Is sleeping eight hours a night a luxury to you? Are you tired even after sleeping? If you said yes, you might have a sleep debt. Don’t take it lightly, because regular sleep deprivation can have significant consequences.
Beyond putting us in a lousy mood, sleep deprivation can lead to severe health issues. A lack of enough sleep puts you at risk of medical conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. It also weakens your immune system, making you susceptible to sickness.
Not getting enough shut-eye also impacts work performance. Just two hours of lost sleep can affect concentration, alertness, decision-making and even motivation. No wonder paying back your sleep debt is as urgent as a real debt!
But is it possible to buy back lost sleep? And if so, how do you pay off sleep debt? Here are five ways:
Repay sleep shortfalls
If you’ve lost some sleeping hours over the week, there’s a quick fix. Sleep for a couple of hours more during the weekend and an additional hour or so on weekdays. Remember, your guide is eight hours per night, that should help you work out any sleep shortfalls and how much you have to pay back.
Settle long-term sleep debt
You may have more than a week’s worth of sleep debt and need a thorough repayment plan. If sleep deprivation is profoundly impacting your health, why not take some leave? Take time to catch up on sleep. You may need to snooze for 10 hours at the start, but as you pay back more of your lost sleep, the closer you’ll get to sleeping regular hours.
Set your sleep routine
Once out of the sleep debt rut, do your best not to fall back into it. Encourage your body to take on a sleep routine. Include relaxation exercises in your day. As much as you can, go to bed at the same each night.
You also want to create a sleep-friendly environment in your bedroom. So, make sure you can keep it dark and noise-free at night. Don’t forget to set ‘device-free’ time as well, especially right before going to bed.
Manage your diet
Stimulants like caffeine and energy drinks can impact the amount and quality of sleep. So, avoid these if you can, particularly in the afternoon.
Watch out for sugary foods and stop eating at least four hours before your scheduled bedtime. If you still suffer from sleep struggles, up your intake of food rich in tryptophan. It boosts the production of the sleep-inducing hormone, melatonin. Chicken, turkey, nuts and seeds are all excellent sources of tryptophan.