Most adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep per night. If you start forcing yourself to sleep less than your ideal number of hours, eventually the sleep deficit will catch up to you. Being sleepy during the day can affect you in many ways; you may feel fatigued, drowsy, experience mood swings and become depressed. If you are continuously sleep-deprived, you will have trouble learning new things, doing complex tasks or doing repetitive tasks.
The indirect effects of sleepiness are more dangerous than the direct ones. Continuous lack of sleep can cause you to fall asleep while driving or when operating heavy machinery. Less dramatic, but equally serious, is the chance of repeatedly falling asleep while on the job, even if it is office work, as it can have a detrimental effect on your career.
Trying to “catch up” with sleep on the weekends is not a good long-term solution. Cut down on your waking hours or try not to have successive nights with too little sleep. If your new baby is keeping you up at night, arrange a shift system with your partner to minimise your sleep loss.