Weekend Self Care: Sleep Debt

Sleep debt or sleep deficit is the cumulative effect of not getting enough sleep. A large sleep debt may lead to mental or physical fatigue. There are two kinds of sleep debt: the results of partial sleep deprivation and total sleep deprivation

Another odd title  – but here goes,  I have been reading a lot about self care  and health issues lately with the goal of settling into a better pattern of taking care of myself, my household along with my career and full time business.  Yes, i could spin off onto time management and work/life balance issues but my focus is on sleep, and issues related to it.

Recently i read an interesting study done by the National Institute of Health that examined the sleep habits of a large study group.  One myth the group shared was a belief that sleep deprivation can be made up by sleeping more.  That’s a myth. With inadequate amounts of sleep we accumulate a “sleep debt”.  Sleeping more will not correct this debt.  Experts suggest that the better option is to be consistent with a bed time every night… it is that routine that will recover your body, mind and spirit from deficits.

Getting quality sleep takes some planning and effort.  Harvard Medical Journal gives these tips for improving quality and getting a good night of sleep every night:

Sound advice for sleeping soundly

  • Create a sleep sanctuary. Reserve it for sleep, intimacy, and other restful activities, like pleasure reading and meditation. Keep it on the cool side. Banish the television, computer, smart phone, electronic devices, and other diversions from that space.
  • Nap only if necessary. Night owls and shift workers are at the greatest risk for sleep debt. Napping an hour or two at the peak of sleepiness in the afternoon can help to supplement hours missed at night. But naps can also interfere with your ability to sleep at night and throw your sleep schedule into disarray.
  • Avoid caffeine after noon, and go light on alcohol.
  • Get regular exercise, but not within three hours of bedtime.

We all live such a fast paced life.  But the secret is the basics – take good care of the basics and they will take care of us.  Hoping you will be able to reduce your sleep debt, and fall into a good routine.  That is my goal too!