How to pay off a sleep deficiency

Sleep debt is quantified as the amount of sleep that you NEED per night minus the hours of sleep that you actually GET. So if, for whatever reason, you lost two hours of sleep each night last week, and you want to catch up by sleeping in at the weekend, you'll have to sleep in 5 hours a day. Obviously, five hours of extra sleep is very unlikely to happen. So you might think that you're catching up if you sleep three hours extra on Saturday and Sunday, but you're really still building up your sleep debt. In this case 4 hours a week.

Most people need 7-8 hours of sleep each night, but in reality, we only sleep that much in the weekends. This is why more than 60% of Americans suffer from sleeping disorders at some point in their lives. Factors like extended working hours and more extravagant leisure activities cause us to miss out on sleep. And, because we don't pay off our sleep debt, we're all facing the consequences of insomnia.

For minor sleep deficiencies however, you can apply some ideas to pay off your sleep debt. You may plan on paying back the next day, through naps that you make, or you may decide to sleep longer hours in the weekend.

Here are the techniques to pay back your sleep debt in more detail:

1. If you had little sleep last night, you may sleep for increments of a half hour to an hour during the day. You may do this during your lunch breaks or coffee breaks. Even a 15 minute nap can do wonders for your concentration at work or in school. Best would be an area where you can lay down for a while, but even a short nap on your desk can help a lot.

2. You can also pay off your sleep debt by sleeping earlier the next day. If you had little sleep last night because of a deadline, a project, or a much needed cocktail break, you can sleep an hour or two before your scheduled bedtime. If you feel restless and just can't sleep at all, induce sleep by taking warm milk, a turkey burger, or a tuna fish sandwich. These foods are all rich in tryptophan, a food constituent that can easily induce rest, relaxation and ultimately, sleep.

3. Another way to pay back a heavy sleep debt is to sleep longer during the weekends. After a hectic week of work or school, you may sleep longer hours on Saturdays and Sundays. You may also relax and pamper yourself with massages, spa routines and a nice long bath time to rejuvenate your body. The weekends are a great time to eat healthier and sleep longer. Load up on proteins and carbohydrates that you can use for energy when you burn the midnight oil next week.

4. Finally, you can pay of your sleep debt by taking a time off. Just stay at home and sleep the entire vacation away if necessary.

For more severe sleep deprivation, cutting down on your sleep debt is the only option left. This means that you're not going to pay back on your sleep debt, but you're going to prevent it from occurring in the first place.


Post a Comment