Sleep Pressure Simplified

A simple summary on managing sleep pressure for sleep health.

Emily Hokett
2 min readMay 31, 2024
Photo by Rob Wicks on Unsplash

Sometimes my sleep suffers. But I try to avoid patterns of poor sleep.

We all have times when we need to adjust our sleep schedules. Emergencies and other unforeseen events happen. Sometimes it’s other demands imposed upon us, one of which is daylight savings time. This past year of the time change, I remember waking up feeling groggy, but I knew getting up anyway would help me better adjust to the change and get back into a good sleep schedule.

Our sleep/wake cycles follow patterns called circadian rhythms. These rhythms are thought to be controlled by two processes, loosely our bodily time and clock time.

Bodily time, or sleep pressure, is where we have the most control. We can manipulate when we feel sleepy by managing our wake time. For example, if I sleep in on weekends, I will probably have difficulty sleeping on a regular schedule during weekdays. Sleeping in on daylight savings time is similar but involves an abrupt and persistent shift in our bodily rhythms. But, with time, consistency, and patience, we can adjust our sleep schedules.

For a deeper dive into this topic, see the long-form post on Substack.


  • If you are consistently having trouble with sleep, I recommend consulting a trusted medical professional.
  • For a comprehensive sleep guide, read Aric Prather’s book, The Sleep Prescription: Seven Days to Unlocking Your Best Rest.
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Emily Hokett

healthy sleep advocate | writer, runner, doodler | learning time management skills to live a balanced, meaningful life