If sleep debt were anything like credit card debt many more people would be filing for bankruptcy. Sleep debt is defined as shorting your needed sleep by any amount, less than an hour to disregarding sleep entirely for a night. Many of us will overlook an hour’s worth of sleep with no thought whatsoever. This debt adds up over time, leading to an increase in illness and lack of sleep induced mental cleansing necessary to operate at our optimal range. These sleep debts are something to be taken seriously and examined on a personal basis. The good news is you can repay short-term sleep debt, that is to say, You Can Catch Up On Sleep.
While it is possible to catch up on sleep lost during a work week by sleeping in on the weekend, it isn’t as easy as that. Let’s say you lost out on 10 hours of sleep on a work week, you can make up for it by sleeping an extra 3 to 4 hours a night on the weekend, but you must also increase the sleep the following week by an hour or two to fully pay the debt. This practice is not an easy one for anyone to adhere to since losing 10 hours of sleep during the week is typically not an isolated incident for most. A better practice would be to seek a set work pattern that allows you to maintain a sleep schedule that in the long run will keep you healthier and sharper in the workplace.
Sleep debt for longer periods of time is, unfortunately, a damaging event. Those college years of overnight studying and hanging with friends and neglecting sleep are not recoverable. However, you are still very capable of setting a sleep schedule that will help you recoup some of your losses. You won’t need to seek weeks worth of sleep at one time, however tactically adding a few hours a night to your sleep schedule will help you. By adding consistently to your night’s sleep, you will eventually find that your body naturally resets itself. You will see a happy point in your sleep development where you will feel a complete rest and be aware of the needed hours of sleep you need each night. Once you get to this point, it is of utmost importance that you avoid backsliding into a damaging sleep debt routine. Maintain a discipline by knowing that long-term, your sleep will keep you healthier than any other activity you do.
You must think of sleep as a necessary factor for your livelihood. It is as important as eating and drinking water. Sleep is a staple for health and rejuvenation. It cannot be passed by or ignored. It is easier to establish a set sleeping pattern than it would be to try and repay a sleep debt in the long run.
What are you doing to ensure you don’t fall into sleep debt? Please share with us and other readers!
About the author:
Javier lives to give. He is an active member of his community and church. His hard work and efforts pay off for him when he can help others, and give to efforts for the betterment of others.
He is the owner of the Sleep Well, a professionally trained sleep store, specializing in specific mattresses for specific needs.
His spare time is spent with his beautiful wife, Gretchen. They are craft beer hobbyists who enjoy making their own beers, visiting small breweries, and making new friends. Their lives revolve around church, family, exercising, four great dogs, and keeping up with their home in Alamogordo NM.