Sleep Debt And Sleep Debt Recovery
Lesson 5 Chapter 2
“You need close to 35 Sleep Cycles a Week.”
Let's do some sleep maths. You lost two hours of sleep every night last week because of a big project due on Friday. On Saturday and Sunday, you slept in, getting four extra hours. Come Monday morning, you were feeling so bright-eyed, you only had one cup of coffee, instead of your usual two. But don't be duped by your apparent vim and vigour: You're still carrying around a heavy load of sleepiness, or what experts call "sleep debt"—in this case something like six hours, almost a full nights' sleep.
What Is Sleep Debt?
Sleep debt is the difference between the amount of sleep you should be getting and the amount you actually get. It's a deficit that grows every time we skim some extra minutes off our nightly slumber.
Studies show that such short-term sleep deprivation leads to a foggy brain, worsened vision, impaired driving, and trouble remembering. Long-term effects include obesity, insulin resistance, and heart disease.
The Best Way To Repay It
The good news is that, like all debt, with some work, sleep debt can be repaid—though it won't happen in one extended snooze marathon. Tacking on an extra hour or two of sleep a night is the way to catch up. If you know how long your average sleep cycle is, add that on to your weekend sleep.
Go to bed when you are tired, and allow your body to wake you in the morning (no alarm clock allowed). You may find yourself catatonic in the beginning of the recovery cycle: Expect to bank upward of ten hours shut-eye per night. As the days pass, however, the amount of time sleeping will gradually decrease. As you erase sleep debt, your body will come to rest at a sleep pattern that is specifically right for you.