No one likes being in debt, especially when it involves the sandman. Are you suffering from sleep deprivation? Did you know that when you don’t get enough sleep, it can cause both physical and mental consequences?
What is Sleep Debt?
Do you often have daytime fatigue, and you don’t understand why? Are you yawning constantly and at the most inopportune times? The problem might be you’re not getting sufficient rest.
If you don’t get at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night, then you will have side effects from the lack of rest the next day. Skimp on your sleep a few days in a row, and you have a rest debt.
Part of the problem is caused by chemicals in your brain, specifically adenosine. When you are awake, it increases the amount of this chemical in your mind. You should also know that this is a by-product of metabolism that uses energy in your body.
When you’re awake, your adenosine collects, which makes you feel the need to rest. As you sleep, the levels of adenosine drop so that you can be alert for the day. When you are not resting, you’re not clearing out enough of this chemical, and you will feel groggy and unrested.
Additionally, you may be lying in bed hoping to get rest, but a condition like sleep apnea or another illness makes your rest fitful. These conditions can also make you feel groggy and out of sorts the next day.
The Impacts of Previous and Recent Sleep Deficiencies
Do you think that you have sleep debt? There are consequences to this issue, but you should know that they can be reversed. When you get sufficient rest, you will counter the short-term effects that sleep debt has caused.
The bad news is that you can’t repay your debt overnight. If you’ve not had sufficient rest for days or months, there can be long term consequences of not getting adequate rest. Thankfully, when you start getting the required sleep you need, you will begin to tell the difference quickly. How can you pay off this sleep debt you’ve accumulated?
If you want to pay down your debt to the sandman, you need to hit the sack. It’s time to drift off into dreamland and ensure that you get the right amount. Here are ten tips for ensuring you pay your debt and ensure that you’re functioning better the next day.
1. Take Naps
Oh, to be a kid again and get a nap every day. Well, you may not be able to nap from noon to two as most infants do, but you can undoubtedly get a nap in on your schedule. If you get home at five pm in the evening, why not rest till 7 pm?
The weekends are also a great time to catch up on some much-needed rest; make sure you don’t overdo it. Too much sleep can be counterproductive and alter your circadian rhythm, which can be another significant problem.
You should learn the art of power napping and get 20-30 minutes on your lunch hour. You will be surprised how much easier the afternoon will go when you’re well-rested.
2. Increase Your Sleep Time
While you may not be able to go to bed super early, why not try just a half hour before you usually turn in? By adding a half-hour to your evening and morning, you will add an extra hour back towards your sleep debt.
Some people feel well-rested on six hours each night, while others may need a full 10 hours. Each person is different, so you should identify your needs and ensure they’re met. Try to sneak a few extra minutes whenever possible.
3. Make Weekends About Rest
So many people try to cram 100 things into their schedule on the weekends. One thing that you should make a priority during this time is your rest. Now, if you sleep in till noon or 1 pm on a Saturday, you will probably wake with a migraine.
Your body can also get too much sleep, and it can make you feel off the rest of the day. You know how much sleep you need, but make sure you don’t go over that amount by too much. You can repay your sleep debt all in one day as it’s a process that will take many days.
4. Limit Your Caffeine
Did you know that caffeine stimulates you and blocks the brain’s signals for adenosine? While that soda or coffee tastes so good, the feel-good effects it gives are noticeably short-lived. You cannot fix your sleep debt by drinking caffeine to stimulate you.
These drinks have a limit on what they can do, and they can be bad for you. You don’t need your heart racing and all sorts of issues going on because you’ve had way more caffeine than what’s recommended.
5. Make Your Bedroom a Haven
One of the reasons people aren’t getting sufficient sleep is that their bedroom is not geared towards rest. It would help if you had a comfortable bed with lovely plump pillows and soothing blankets.
If you want to get sufficient rest, then you must create a place where it can happen. If you’re not getting enough sleep, it may be because that lumpy mattress and flat pillow are partly to blame.
A study was done on the risks of having electronics in your bedroom. Even a small light from a DVD player or clock can be disturbing. Remove anything that has light in the bedroom.
When there is light getting inside, then your sleep can be disturbed. To pay back your sleep debt, remove anything that might mess with your rest.
7. Make Bedtime a Priority
Many people make bargains with their sleep schedule as they would a bet at a poker table. You can’t take away two hours here and put it on at the end of the week. Your bedtime must be a priority.