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Can you 'catch up' on anti-inflammatory rest?

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Say you've had a busy, long, few days at work, stayed up late watching Channel 9's Wednesday night movie and struggled to get to sleep on time because of a racing mind. Is it possible to catch up on the sleep you've lost and is it still effective and anti-inflammatory for the body?

How does Adenosine work?

A need to sleep is controlled by two parts - firstly based on whether it is light or dark and secondly by 'how-long-have-you-been-awake'. As you stay up, a chemical in your brain called adenosine builds up eventually telling your brain its time to sleep. 16 hours is the limit - once you've been awake for this long the brain has to fall asleep. Caffeine can block this chemical build-up, but severe lack of sleep leads to increased cortisol levels.

Is it as good as regular sleep?

The short term negative effects are reversed when you finally do sleep, so it is possible to 'catch-up' on what you've missed. The current debate is whether this 'catching-up' has the same anti-inflammatory benefits as regular sleep. So far, the research is pointing to no - making this a regular habit will have the same impact that jetlag has on your body.


 

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