd’autredevotreheurehabituelle

3. If you must rest, make it an energizing nap.

If you have trouble concentrating and keeping your eyes open, and you get the chance, try taking a mini nap or a restorative nap. This can be a good strategy to at least recharge your batteries a little. But you don’t sleep really deeply or long enough to interfere with your nighttime sleep (as long as you don’t do so later in the afternoon or evening, too close to bedtime. Twenty minutes gives you enough of light-sleep to rejuvenate you, but it doesn’t get you into deep sleep. Waking up in the middle of a deep sleep will leave you feeling groggy.

Or take a coffee nap, which means you drink coffee, and take an energetic nap. The caffeine starts working after about half an hour. The effects of caffeine are therefore felt when you wake up from a nap. A well-cited study, published in 1997 in Psychophysiology, showed that people who took a 15-minute nap after drinking 200 milligrams of caffeine made less than a tenth of the errors in a driving simulator than people given a placebo treatment. They also made fewer errors than those who drank caffeine alone.

4. Know when to stop drinking caffeine

Remember that the goal is to get to bed on time the next day. If you want to use caffeine during the day to help keep you going, that’s reasonable. But be careful how much and when you consume it. Caffeine is most effective for the first hour after consumption, but its alerting effects continue for up to 10 hours afterward. Early afternoon is a good time to drink the last coffee of the day.

5. Avoid drowsy driving

Lack of sleep increases the chances of having a car accident, as well as other accidents. If you’re sleep deprived, let someone else drive for you, whether it’s a friend, carpool, public transport, or even just a stop on the road for a break, if you have the symptoms following:

Inability to keep eyes open
You catch yourself dozing off
Difficulty holding head up
Inability to remember the last kilometers traveled
Roll beyond your exit
Miss the road signs
You slip out of your lane or onto the shoulder.

6. Don’t panic, but see your doctor if sleepless nights become a habit.

You can ask your doctor for a referral or find a directory of sleep clinics online. And seek help as soon as possible. Often, chronic insomnia begins because a person’s sleep routine is disrupted (perhaps due to a stressful event they are dealing with or a disruption in their schedule), and even when ‘she has the ability to return to her old healthy sleep schedule, her body and brain struggle to do so. It is important to know that a single night of poor sleep is not going to ruin your health. But if lack of sleep becomes a habit, you are more likely to suffer from certain chronic diseases in the long term.

* criptom strives to transmit health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE, the information given can not replace the opinion of a health professional.