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Everything you need to know about sleep debt
It’s no secret that a good nights sleep is essential for overall health. If we get enough rest, we are rewarded with bright eyes, plump skin, luscious locks and a clear mind – but if we don’t, we become more susceptible to a range of issues, including brain fog, fatigue, weight gain and even illness.
Sleep is best thought of as a type of debt, one that you must repay if you want to keep your mind and body functioning at its best.
What is sleep debt?
Put simply, sleep debt refers to cumulative sleep deprivation.
It’s best to get around eight hours of sleep every night. If you regularly miss out on this recommended daily quota, you will start to accumulate a sleep debt. The more sleep you lose, the worse your sleep debt becomes. And the more sleep you ‘owe’, the worse you look and feel.
What are the most common symptoms of sleep deprivation?
If you haven’t been getting enough shut-eye as of late, you’ll probably look a lot like this:
And suffer from a few of the following:
- Puffy eyes
- Under-eye bags
- Dull, lacklustre skin
- Unhealthy hair
- Foggy thoughts
- General tiredness
- Out of control emotions
- Depleted immune system
- Weight gain
What’s the best solution to repay sleep debt?
You guessed it – sleep, sleep and more sleep.
However, life (read: children who refuse to go to bed, commitments with family and friends, work and of course stress) often gets in the way and making up for lost hours becomes easier said than done.
Forget about repaying your debt 1:1 and instead focus on implementing the following to help establish a regular sleep routine:
- Prioritize sleep by going to bed and waking up at the same time every morning and night. Reward yourself with a weekend sleep-in or an afternoon nap if you’re feeling particularly exhausted.
- Create a sleep sanctuary in your bedroom and reserve it solely for sleep, intimacy and other restful activities, like reading a book or meditation.
- Block out light with Manicare Sleeping Mask, spritz a little In Essence Sleep Easy Pillow Mist on your pillow and sheets to help get you in the mood for sleep, and take two Swisse Ultiboost Sleep tablets before bedtime.
- Avoid all screens (TV, phone, tablet, laptop) at least an hour before you hit the hay.
- Limit caffeine intake, particularly after midday.
- Indulge in a little self-care everyday to help reduce stress.
Do you have a sleep debt? How will you repay yours?