A previous question dealt with whether it is possible to catch up on lost sleep. This question is a little different.

Assume that a healthy adult has been deprived of sleep for "x" hours. How much sleep is required to restore healthy brain function, compared to sleep lost?

I wouldn't think the hours needed could be predicted by a linear scale.
Is there some predictable relationship between the two and what type of relationship is it?

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    $\begingroup$ Many times I feel it's not just about sleeping more hours and it will recover the hours u didn't slept before, I feel its more like, just go back to normal routine, and how many days you will need to get used to it again, imo, sleeping too much each time won't recover anything $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 12, 2013 at 10:10
  • $\begingroup$ I can give it some search, I dont know if it is exactly right that, or there is also some exact calcs. I tought that way because, evry1 has his body, every1 has different activitys with diferent effort and exhaustion levels, diferent evrything!, also, you can notice that when you sleep many hours at once you feel damn tired, still there might be some calcs and studs about that for sure, I'll give it a search when I have some free time since I'm intrested on it too :d $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 12, 2013 at 12:13
  • $\begingroup$ Closely related: cogsci.stackexchange.com/questions/1480/… $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 12, 2013 at 19:05
  • $\begingroup$ I don't see how this question is different from my previous one you link to? Did you read past the title? Closing it for now, I will reopen in case I misinterpreted. $\endgroup$
    – Steven Jeuris
    Commented Aug 19, 2014 at 12:36

1 Answer 1


It is funny that you ask this question. The answer is you can't. When you dont get enough sleep and you feel tired and your brain activity is lower (for example, trouble remembering what you were doing or where you left your keys) you cant catch up to it. You might take a powernap (not longer than 90 minutes) to give you a sensation of feeling awake, but the brain doesnt become more active. I dont know exactly why you cant catch up to lost hours of sleep, but you just cant. That also the reason, besides a messed up biogical clock according to light, why people working night shift experience more mental and health issues.