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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 18 2013: There is such a thing as 'sleep debt' which can, indeed, be caught up on. However, how much of this 'debt' can accumulate is something you'd need to study further. For during sleep. the brain creates serotonin, repairs cells and runs through 'system checks' of all your physiology (hence the morning stiffy guys wake up with - reproductive check).

    So, it's only logical to presume that 'too' much sleep deprivation - i.e., deprivation of the required bodily processes only accomplished during sleep - would have repercussive effects that may not be fixed by merely catching on a bit of shut-eye. For example, if you're an athletic and exercise regularly, destroying muscle cells in the process, if you do not get adequate, consistent rest, your body cannot sufficiently repair the cells you break down in your exercise routines. Thus, you'll likely get injured more easily and inevitably won't be getting the benefits of the work you're putting in. I'm sure this rule applies to any and all the other reparative process that take place during sleep.
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      Aug 19 2013: REGARDING: "...repercussive effects..." or repercussion.
      I agree, and I was thinking something similar when I first saw the question.
      Sleep is not fully understood, and there may be many subtleties that are cumulative.

      REGARDING: "...'sleep debt'..."
      I would say it might indeed be similar to a financial problem.
      One may certainly get-by rather well in poverty without being aware of opportunities missed; furthermore, it is also like not knowing that which you do not know. SLEEP POVERTY may create more chronic, long-term problems that go unnoticed. If someone suddenly wins the lottery and has a little bit extra, like maybe "catching up" on some sleep, well that still may not address some previous poor choices, persistent unhappiness, anxiety, etc. It might even make things worse.

      Of course, it may depend upon the individual. Even one individual may have multiple sleep patterns. For instance, I heard about a good one and tried it once or twice with great success. I've heard that if you are able to soundly go to bed by 8 pm, you may sleep for a couple of hours in deep sleep and then awaken to a light sleep for a couple of hours before returning to a deep sleep until morning. I think it was the best sleep I've ever had; unfortunately, it's not my regular sleep pattern. Still, I'm fortunate to not have any major (known) issues. The point of the little anecdote is that one may simply have more than one possibility -like the program modes on a camera, preset for different circumstances. On the other hand, I may not be maximizing potential benefits.

      Until research provides better insight into the mechanics and chemistry of sleep, health, the brain, etc., we will probably just have to do the best we can to achieve our best balance.
      Of course, a greater appreciation for Domestic Tranquility may also help many others as well.

      Again, you made a good point about "...repercussive effects..."
      Sincerely,
      John "Gusty" of Houston, Texas.
      • Aug 19 2013: One thing's for certain: the benefits of napping during the day are scientifically proven. Some companies even implement policies to promote employees taking afternoon naps.
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          Aug 20 2013: I do agree that naps are important, useful, and even effective to variable degrees;
          however,
          we might be careful to not ask the metaphorical kitchen knife to do the job of a screw-driver. We might end up with a dull or broken blade.

          Also, it would be kind of like giving up on food and even taste for the concentrated nutrients in a vitamin pill.
          Good sleep is something one may really savor and appreciate.

          As for "companies," they may not all be the best of role models.

          Finally, sleep itself may be more of a Right than an obligation. While we are all free to choose our own personal preference, the greater problem may be when society and even corporations and businesses make demands that would violate the domain of Domestic Tranquility -reverberating with repercussions throughout society and civilization.

          Thanks you,
          for I did enjoy pondering your important point,
          which I had previously neglected to consider.
          Sincerely,
          John “Gusty” of Houston, Texas.

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