It is important to sleep well, and the quality of your nightly sleep can affect the flow of your day. Sometimes you don’t get enough sleep, or you don’t sleep well, and you wake up tired or not feeling rested. The question is: can you catch up on your sleep the next night or just by napping?

Thanks to the contribute of Lara Fratticci, neurologist at Humanitas, we will try to ascertain whether you can catch up on your sleep and whether a nap in the middle of the afternoon really is refreshing.

“First of all, we need to distinguish between those who are temporarily sleep-deprived due to a sleepless night or an interrupted sleep session, and those who suffer from chronic sleep deprivation. A study by the Boston Medical Center, conducted by Doctor Daniel Cohen, compared some people who were kept awake for 24 hours to people that only slept five hours per night over the last three weeks. Those who were kept awake for 24 hours caught up on their sleep in ten hours, while the others needed much more time. The conclusion is that the more chronic the sleep deprivation is, the harder the recovery is”, the doctor explains.


Naps help Catching up on your Sleep: True or False?

Naps can be effective, especially in the afternoon. “However, they should not become a habit: you should only nap when necessary. In order to be restorative, it should last between half an hour and an hour maximum, so that you may reach the REM cycle and restore your energy”, doctor Fratticci explains.


Why is it Important to Sleep well?

“Even though the duration is approximate, given that it may be slightly longer or shorter for some people, nightly sleep should last 7-8 hours. Sleeping less or more affects negatively our well-being and health”, the doctor highlights.

Sleeping well:

• Helps memory, focusing and attention.
• Reduces cholesterol and the risk of cerebrovascular diseases.
• Helps eat healthy and keep your weight under control. In fact, leptin (tiny protein hormone) follows the circadian rhythm and increases during the night, making you feel full and avoiding nightly hunger pangs.
• Fights diabetes. If you don’t get enough sleep, the stress hormone levels get higher, as well as cholesterol and blood sugars, and you may become insulin-resistant.
• Avoids the danger of arterial hypertension, that is also linked to the increase in stress hormone levels.
• Is good for your skin. In fact, the hormone cortisol makes your skin elastic by affecting elastin and collagen.
• Helps your general well-being and mood, affecting positively your personal performances and love for life.