Originally appeared on Yahoo Health:
In the world of Hollywood we’re used to hearing stories of late nights out and non-stop parties. So, it was a bit shocking to when New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady gave an interview about how he was opting for a night in rather than a night on the town.
While Patriots players Rob Gronkowski, Jonas Gray, and Shane Vereen were attending a Clippers game with Justin Bieber on Monday, Brady, during his weekly interview on WEEI’s “Dennis and Callahan” on Tuesday, said that he’d rather catch some zzz’s. “I’m not doing anything like that. That time has come and gone in my life. I did a lot of Charger work last night, sleeping. This is my first time away from my kids in a while, so I finally get some decent sleep.”
Brady isn’t the only celebrity who uses time away from home to catch up on sleep. Actress Brooke Burke-Charvet has also admitted to taking “sleepcations” with her husband. Could bed actually be the newest hot spot?
With more and more people working long hours and having extended family commitments it’s no surprise that there is a serious case of sleep deprivation in this country. The National Sleep Foundation says 42 percent of Americans get less than the recommended amount of sleep, which can have some serious consequences. “Sleep deprivation studies repeatedly show a variable (negative) impact on mood, cognitive performance, and motor function,” says one University of Pennsylvania study. “Deficits in daytime performance due to sleep loss are experienced universally and associated with a significant social, financial, and human cost.”
But, can sleep marathon sessions really be the solution?
Research shows that the strategy really can help you catch up on sleep. In one study, research subjects who were allowed to sleep as long as they wanted spent about 12 hours per night in bed for four or five nights, on average, and then adjusted to a more normal 7 to 8 hours. ” It can definitely help meet some of the sleep needs that you missed,” says Natalie Dautovich, National Sleep Foundation Environmental Scholar. “Sleeping in can be beneficial especially if you have that extended period of time to get back on your regular sleep schedule.” In fact, Shane Green, global hospitality consultant and founder and president of SGE International, says that many of his VIP clients will check into a hotel just to catch up on sleep. “So many times you get these celebrities that are coming off the road or off the tour after a season and they will check in for a couple of weeks just to get their balance back,” says Shane. “We have a number of celebrities who would check in and put blackout curtains up and pretty much just sleep for days on end.” Once they’ve acclimated, they are ready to enter the real world again.
While long stretches of sleep can be beneficial as an occasional fix to reset your schedule, studies show it’s not useful for chronic deprivation. A recent Harvard Medical School study shows the effects of persistent sleep loss on performance and concludes that it is nearly impossible to “catch up on sleep” to improve performance. “There is some emerging research that this recovery sleep is not the same as getting the sleep to begin with in both quality and quantity,” says Natalie. “If they test people after a regular night’s sleep versus sleeping in or if they’ve had these ‘sleepcations,’ they don’t preform as well as if they’ve had a regular night’s sleep. The recovery sleep cannot fully compensate for the missed sleep.” According to the study, even when you sleep an extra 10 hours to compensate for sleeping only 6 hours a night for up to two weeks, your reaction times and ability to focus is worse than if you had pulled an all nighter. The bottom line is that there is no real way to get back lost sleep.
If you tend to have an erratic schedule, there is a tool that can help you get the most out of your slumber. A sleep calculator can help you compute when to go to bed to make sure you are not disrupting your sleep cycle. During the night, sleeping follows a predictable pattern, moving back and forth between deep sleep and rapid eye movement sleep. Waking up during a deep sleep cycle can leave you feeling groggy and disoriented. Even if you have to wake up at 5am, a sleep calculator can identify several times that are best for falling asleep so you will wake up feeling refreshed—even if you haven’t gotten the recommended six and a half to eight hours.