REPAYING YOUR SLEEP DEBT

REPAYING YOUR SLEEP DEBT

September 4, 2018

Written by Syed Ahnaf Bakht

Sleep debt or sleep deficit is a term used to describe cumulative sleep loss resulting from not getting enough sleep. Your accumulated sleep debt will increase over time if you regularly get less sleep than you need. This will make you agitated and prone to accidents and illness.

There are two kinds of sleep debt; the results of partial sleep deprivation and total sleep deprivation. Partial sleep deprivation occurs when a person sleeps too little for several days or weeks. Total sleep deprivation means being kept awake for at least 24 hours.

Before looking into how you can repair sleep deprivation effects, here are some advices to avoid sleep deficit in the first place.

CREATE A SLEEPING HAVEN

Your bedroom is your sanctuary and your bed is only for sleep, intimacy, and other restful activities, like reading and meditation. Avoid bringing in electronic devices into bed.

STAY AWAY FROM NAPPING INCESSANTLY

Nap when it’s necessary because naps can interfere with your regular sleep schedule. Napping an hour or two when your need to sleep is at its peak in the afternoon can be helpful however.

What follows are some tips to counter the effects of sleep loss.

SETTLE SHORT-TERM DEBT

Adjust your sleep duration for the weekends to include the time you missed out on sleep during the hectic work week. So, if you missed out on 10 hours of sleep in the span of a week, add three to four extra sleep hours on the weekend and an extra hour or two per night the following week until you have repaid the debt fully.

TACKLING A LONG-TERM DEBT

If you have lost out on required sleep day in, day out, for years, you have accumulated a substantial amount of sleep debt. You will not need to pull in a 24-hour slumber party to recoup the losses, nonetheless you will need to spread the path to recovery over a few weeks. Plan a vacation with a light roster and few obligations – not a full-blown trip across Europe. Choose to relax instead. Forget that the alarm clock exists and go to sleep. Allow your body to wake up naturally.

AVOID SLIPPING INTO A NEW DEBT CYCLE

Once you have figured out the pattern of your sleep cycle, conform your schedule around it and stick to it – try to go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time, every day, even on weekends. Remember, you can conform to the advices stated previously to avoiding sleep deficit in the first place.

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