7 Surprising Things That Actually Happen To Your Body When You Try To Catch Up On Sleep

1. Your Memory Function May Improve

While it may take a few nights, once you deal with your sleep debt, you may notice your memory is doing better.

“There is an increase in memory function and elasticity of the brain once the sleep debt is caught up.” Nilong Vyas, MD, founder and owner of Sleepless in NOLA sleep consulting and Mommy MD Guide, tells Bustle. If you can commit to sleeping enough hours every night, you may feel benefits like improved memory sooner than you’d anticipate.

2. You May Begin To Restore Your Immune System

Sleep deprivation takes a toll on your whole body, including your immune system. Properly catching up on sleep can help it get back to normal.

“Sleep is not optional, and getting limited quantities has real consequences,” Dr. Sujay Kansagra, Mattress Firm’s sleep health expert, tells Bustle. “[…] Even a few poor nights of sleep can lead to serious sleep deprivation and poor immune function.” Even if it may take a few days, catching up on sleep for the benefit of immune function is worthwhile.

3. Your Reaction Time Can Improve

Famously, drowsy driving can be as dangerous as driving drunk. One of the issues that causes this is that sleep deprivation can slow your reaction time. Catching up on sleep can help this.

“[Catching up on sleep takes] time, but not as much as you might think,” clinical psychologist and sleep doctor Dr. Michael Breus, tells Bustle. Dr. Breus says that reaction time is one of the metrics of sleep deprivation that bounces back the most quickly. So, even in your daily life, you may notice these benefits early on.