Sleep debt is the difference between the amount of sleep you ought to get and the amount of sleep you actually get. Most people are sleep deprived. Over a period of time, lack of sleep can lead to short-term effects like fatigue, foggy brain, and impaired vision. In the long run, sleep deprivation can cause serious health conditions, including obesity, insulin resistance, and heart disease.
Experts generally recommend getting at least eight hours of sleep each night, although everyone has unique sleep requirements, ranging from six to ten hours per night.
When you don't sleep long enough, sleep debt is created. Each time you lose sleep, more debt accumulates.
In this day and age of hectic schedules and increasing demands, people are likely to ignore the signs of sleep deprivation. Yet, doing so can have dangerous consequences.
Like any other type of debt, sleep debt needs to be repaid. Otherwise, you won’t be able to function at your best and your productivity, mood, and overall health will suffer.
Signs That You Are Sleep Deprived
If you feel drowsy during the day, that means you didn’t get enough sleep.
Other signs of sleep deprivation include falling asleep within five minutes of lying down and having "microsleeps" episodes, which are short periods of sleep that last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes.
Chronic sleep loss also puts you at risk for accidents, particularly while driving, because it can make you feel intensely sleepy without warning.
How to Repay Your Debt
Suffering from sleep deprivation? Catch up on the lost sleep by sleeping an extra hour or two each night. If you suffer from chronic sleep loss, it may take you a few months just to get back into a natural sleep pattern.
Bear in mind that both the duration and intensity of the sleep you get are important.
In order to recover from chronic sleep deprivation, go to bed when you feel tired and wake up on your own – without the help of an alarm clock – in the morning.
In the beginning of the recovery process, you may find yourself sleeping upwards of 10 hours per night, but the amount of time you sleep each night will decrease as your debt is erased.
Eventually, you’ll fall into a sleep pattern that fits your needs and notice a significant improvement in your mental and physical capabilities.
Remember: nothing can change your daily sleep requirement. To maintain your health and well-being, make sleep a priority and meet your sleep needs every day.
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Stages of Sleep