Recovering from Sleep Debt
Our lives are so busy that some days, a full night’s rest seems impossible. Yet, medical professionals continue to recommend that all adults get between seven and nine hours of sleep during the night. For many of us, that’s a number to scoff at. In fact, nearly sixty percent of women say that they consistently go nights without getting even seven hours. This lack of sleep creates a “sleep debt,” sleep deprivation that gets worse with time and also limits are ability to recognize the signs of inadequate sleep. Sleep debt is serious overtime because our bodies use sleep to process and heal from the day before. Without enough sleep, we’re putting ourselves at risk for injury.
Symptoms of Sleep Debt
Symptoms of sleep deprivation are easy to spot. Moodiness, concentration difficulties, poor memory and planning, disorientation, and even hallucinations are all symptoms of sleep debt. You may notice these symptoms yourself, or you may have a friend or family member inform you that your behavior has changed.
Causes of Sleep Debt
Sleep debt may be caused by stress, diet, lack of exercise, or even obstructive sleep apnea. We may also be contributing to our sleep debt on our own, by pushing off bedtime because we’re just “too busy.”
Recovering from Sleep Debt
Sleep debt can create great stress and frustration in a person’s life whether due to problems focusing and performing at work or simply from feeling sleepy all day long. Thankfully, you can recover.
Begin by replenishing sleep in the short term. Add extra hours of sleep to the next few days or plan a nap during the weekend. If you’ve been experiencing sleep debt for an extended amount of time, consider taking a vacation to catch up on your sleep.
Work to eliminate or greatly reduce caffeine in your diet. If you’ve been experiencing sleep loss, no coffees, teas, or even chocolates should be eaten after noon. Eliminate your exposure to bright lights about an hour before bedtime. This means no television, lap top, or smart phone before bed.
Talk to your doctor about continuous positive airway pressure therapy via a CPAP machine. For many of the sleep deprived, the problem is obstructive sleep apnea, a medical condition in which a person stops breathing on and off throughout the night. These moments without breath cause your body to jolt awake hundreds of times a night. These moments add up and can cause serious sleep deprivation. CPAP therapy fixes that.
If you’ve been snoring or experiencing symptoms like weight gain and morning headaches, you may want to talk to your health care provider about sleep apnea. When you receive a diagnosis, visit us online at our excellent medical supply store. You can chat with one of the members of our sleep apnea treatment team and find the best solution to your sleep troubles. We believe in promoting your best sleep because you absolutely deserve it.