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Is It Actually Possible To “Catch Up” On Sleep? What Sleep Experts Say

Unfortunately, getting rid of your sleep debt isn’t the same as paying off your student loan or a mortgage; dollars and cents mean nothing to your circadian rhythm. Rather, certified sleep consultant and founder of Live Love Sleep Kaley Medina says her go-to solution to catching up on sleep is to either have her clients hit the pillow 30 minutes before their normal bedtime or sleep 30 to 60 minutes past their normal waking time for a few days.

“Most of us are on a set schedule in our day (from work or taking the kids to school), and if we shift our circadian rhythm later and wake up at the same time, we will find ourselves getting less sleep, thus accumulating more sleep debt or pressure. Which is exactly what we are trying to avoid,” Medina tells mbg. “This [temporary routine] will help to prevent a huge circadian rhythm shift.”

Once you’ve recovered from your sleep debt, Medina says avoiding a future deficit starts by creating a sleep schedule that allows for anywhere between seven and a half to nine hours of sleep each night, plus at least 30 minutes to an hour of a relaxing wind-down routine before bed. It’s also imperative that you maintain healthy sleep hygiene by drowning out disruptive noises with a sound machine, setting your bedroom thermostat between 65 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit, and shutting down all distracting devices to ensure not only that you’re able to fall asleep fast but that you’re able to stay asleep throughout the entire night.

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