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Can you make up for the lack of sleep?

First part of this question is quite obvious:
- with naps or sleeping in on the weekends, can I make up some of the sleep I lack at night since most of us have those dreadful 9-5 workdays?

second part (which is harder) is if I realize I have been sleep deprived my whole life (teenage years, and early twenties) (but TONS during college years)
is it possible to make up for those damages later on or has it already set in and is going to permanently effect me?

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    Aug 19 2013: Well, directly to the questions at hand...
    I would not worry about "...those damages..." from the past.
    Don't worry about that which you have no control over.
    It's like too much sun exposure, years ago as a child. Sure it may increase the chances of melanoma; however, the sunscreen we put on tomorrow won't address the problems of the past -just in the moment / future.

    As for compensating, we probably will have to live with a little uncertainty for a while because not enough is known about the mechanics and chemistry of sleep, health, the brain, etc.
    Again, we will probably just have to do the best we can to achieve our best balance.

    As for your ability to compensate with naps, I do not know. I am not an expert, and also every person is different.
    Sorry that I could not be more helpful; however, other contributors may know better than I.

    Thank you for asking a thought-provoking question.
    Sincerely,
    John "Gusty" of Houston, Texas.

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