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The How-To Lounge: Catching up on Sleep

It seems like every week I’m playing catch-up on sleep from the previous weekend. In fact, until I actually make a mental note to chill out, relax, and get in some extra Zs, I just keep getting more and more run-down. And I know I’m not alone, so I want to share some of my tricks with those of you who are in desperate need of more sleep. To see them, just


  • First of all, when it comes to rest, it’s all about quality over quantity. So if you only got six hours of sleep, getting 10 hours of sleep the next night is not the equivalent of two eight-hour nights. It’s far more important that the sleep you do get is deep and regenerative, so pull down the shades and turn off your phone!
  • With that in mind, when you do try to catch up on lost sleep by sleeping in, you’re actually confusing your body's natural sleep pattern, which is why you can end up more tired when you get up later. I love sleeping in too, but if you really want to catch up, then you have to avoid it.
  • Instead, try taking a power nap later on that day. Usually you only need 20 to 40 minutes to feel refreshed. Again, much longer and you might end up feeling more groggy than energized.
  • Rest is better than nothing. Even if you can’t fall asleep for a nap, lie down for 30 minutes; it will give your muscles and your mind a chance to relax.
  • I've heard contradictory thoughts about whether or not you should just get up and walk around when you're having a difficult time falling asleep. Lying in bed feeling frustrated about not being able to sleep can make you anxious and keep you from relaxing. I think it's best to get up, but avoid any stimulating activities.

There's nothing as emotionally draining as losing too much sleep, but instead of getting flustered, keep these tips in mind and know that your body will naturally compensate over time.


Join The Conversation
seraphimm seraphimm 9 years
No matter how short my naps are that day... I can't sleep at night!!!!! :( just yesterday, I squeezed in a nap and I couldn't fall asleep until 5 a.m. I almost went crazy. It's the WORST FEELING in the world when your BODY wants to sleep so bad but your BRAIN won't let you. ugh!! :(
zabrow zabrow 9 years
i've been so tired the last few weeks that i've started taking 1 or 2 hour naps after work a few times a week. apparently i need those couple extra hours of sleep because i always end up by going to bed at my normal time despite the naps.
tatsauce tatsauce 9 years
I love sleep too! I'm the worst at getting up early in the morning, for the past 2 weeks, I've been trying to get up early so that I can fit in exercise before work but I keep hitting that snooze.
k8-rckstr k8-rckstr 9 years
mmmmm sleep.... i love sleep
LuvLeoDiCaprio LuvLeoDiCaprio 9 years
For some reason I can't do power naps, my naps turn into 5-7 hour sleep sessions.
Jude-C Jude-C 9 years
I agree, just lying down for a while, even if you don't fall asleep, is a great refresher.
brutalcupcake brutalcupcake 9 years
Yeah I've been trying to stop sleeping in, but I fear taking naps will screw up my sleep schedule too.
skigurl skigurl 9 years
when i lose sleep, i always look forward to saturday so i can sleep in, but i know thats against the rules!
TidalWave TidalWave 9 years
I like the 20 minute power naps. I can take one right after work which is a good transition for me from work-mode to home-mode. It doesn't take up too much of my time and also doesn't leave me feeling groggy when I wake up.
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