Your Saturday Snoozefest Won’t Repay Your Sleep Debt

Losing sleep can often seem like the lesser of evils when you’re facing the tangible repercussions of not following through on your everyday commitments, but let’s be candid. According to the CDC, sacrificing shut-eye is linked to chronic diseases and conditions like diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and depression.

A deep chat with a close friend and a celebratory dance party that goes into the wee hours of the morning are moments you’ll always remember. Taxes and anxiety-inducing work deadlines are inescapable realities of life. Both the precious and the mundane will rob you of sleep on occasion. However, if sleep is consistently slipping to the bottom of your priority list out of necessity or carelessness, it’s time to do some rearranging of your everyday lifestyle.

To avoid this rearranging, you probably reply with “Don’t worry! I’ll catch up on sleep tomorrow, next week, when this is over…” The list of excuses goes on. But, is it true? Can you ever really catch up on sleep or repay your sleep debt?

Several medical studies agree that sleep debt can be repaid, although it won’t happen immediately during your Saturday morning snoozefest. Instead, by gradually adding an hour or two of sleep each day, you can start to shrink your debt. For those who have a significant deficit that has grown over time, it may take several months to bring your balance back from the negatives.

Whether you’re deep in debt or want to be proactive about your health, we’ve rounded up our favorite practices for creating your own sleep routine that should revolve around at least seven hours of rest.

  1. Recognize sleep as a priority and create a schedule. Then, stick to it! This will help your body fall into a rhythm.
  2. Keep electronics out of the bedroom one hour before bed. This is the perfect opportunity for you to journal or read.
  3. Three hours before bedtime: avoid caffeine, alcohol, and heavy exercise this close to your window of sleep.
  4. Stressed? Write down your thoughts or to-do list in a journal or planner before bed, so you have a clear head when you hit the pillow.
  5. Create a space that signals your body and mind that it’s time to relax: this could involve lighting a candle, investing in a new mattress, or simply keeping your bedroom clean.

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