Can we ever really catch up on missed sleep? Experts say “yes,” but there’s a catch. Here’s what you need to know, straight from the experts at the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

  • First: If you’ve recently pulled an all-nighter, sleep in on the weekend. Studies show that getting a few extra hours of weekend sleep will chip away at your “sleep debt.” But experts warn it’ll only help you catch up on recent lost sleep, within a day or so. But if you’re always sleep-deprived, sleeping late on the weekend won’t make a single positive difference. In fact, having a different weekend and weekday sleep schedule will make you feel worse.

  • There’s even a name for it: Social Jet Lag. Because you’ll feel like you’re jet lagged. Essentially, your body is confused, because it prefers a consistent sleep schedule. And that throws your hormones out of whack. So if you’re always changing things up, you’ll feel experience more grogginess and dull headaches.

  • However, if you know you’ll be up all night soon, because you’re working on a big presentation, rest up a few nights before. Research shows that banking sleep in advance of a long night offsets upcoming sleep deprivation. So, if you know you’re going to be up all Thursday night at a function, then try sleeping an extra hour every night, starting on Monday, to prep your body for the all-nighter.

  • And if you can, take a power nap every day. Researchers say that a regularly-scheduled nap of 25 minutes max is healthier than banking hours of sleep on the weekend. That’s because our bodies like routine, and when we stick to a nap schedule, our body anticipates the break, and never drifts into a deep dream sleep, which can cause grogginess. Instead, a quick nap makes us feel refreshed and energized.