(I found this couch outside, it looks like a good place to sleep)
We spend a third of our lives sleeping, and many of us don’t get enough of it. Sleep debt doesn’t just stop there, but lingers with us through the day and on to the next. I’m guilty of it, most of us don’t spring out of bed fully energised, bursting ready to take on the day. The National Sleep Foundation recommends adults seven to nine hours of sleep for optimum health and function. Hardly what most of us are getting, and even if we’re getting it, it is not complete restful sleep.
Lacking the proper amount of sleep can cause fuzzy-headedness, irritability, and fatigue. Good thing this doesn’t add up or multiplies or we would be in trouble. However once sleep deprivation kicks in, it can spiral into greater health consequences such as weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, stroke and memory loss.
People suffering from insufficient sleep may also suffer from chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, depression, and obesity, as well as from cancer, increased mortality, and reduced quality of life and productivity. That’s not so fun.
Not getting to bed in time can result from pressure, stress, insomnia, sleep apnea, pain, health conditions or even just not being in the mood to sleep. We have to control it and fix it, because sleep is for repairing our bodies, growth maintenance, organising our thoughts and brain development for cognitive skills such as speech, memory, innovation and flexible thinking.
When we’re sleepy we start to slur our words, everything seems dreamy, planning or timeliness doesn’t really exist any more. Actually being awake for 17 hours leads to a decrease in performance, and equals to performing activity after drinking two cups of wine, that is blood alcohol level of 0.05%! Not everyone has to drink to feel tipsy.
It’s better to feel tipsy by choice than to be forced to. Sleep shouldn’t be seen as a luxury, it is as important as health to diet and exercise, we need to hop right on it.
Here are two tips on catching up on sleep.
Short-Term – If you missed sleep over the week:
Sleep in during the weekend and add an hour or two extra per night the following week.
Long-Term – This is if you haven’t slept properly for a years:
Try taking a break from it all and relaxing. I mean really relaxing without the stress and pressures. Sleeping in when you can is a good thing. Initially you might be sleeping twelve hours a night. Eventually your body will automatically adjust the amount of sleep you need, and regulate itself for a refresh start every morning.
I’m guilty of not sleeping enough, so I’m on this journey with you. Let’s go to bed on time. Sleeping in doesn’t entitle us to sleep later, it means more energy to be productive in the day and commitment to go to bed on time. Eventually when it’s possible to catch up on sleep, we’ll have a personal set number of hours to sleep, keep that in mind and adjust your schedule. If it’s impossible to get enough sleep during the week, use weekends to catch up, but I want to know your trying. Don’t burn your candle from both ends or stay up on purpose. Let your body be your guide, listen to your body.