Sleep Debt is a term that has been cropping up lately. In this day and age sleep is something that effects every one of us, and is never too far from our thoughts. Whether we’ve had a great night’s sleep, or whether we can never sleep, the conversation easily rolls off the tongue much the same as talking about the weather.
So, what is Sleep Debt?
Sleep Debt is a new term which is used to quantify the accumulative time we lose due to loss of sleep. So, if we need 8 hours sleep per night, but we only manage to get 7 hours every night our Sleep Debt will be 7 hours per week, 28 hours per month, 336 hours per year – which is 14 days in total!
Why should I care?
There are a number of reasons why you should make sure that you’re getting enough sleep. Besides the general feeling of exhaustion and how basic functions can become near impossible, sleep deprivation can have far more severe consequences to our overall health.
1). Sleep helps your brain to function properly, recovering from the day and preparing for the next. This allows you to make informed decisions, and retain information much better.
2). Sleep helps your body recover. When you sleep your muscles, cells, tissues and organs recover and repair, a lack of sleep prohibits this. Ongoing sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke.
3). Everyday performance and safety. Sleep deprivation causes your reactions to be slower. For example, drowsy drivers may feel capable of driving, yet, studies show that sleep deficiency harms your driving ability as much as, or more than, being drunk. It’s estimated that driver sleepiness is a factor in about 100,000 car accidents each year, resulting in about 1,500 deaths.
However, sleep deficiency doesn’t just affect drivers. People in all lines of work, including health care workers, pilots, students, lawyers, mechanics, and assembly line workers, can be affected by sleep deficiency.
Can I repay my Sleep Debt?
There is contradicting research and opinion on this one. For the most part, you can’t repay 10 hours of sleep debt by sleeping an extra 10 hours at the weekend. It’s much better to practice a steady and healthy sleep cycle. If it’s impossible to get 8 hours sleep during the week, aim for 7 hours, but be consistent. Read our blog post HERE for tips on a better sleep, turn your phone on silent and on weekends increase your sleep a little longer. If you’re finding it hard to sleep, we swear by adding a few drops of lavender oil on our pillows (under the pillowcase so it prevents any stains), this helps calm and ease our mind. You can buy lavender oil HERE!