1 in 3 adults in America owe a sleep debt: are you one of them? You are if you get less than 8 hours of sleep at night. How come? A miss bedtime here, an hour early rise there and your sleep debt rises, and before you know it your in the hole, you’re trailing by at least 8 hours of sleep a week.
Sooner or later this rising sleep liability will catch up with you and like financial obligation, you can’t wish it away. The more you add to it the more substantial your balance. At which point your body becomes overworked, stretched thin with activity, and badly in need of ‘necessary rest.’
The good news is you can repay your sleep debt.
Admittedly, you may have good cause to push your body beyond the limit and forego the chance to have a good day’s sleep. But, what would represent a severe problem for you is not to have a plan on how to make up for lost sleep time.
This topic has been subject to much research over time, as healthcare practitioners seek to understand why, how and when the lack of proper sleep becomes an issue.
Why your sleep debt is an issue for concern
Speaking from a productive point of view, making use of sleep hours as work hours can drastically impact your productivity over time. And health-wise, it may be a few steps towards a shorter lifespan. More specifically, the accumulation of sleep debt can be terrible due to the following effects:
- A chronic lack of sleep can be judged to be one of the key causes of accidents on the roads (and other means of transportations). This is the reason why drivers are strongly advised to always take measures to combat drowsiness before setting out on the road.
- Denying yourself some good quality sleep as at when due can gradually lead to a sleep disorder or complicated health issue.
- Cases of sleep debt can lead to a significantly reduced ability to focus while making attempts to be productive or do work. Depriving yourself of some good ‘sleep time’ will ultimately cause you to be a burden to your team, partners and yourself.
- Another reason sleep debt can be an issue is that it promptly seems to speed up the aging process in individuals, as body organs are strained to work longer than necessary per time, given the absence of proper relaxation and sleep.
- Lack of adequate sleep can affect the function of growth hormones within the body, and naturally, lead to more money being spent on healthcare needs.
How to know when you’re sleep-indebted
Ever walked into the office on a weekday, only to gradually notice that you are exhausted, and in need of sleep? This can mean that you are on course for a sleep debt and that you owe yourself some quality sleep. Agreed, it can also say nothing serious, as you may just be having one of those ‘perfectly normal’ lazy days. But, what other symptoms indicate sleep debt in an individual?
- Lack of motivation.
- Poor mood and a weak countenance.
- Difficulty in learning or comprehending
- Increased appetite.
- Increased incompetence.
- You get easily irritated.
- Excessive yawning
Ways to repay your sleep debt
There are basically a lot of ideas and patterns that you can adapt to recover from sleep deficit. Time to repay your sleep obligation. These methods are straightforward, assured and offer a long-lasting effect as long as they are applied seriously. They include:
- Aim for an earlier bedtime. This may just be the most crucial step in recovering from sleep debt. If you only adhere to one step towards paying off your backlog of sleep, let this be that step. Getting early sleep affords you the chance to meet up the required relaxation time frame that guarantees maximum productivity.
- Check that your mattress is not costing you your sleep. Your bed — specifically your mattress — could be guilty of some of your sleep debt. If you get the required hours of sleep but still feel drowsy afterward, that’s a sign your mattress is not comfy enough. You could get a mattress topper or buy a new, comfortable mattress.
- Ease up on the caffeine and stimulants. You know that it’s probably not going to be a ‘good night’s sleep’ when your body contains caffeine in abnormal amounts, as this substance deprives you of sleep and enhances alertness levels. So, you have to be careful and ensure you don’t consume caffeine any more than 4-5 hours before bedtime.
- Draw the line regarding your schedule. This is super important because you want to make sure that you actually ‘have time for quality’ sleep and energy recuperation. Therefore, you need to task your mind and create a schedule containing no less than six hours of compulsory ‘night sleep’ as well as timely naps (preferably 30-50 minutes long) during the day. You may also need to apply some methods that will help you fall asleep faster.
The quest to make good on a sleep debt cannot be complete without a determination to want an improved, ‘all-around’ healthy lifestyle. So take the responsibility to promote your own body’s happiness, give it as much sleep as it needs to function optimally. Your body deserves that much.