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What do forfeited vacation days and sleep debt have in common? You can’t get that time back. Vacation days not enjoyed and hours not slept can have a negative impact on your overall health. The long-term impacts of routinely skimping on sleep are not easily reversible. It’s vital to your health to step away from your desk and enjoy some much-needed R&R. Follow these tips on your next vacation to learn how to catch up on sleep.
Health experts recommend approximately eight hours of sleep per night, although the right amount of sleep for each person can vary a little. Sleep debt occurs when you sleep less than the amount of time your body demands. If you do this night after night, that debt adds up. It’s important to make sleep a priority because a busy lifestyle can easily force us to sacrifice a restful, rejuvenating sleep on behalf of something more pressing.
When it comes to sleeping, quality and quantity matter. When traveling, fitful naps in planes, trains, and cars won’t cut it. You get the most refreshing sleep when your body is able to complete the full 90-minute sleep cycle multiple times. If sleep is interrupted, the body cannot complete all the phases needed for muscle repair, memory consolidation, and release of growth hormones.
It’s easy to lose track of how much sleep you’re getting while on the move. This could explain why 54 percent of Americans report feeling “tired” upon returning from vacation.
One night of poor sleep doesn’t seem like a big deal, but over time, sleep debt is extremely hazardous to your health. Short-term sleep deprivation leads to a foggy brain, worsened vision, impaired driving abilities, forgetfulness, and a weakened immune system. There are other long-term effects of sleep deprivation you might not know about.
Sleep debt is not like financial debt. It is not possible to “make up” the hours lost from other nights by sleeping longer, according to a recent Harvard Medical School study. The study demonstrated the negative effects of chronic sleep deprivation on a person’s overall performance. Even sleeping in on the weekend or napping cannot fully compensate for substantial sleep debt. So ultimately, catching up on sleep is a myth, but there is hope for the weary!
If you are sleep deprived, you can get back on a regular sleep cycle by making an effort to go to bed earlier. Your circadian rhythm will naturally return to its normal cycle and you will eventually feel more refreshed if you prioritize sleep and stick to a relaxing nighttime routine. Consistently attaining eight hours of sleep every night, will restore your body and mind from the immediate effects of sleep deprivation.
Vacationing can complicate a healthy sleep schedule. However, there are ways to be proactive about protecting your sleep regimen, even when you’re out of your comfort zone. During vacation, it can be difficult to make sleep a priority, but these tips can teach you how to catch up on sleep on vacation.
Make sure you plan a vacation that leaves room for flexibility in your schedule. People that try to see and do everything while traveling could end up returning from their vacation mentally and physically drained. Find a balance between outlining what your trip will look like and ensuring there is space for change in your plans, in case you need additional rest.
Also, make sure you don’t start your vacation in a sleep deficit.
If you’re headed to a different time zone, maintaining a sleep schedule may be more challenging. Jet lag occurs when there is an imbalance in our body’s biological clock. Our circadian rhythms might take a few days to adjust to a new time zone, resulting in feeling tired in the middle of the day or wide awake late at night.
Slight behavioral adjustments can minimize the effects of jet lag. Anticipating the time change and slowly acclimating to the destination’s local time several days before departure, can ease your body into the time change. It’s also beneficial to change the time on your watch and other devices when you begin your vacation.
With Mattress Warehouse, you can kiss your post-vacation blues goodbye and learn how to catch up on sleep! Owning a mattress that offers high-quality, customized comfort means that you’ll look forward to sleeping in your own bed again. Starting and maintaining a healthy sleep routine begins at home. With the right sleep system at home, you can achieve restful sleep all year round, so you can use your vacation for a combination of exploring and R&R.
At Mattress Warehouse, sleep experts use science to find the right mattress for you through the bedMATCH™ process. Physical characteristics, back or joint pain, and preferred sleep position are a few of the things taken into consideration when determining your personalized sleep system. You will lookforward to coming home from vacation and sleeping in a bed that’s specifically tailored to your body and your sleep habits. After all, there’s no place like home!
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