Society is becoming more attuned to the connection between good sleep and good health. An article in Medical News Today takes a look at a new study on the impact of sleep deprivation. The researchers focused on how long it takes to recover, or “bounce back” from insufficient sleep.
The Sleep Study
The new study was carried out at Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland. Participants spent 10 days getting restricted sleep. In this case, they slept approximately one-third less than usual.
The researchers wanted to know how a week of recovery, during which participants’ sleep was unrestricted, improved cognitive, locomotor, and other abilities negatively impacted by sleep deprivation.
What they discovered is that it’s harder to regain the functions impaired by sleep loss than people imagine. According to the researchers,
“The current study suggests that 7-day recovery following 10-day sleep restriction is sufficient only for the reaction speed to reverse to baseline, while the other behavioral, locomotor, and neurophysiological measures do not show such improvement.”
Sleep Deprivation and Recovery
In addition to discussing the study, Medical News Today talked with Dr. Stephanie Stahl, a sleep specialist at the Indiana University School of Medicine. She shared her insights on sleep health and the results of the new study.
The article delves into our culture of lost sleep. Professions from health care to transportation have a long history of involving periods of sleep deprivation. Circadian rhythms are disrupted, daytime sleepiness increases, and overall functioning is impacted.
Dr. Stahl notes that sleep deprivation impacts concentration and can lead to accidents. Additionally, she points out the long term dangers of not getting enough sleep,
“Many people do not realize how insufficient sleep can affect our health. Insufficient sleep can increase [the] risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, infection, and dementia.”
The assumption that we can make up for lost sleep by sleeping more hours later proved in this study to be false. It takes longer than we think for our bodies and minds to recover from even a relatively short period of insufficient sleep.
Seven hours of sleep per day is thought to be the minimum required by most adults. This study indicates that skimping for even short periods has adverse effects. Furthermore, it’s difficult to make up for lost sleep.
This new study, though small, adds to the growing body of research indicating that even minor sleep deprivation has significant and lasting effects.
Sources: Medical news today