News & Blog

Can You Catch Up On Sleep On Holiday?

Aug 8, 2019

Everyone loves a holiday. Not only is it a period of time to eat nice food, see amazing attractions or read a good book on the beach but for most, it’s about having a much-deserved rest – and catching up on sleep.

Can you catch up on sleep on holiday?

The idea of going on holiday to catch up on sleep sounds appealing but in reality, can you really make up for lost sleep?

If you have a poor night’s sleep, you will find your body trying to recuperate the following night. You may find yourself feeling sleepy earlier or wanting to lie in for an extra hour or so.  And this is ok if it’s not a regular occurrence.

However, while sleeping a few extra hours can help you feel more rested, it does not erase a large sleep debt that has built up over a period of weeks or even months. In fact, the longer you leave it, the harder it is to pay back and ultimately you are unable to reverse all the effects of ‘lost sleep’ even if you sleep in every morning on your holiday!

It’s the same with trying to sleep in at the weekends. While it can compensate for some lost sleep (it helps with brain recovery and memory processing), it doesn’t fix all the health deficits caused by the workweek sleep loss and is not a replacement for getting a good night’s sleep.

Equally when you try to ‘catch up’ on sleep, it can start to play havoc with your body’s circadian rhythm (internal body clock) and you may find that having a lie-in or changing your bed time and wake up time can disrupt your normal routine and leaving you feeling with that groggy Monday morning feeling.

Steps to stop being sleep deprived

If you are constantly sleep deprived, it’s probably worth evaluating your sleep by completing a sleep diary and seeing what lifestyle changes could be made to get a better night’s sleep.

Try using your holiday as a way to build some good sleep habits and a sleep pattern that works for you eg. waking naturally, spending less time watching any kind of screen before bed, feeling less stressed, sleeping in a more comfortable bed (time for a new one at home?) etc.