Sleep debt destroys; let us prevent or keep the debt down – Part II.

Home » Sleep debt destroys; let us prevent or keep the debt down – Part II.

In my last article, I recalled that many of us incur sleep debt by having a very common challenge of not getting the recommended amount of sleep over the night. I put it down that sleep debt is the shortage from the amount of sleep someone needs as compared to the amount they actually get. “…For example, if a person needs eight hours of sleep per night but the person only gets about six hours, the person has incurred a sleep debt of 2 hours that day. If the person goes on to get 6 hours of sleep each day for 5 days, he accumulates a sleep debt of 10 hours.” The sleep debt is caused by common activities such as work hours, school homework, and home-to-work return trips with traffic jams, social media and other relaxing activities. The sleep debt, especially when it accumulates, has a lot of adverse consequences, with the commonest being ongoing fatigue, sleepiness and inattentiveness with a greater risk of falls and accidents. Other serious consequences include poor thinking functions, negative moods, poor concentration with memory loss, reduced immunity, the risk of diseases like obesity, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and stroke. If you don’t easily feel sleepy and tired after sleep deprivation, you are free of the side effects. Research has demonstrated that some people with accumulated sleep debt may not always experience tiredness because their brain functions have adapted to long-lasting sleep restrictions, even though their body is suffering from significant declines in physical and mental performance.

Despite the numerous ugly effects of sleep debt, we can avoid gathering the sleep debt through healthy sleep practices and we can also adopt some measures to pay up our sleep debt. The best way for avoiding sleep debt is to learn how much sleep our body needs and rank sleep high among our needs. An adult needs seven to nine hours of sleep per night. Children and teenagers need more sleep for their body’s growth and development. There’re other ways to improvesleep habits and avoid sleep debt. One of the ways is keeping a regular sleep schedule by going to bed and waking up around the same times daily. Another way is considering daytime good sleep habits. These are getting enough daytime sunlight and exercise, drinking adequate water leaving the urine colourless like water, eating just enough healthy diet, avoiding smoking, caffeine, and excess alcohol. Further ways are to improve the sleeping environment and apply a nightly relaxing routine like investing in quality mattresses, pillows and sheets, limiting screen time prior to bedtime, dimming the lights, turning off noises, keeping the sleeping place cool and finding any relaxing activity such as reading. Let’s consider how to pay the sleep debt as it is almost unavoidable and will often happen. As sleep debt often manifests with sleepiness, some think that we can settle the sleep debt, keeping the sleepiness and tiredness away to remain energized and alert, by using stimulants mainly coffee, tea, and energy drinks. It is not so! Whether we like it or not, sleep is the only currency that can be used to settle sleep debt.  Taking a nap often comes to mind as the first remedy if one is sleep deprived. A brief, 10 to 20-minute nap, preferably in the afternoon, can help one feel more refreshed during the day. Sleeping extra during off-duty days, holidays and weekends to catch up on sleep is another common approach. Unfortunately, studies found that getting extra sleep makes you feel better and helps ease tiredness or daytime sleepiness but usually provides a false sense of recovery because this is often not enough for complete recovery from sleep debt and reversal of the adverse health effects of sleep loss. The accumulated effects of sleep loss are a debt that takes longer to repay for the full recovery. …“It can take up to four days to recover from one hour of lost sleep and up to nine days to completely eliminate sleep debt.” A full recovery from sleep debt returns our body to its baseline, reducing the negative effects of sleep loss.

As it can take days to recover from sleep debt, it is profitable to focus on improving your sleep habits and consistently getting enough sleep!

Let us remember that when you sleep, where you sleep and how you sleep affect your mental health, physical well-being and living a healthy life. We all need quality sleep to be set for productivity in our endeavours.

Do you need further information on the above subject? Are you looking for ways to maintain quality sleep for general well-being and healthy living? Remember, a doctor is an appropriate person to offer relevant advice for the maintenance of quality sleep and solution to sleep difficulties. Do you want to contact the Orthopaedic Sleep Consultant, Dr Charles Uzodimma, kindly send your request to OR Whatsapp 08129982143.

Vitafoam Nigeria Plc is the first foam manufacturing company in Nigeria to partner with a sleep expert to educate Nigerians on quality sleep for healthy living. The proudly Nigerian company is truly passionate about sleep and general well-being, and continues to consistently provide Nigerians with quality products that offer great comfort.

To learn more about Vitafoam, please visit

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