Sleep Deficit: What It Is and How You Can Recover From It

woman working late laptop sleep deficit

The importance of sleep in one’s overall health cannot be overstated. Getting enough rest has numerous advantages, including increased energy during the day, improved immunological function, and better ability to absorb and retain new knowledge. However, getting adequate sleep can be difficult for many people. People who work in the medical sector or other shift work industries are more likely to lose sleep.

Sleep deprivation can have significant implications, causing problems at work, school, and while driving. It raises the risk of diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and stroke. Sleep deprivation for an extended period has an impact on memory and cognitive processes.

Because chronic sleep deprivation can have such serious repercussions, it’s only natural to want to learn how to get back on track. The good news is that by taking the appropriate actions, people can recover and regain the benefits of adequate, high-quality sleep.


What Is a Sleep Deficit?

The disparity between how much sleep someone requires and how much sleep they get is known as sleep deficit or sleep debt. If your body requires eight hours of sleep per night but only gets six, you have a two-hour sleep deficit.

Due to the cumulative nature of sleep debt, going to sleep 30 or 60 minutes later than usual for a few days can soon mount up. Work hours, commuting, socializing, resting, and watching TV are the most typical activities that cause many to lose sleep.

We don’t always feel weary when we’ve accumulated sleep debt. According to research, people can adapt cognitively to prolonged sleep deprivation, so they don’t feel fatigued even when their bodies indicate significant physical and mental performance decreases.


How to Recover from Sleep Debt?

If you’ve accumulated sleep debt and want to get back on track, here are some suggestions for resuming a healthy sleep pattern and recuperating from the impacts of sleep loss:


Be Consistent

Make sleep a priority in your schedule and try to stick to the same bedtime and morning alarm every day, including on weekends. For resyncing circadian rhythms, it’s critical to keep a constant sleep pattern.


Keep a Sleep Diary

Keeping a sleep diary will help you keep track of your sleep habits and any patterns or practices that are interfering with your sleep. Try keeping a sleep diary with the National Sleep Foundation; it only takes a few minutes per day.


Try Taking a Nap in the Afternoon

While napping isn’t a substitute for sleep, it can help you feel more rested throughout the day. Naps may be especially beneficial for shift workers or those who have trouble keeping a stable sleep schedule. Even a quick power nap can help you get through the rest of the day.


Give Yourself Some Time

Recovering from sleep debt might take days. Slowly increase your sleep time for 15 to 30 minutes at a time, until you reach your body’s optimal amount of sleep. Concentrate on improving your sleep hygiene and getting adequate rest consistently, and your body will take care of the rest.


Consult Your Sleep Doctor

It’s critical to speak with your doctor if sleep debt interferes with your daytime activities or if you’re having difficulties recovering. A doctor can talk to you about the possibilities of an undiagnosed sleep condition, such as insomnia, and give you specific sleep advice.


Key Takeaways

To get through the day, it’s tempting, and frequently even encouraged, to sleep as little as possible. Deep sleep typically takes second place in a culture that rewards hard work and dedication. Depriving yourself of adequate sleep, on the other hand, can wreak havoc on your performance. It might also harm your health.

Fortunately, sleep debt is reversible. You can get to bed earlier or remain in bed longer by making simple changes to your routine. You’ll be even better prepared for the day ahead.


Get Help from a Sleep Specialist!

If you suspect you may be suffering from a sleep disturbance, schedule an appointment at our North Vancouver, Surrey, and Victoria sleep centers. Our sleep clinicians at Sleep Better Live Better can assist you with testing and treatment alternatives.