Can we ever pay off our sleep debt?
For most people, not getting enough sleep has been a way of life. Unlike simpler times which left people with no other options but to sleep and wake with daylight, technology has given us a never-ending menu of activities to do after sunset. And thanks to the internet, time zones have become no more than nominal placeholders in our daily routine—social media allows you to reach all over the world, which means that at any given time, someone somewhere is always awake for some kind of interaction.
Even children and young adults are becoming used to racking up on sleep debt. In many urban communities, it’s not that uncommon for kids to stay up past ten o’clock, probably because the household is not yet winding down at that hour. All of these changes mean that we have become a nation of people with formidable sleep debts, which could have long-term serious consequences on your health. So today, MattressNextDay asks: Is it really possible to completely pay off sleep debt?
Sleep debt is a deficit of rest. It’s the difference between the amount of sleep you should be getting and the amount of sleep that you actually get. Every time you get less sleep than you need, you add to your sleep debt.
How can you tell for sure how much sleep do you need? There is not one single answer for this. Each person has different sleep needs depending on their metabolism, their age, and how much physical or mental activity they have sustained but in general most adults need somewhere between 6-10 hours of sleep every night. Children and teens require between 10-14 hours of sleep, owing to their growing bodies.
Basically, if you need an alarm clock to wake up in the morning, you are not getting enough sleep. If you wake up feeling the need to sleep for just ten minutes more, you are not getting enough sleep. That means that instead of eating into your sleep debt, you are actually adding to it.
Sleep experts do say that sleep debt can be eventually paid off, though it’s not something you can accomplish in just a week or two. As you very well know, sleeping in for the whole weekend morning ill only make you feel wide awake at your usual bedtime so you sleep late the next morning and the whole cycle begins again. To successfully pay off sleep debt, what you need to do is to move back your bedtime a couple of hours earlier and keep this up until you find yourself waking up on your own without feeling sluggish. You may find yourself sleeping for ten hours each night, especially if you have been sleep deprived for a long time.
You will know you have finished with sleep debt when you feel sleepy at a reasonable hour and you wake up feeling refreshed. At the start, you may feel lousier that usual as your body gets used to the extra snoozes but this will gradually change. Your body knows just how much sleep you need; when it’s had enough, your sleep hours will decrease and a sleep pattern will emerge.
With the cold weather now upon us, it’s going to be much harder to get out of your cheap memory foam bed in the UK in the morning. Don’t make it harder upon yourself by adding sleep deprivation in the mix. By making sure that your sleep debt is all paid off, crawling out under your warm clearance bed linens UK won’t be such a burden if you have the energy that can only be gotten from a full night’s worth of quality sleep.