Although many people do not value sleep, many benefits are associated with enough sleep. These benefits include increased productivity and concentration, great athletic performance, and better calorie regulation. Getting enough sleep can also help lower the risk of heart disease and increase emotional intelligence.
Even with these benefits, many people sometimes do not get enough sleep. That, in turn, results in sleep debt. Below are more details on sleep debt and why it is hard to recover.
What Is Sleep Debt?
According to research, you should sleep for seven to nine hours every night. When you sleep for less than seven hours per night, you will build up what is commonly known as sleep debt, which is usually the difference between the number of hours you should sleep and the number of hours you have actually slept.
Sleep debt is usually associated with many unpleasant symptoms including, daytime sleepiness, foggy thinking, and increased cortisol levels. Mood instability, impaired memory and weakened immune system are other things that are associated with sleep debt. All these things can negatively affect the overall quality of your life.
Recovering From Sleep Debt
As per the research done by the University of Chicago, recovering from short-term sleep loss can help reverse the negative symptoms associated with sleep deprivation. For instance, it can help lower your blood pressure and help your body to produce more antibodies. It can also help regain your cortisol levels and attention.
You can pay this debt by catching up on the missed night of sleep. For instance, you can decide to take a nap during the day. You may feel refreshed after taking a 30-minutes nap. However, your body will not have fully recovered from the sleep deficit.
Another thing that can help you pay for this debt is sleeping in on the weekends. However, if you do not sleep for a long time, you will not recover from the sleep debt. Instead, you will help your body return to its usual sleeping patterns. To fully recover from this debt, you should sleep for long hours.
Why Is It Hard to Recover From Sleep Debt?
Assume that you sleep for six hours every night from Monday to Friday. You shall have a sleep debt of five hours by the end of the week. According to research, you need four days to recover from one hour of lost sleep. That means that you will need to sleep for twenty days to recover from your sleep debt. Unrealistic, right?
Assuming that you do not fully pay this debt, the cycle of sleep deprivation continues the following week. You will have a huge sleep debt at the end of the year. Recovering from this debt will be hard, and as a result, you will start experiencing several sleep deprivation symptoms.
Tips That Will Help You Make Up for Lost Sleep
For you to recover from sleep debt, you should take a 20 to 30-minutes nap every afternoon and sleep more for two nights. Also, you should go to bed early the next night and sleep in on the weekends for longer hours. However, you must ensure that you do not sleep for more than 11 hours per night during the weekends.
If you are experiencing chronic sleep debt, you should try the above recommendations and make long-term changes. Some of the long-term changes that will help you recover from the debt include going to bed 15 minutes before the desired bedtime and keeping electronics away from you two hours before bedtime.
Keeping electronics out of your bedroom and avoiding caffeinated drinks in the evening will also help you have a goodnight’s sleep. Visiting a sleep apnea dentist will also be of help, especially if your sleep deprivation is associated with sleep apnea.
Sleep debt is usually the difference between the number of hours you should sleep and the actual number of hours you have slept. It is usually associated with many symptoms, including tiredness, impaired memory, and a weak immune system. Recovering from this debt is hard. However, several tips can help you recover from it.