Can you Catch Up on Lost Sleep? Sleep Debt Explained

So, you've pulled a couple of late-nighters at the office. Or, perhaps that one-drink adventure turned into a fun-filled, two-day binger. Now, all you want to do is lay your head down on that fluffy pillow and catch up on some lost sleep.

Yet, is it even possible to recover from lost sleep? Are you now doomed, forever having missed out on getting some proper rest? Talking about missed sleep, what on earth is sleep debt?

What exactly is sleep debt?

Can you Catch Up on Lost Sleep? Sleep Debt ExplainedBeing chronically tired is known as sleep debt, and it isn't a good thing. However, you can catch up on lost sleep.

You now owe your body.

Sleep debt doesn't mean that you now owe some mythical government branch money because you missed out on catching a few winks. Rather than owing any external party, you owe your body.

It would be best if you thought of sleep as being similar to managing a bank account. Regular, healthy amounts of sleep will keep your account in the green. The moment that you start missing out on sleep, you withdraw some of your sleep funds.

For example, if your body needs at least eight hours of sleep every night, but that fun-filled adventure caused you only to get six hours of sleep – you will have two hours of sleep debt.

The more sleep debt that you have, the worse it is going to get for you.

The bad and ugly about being caught in sleep debt.

Being chronically tired is a cause of many health problems. This is true, even if you have the very best mattress to support the spine, along with a fancy memory foam pillow.

Chronic sleep deprivation, also known as sleep debt, can cause high blood pressure and an increased risk of diabetes.

It also lowers your immune system and messes quite badly with your hormones. You will end up feeling depressed, angry, and stressed out.

I need help to make up for lost sleep.

If you suffer from sleep deprivation, you are not alone. The CDC reports that one out of three American adults isn't getting nearly enough sleep. This shocking statistic reflects the fast-paced, high-demand world we find ourselves in.

However, there is some good news for the sleep-deprived. Here are some healthy tips for helping you catch up on missed sleep:

  • Try going to bed earlier tonight.
  • Sleep more for at least two nights in a row.
  • Sleep in during weekends, but keep this extra sleep below an added two hours.
  • Take a well-deserved power nap. This power nap should be about 20 minutes and only ever in the early afternoons.

Everybody is different, so your body may not need as much sleep as your spouse.

The best way to determine whether the amount of sleep you are getting is enough or not is by determining how you feel when you wake up the following day.

If you wake up feeling tired, you should try and adjust the number of hours you sleep. The best advice, though, is to try and not miss out on the sleep that your body requires in the first place.

How do I get more sleep?

Can you Catch Up on Lost Sleep? Sleep Debt ExplainedGetting enough sleep is critical to living a healthy, well-balanced lifestyle. Not only does sleep improve your mood, but it gives your body time to recover, tone things down and do some much-needed maintenance.

If you want a healthy lifestyle and don't want to get caught in sleep debt, you are in luck. Here are some handy tips for getting more sleep at night.

  • Stay away from your electronics. You don't need to look at your social media pages or even emails while in bed.
  • Don't exercise for at least three hours before going to bed.
  • Avoid taking any naps that are longer than 20 minutes.
  • Try to avoid coffee and tea at night, as they both contain caffeine.
  • Turn your bedroom into a calm, dark sanctuary. Remember, bright lights will prevent your body from releasing melatonin, and this handy hormone helps us get to sleep quicker.

If you still feel tired when waking up, try to adjust your evening routine. See what is keeping you up. You could also go to sleep 15 minutes earlier. Repeat this until you find the perfect bedtime for your body and lifestyle.

Our final thoughts

Like we mentioned earlier, we live in a fast-paced, demanding society. Our employers value dedication and hard work. Sadly, this means that proper sleep often gets neglected.

When you try to do everything while being sleep-deprived, your performance and health suffer. Luckily, it is possible to make up for lost sleep. You can beat sleep debt. All it takes are a couple of straightforward changes to your daily routine.

With more, healthier amounts of sleep, you will be able to take on the following day with as much energy and enthusiasm as you started this one.


About Lauren

Lauren is the Content & Community Manager for Wellness Force Media. According to Lauren, wellness is about finding gratitude and joy in doing any type of physical or self-care activity that we love. Wellness means providing ourselves with self-love, good nutrition, and the inner peace that our individual minds and bodies need.

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