Ever experienced nights with little to no sleep? Or maybe you were pulling all-nighters for an upcoming project or pending task? Whatever the reason may be, we’ve all been in that position before - and we tend to think the best way to get back our precious sleep time is to make up for it the next day. But what happens when an all-nighter becomes more frequent? Or if you’re losing sleep every night instead of once every blue moon?
Typically, prolonged sleep deprivation could get in the way of our daily activities, and in most cases be detrimental to our health. So, our Sleep Experts are here to go through the effects of sleep deprivation with you, and suggest useful tips so you can combat your sleep debt:
What Is Sleep Debt?
Research says, adults usually need a good 7-9 hours of sleep daily to promote healthy bodily and cognitive functions. Yet not everyone gets the recommended dose of sleep. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), almost one-third of Americans get less than six hours of sleep, resulting in what is known as sleep debt or sleep deprivation. Sleep debt is essentially the difference between the amount of sleep we need and the amount we actually get. So, for example, if your body needs eight hours of sleep per night, but you only get five cramming proposals due the next day- you have three hours of sleep debt.
Can You Gain Back Sleep?
Sleep is not as easy to negotiate with as many of us may think. In fact, a common misconception is that you could make up for your accumulated sleep debt by sleeping in on the weekends – but alas, that isn’t the case. Studies have shown that people who sleep five hours or less on weekdays, but extra long on weekends, still pay a significant price in terms of mental and physical performance.
While sacrificing a little bit of your sleep may serve you better in the short term, like getting more things done in a day, accumulating sleep debt for the sake of productivity will affect your health in the long run. Research has shown that it can take up to four days to recover from one hour of lost sleep and up to nine days to eliminate sleep debt. Risk of diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and stroke significantly increases when one is in debt to sleep, and sleep deprivation is linked to reduced immune function, metabolic dysregulation and weight gain.
How To Win Your Nights
Getting sufficient is still key to waking up feeling your best. If you've ever spent a night tossing and turning, and you already know you’ll be waking up feeling tired, grumpy and cranky, we highly recommend adopting these sleep hygiene practices to reduce the chances of accumulating sleep debt:
- Set A Sleep Schedule: Maintaining a strict sleep schedule ensures that you’re not only getting the right amount of sleep, but prioritizes rest time for your body to recuperate and continue its nightly functions on time. If you have to change your body clock and sleep hours, we suggest you do it slowly, adjusting sleep time in 30- to 60-minute increments.
- Create a Bedtime Routine: What’s the difference between this tip and the one before? Well, having a nightly routine means allocating time for your mind and body to relax and prepare for quality sleep. Set an alarm 30 minutes to an hour before bed to remind you to start setting yourself up for sleep. This means dimming the lights, turning off electronics, and finding a relaxing activity to do before dozing off.
- Consider Adjusting Daytime Habits: If you’ve chronically underslept, it’s time to take note of any daytime activities that may be contributing to sleep loss. Things like drinking caffeine too close to bedtime, binge watching at night, and midnight snacking could be major causes for sleep issues. So best to restrict activities in your bed to just sleep and sex.
Improve the Bedroom Environment: It’s all about preparing your bedroom for its true purpose: sleep. Optimize your bedroom space and make sure nothing will distract you from a good night’s rest.
We suggest snagging yourself an Emma Pillow which is perfect for a supportive, comforting, and adaptive feel. It’s suitable for all types of sleeping positions because you can mix and match layers for your personal sleep preferences.
If you’re feeling a bit extra, revamp your entire bedroom with a new Emma Original mattress that uses high-quality foams that has zero motion transfer for minimal tossing and turning and will keep you feeling rested and comfortable.
While the effects of sleep deprivation can vary per person, sleep debt should be taken seriously. Remember that prevention is always better than cure– and that goes for sleep too! With these tips, we hope you start winning back your nights and start catching those ZZZs in no time.
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