Unfortunately lost sleep during the week cannot be "caught up on" over the weekends. That’s just not how it works according to sleep scientists. How many of us have a few late nights at the office, or early mornings getting in a workout and look forward to a nice lie-in on the weekend? And you will enjoy it, that’s for sure. A cruisy start to your day, nice breakfast, relaxed fun or day at home. It’s the best, right?
Until you have to get up an hour (or 3) earlier on your next work day. Monday’s aren’t so great then. And it’s not an ideal way to start your week to be honest. It's like you’re starting off on the wrong foot. This is because you basically have jet-lag. If you’ve ever experienced jet-lag before, or even daylight savings, you will know how strange it feels and how foggy your brain is.
Maybe on Friday and Saturday nights you stay up a couple of hours later, and then sleep-in. You have just altered your sleep patterns quite significantly from the 10pm-6am weekday cycle (if you even have a sleep routine). Everyone goes on about how important a sleep routine is. Then came the bedtime routine, then the morning routine. Well those are all wonderful, but no-one’s talking about the weekend kerfuffle which throws you off again.
Experts recommend having the same sleep routine day-in-day-out, which is kind of unrealistic. Especially for those of us that are up at 5am on weekdays, and in bed by 9:30pm. It means I'm a total nanna on weekends because I’m ready for bed at 10pm. Oh sure, I push through and stay up late, but it doesn’t feel good in the morning when my body clock is waking me up early. But there’s no real good solution around this very real struggle.
Assess your week and see when you can get things done. For morning gym-goers, I don’t have a perfect solution, although if I find one, I’ll let you know. But morning workouts aren’t for everyone. Maybe a 7am alarm, gym after work, dinner by 8pm and bed by 11pm is doable for you. Then once you get to the weekend, you might stay up til midnight and get up by 8am. That’s only one hour difference compared to three.
Another option if you stay up late on the weekend, is to still get up at your set time, but have an afternoon nap. Sure you might get a little sleepy at 3pm on Monday, but that’s manageable. Have some fresh air and an apple and you’re good-to-go.
So, how will you approach sleep this weekend?