A recent study focused on the recovery process from sleep deprivation and found that even after a week of catch-up sleep following 10 days of reduced sleep, most cognitive measures hadn’t returned to normal. Researchers discovered that deficits in cognitive functioning accumulated during the period of partial sleep restriction and were not easily rectified by additional sleep afterward.
Dr. Stephanie M. Stahl, an expert in sleep medicine, emphasized the study’s significance, highlighting that even a short duration of reduced sleep can lead to persistent impairment, lasting even after a week of adequate sleep.
The common belief that one can compensate for lost sleep by catching up later might be a myth, as this study revealed that only reaction speeds recovered to baseline after a week of extended sleep. Other cognitive, behavioral, and neurophysiological measures didn’t exhibit the same improvement, suggesting a longer-lasting impact of chronic partial sleep deprivation.
Dr. Aric Prather from the University of California, San Francisco, reinforced the study’s findings, emphasizing the mounting evidence about the substantial cost of prolonged sleep loss that might not be easily recovered. The research underscores the importance of adequate sleep for optimal cognitive and functional performance, challenging the notion of easily recuperating from sleep deficits later on.