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Sleep Debt – What Is It?

sleep debt

When your body fails to get the proper amount of rest each night you create what is known as “sleep debt.”  Sleep debt occurs when your body does not get enough restorative sleep and you wake up feeling not rested or refreshed.

If you consistently get less than 6 hours of sleep each night you are probably suffering from sleep deprivation, which effects your cognitive skills.

Many occupations are breeding grounds for sleep debt such as military personal, shift works, and doctors who are routinely always on call.  Not only can your performance of daily tasks be diminished but also your overall health is negatively affected.

One you lost sleep you cannot get it back.  Remember that sleep debt is the difference between the amount of sleep your body naturally craves and the amount you actually give it.  It’s a deficit that continues to grow and can never be repaid.  The cumulative effect of sleep debt can produce heart disease, impaired vision, impaired driving, loss of memory and an increased risk of obesity.

In order for your body to have the chance of experiencing optimal health you should strive to sleep between 6 and 9 hours each night.  When your body gets the right amount of quality rest each night it returns the favor because you wake up feeling invigorated and refreshed.

There are conflicting views of whether a sleep debt can be repaid.  Some experts seem to suggest that you can make it up by sleeping extra hours on the weekend while others say that once sleep is lost- its lost forever.  The real goal should be for you to not get into sleep debt in the first place.

Your body will communicate to you when its tired.  You should go to bed when you feel tired and resist the desire to stay up past your body’s biological clock.  You should also wake up the next morning without the need for an alarm clock.  Waking up to the sound of an alarm clock is both unnatural and unnecessary.

There are two important aspects of recovery sleep, the number of hours that you sleep and your sleep quality.  The best sleep will most likely occur during what is known as deep sleep.  Deep sleep allows the mind to relax and recover.

Sleep debt when not kept in check can become a serious problem.  Although all of the reasons are not completely understood of why we sleep, we know that sleep is essential to your body enjoying optimal health.  Getting a good sleep at night allows you to feel superhuman the next day.  Life has too many things that could possibly stress you out and there’s really no since in creating a sleep debt that you can’t repay.