Sleep debt is the difference between the amount of sleep your body needs and the amount it gets. Whether from a lack of quality sleep or simply not getting enough hours of sleep, it’s likely that you’ve experienced sleep debt at some point in your life. We delve into the effects of sleep debt and what steps you can take to prevent it.
What are the effects of sleep debt?
While many of us are guilty of regularly shirking on sleep, sleep debt can result in negative health and cognitive effects—some of which may surprise you. Anyone who has pulled an all-nighter will be able to tell you that sleep deprivation has noticeable effects on our cognition—from feeling irritable to limiting our and ability to concentrate and problem-solve. However, chronic sleep debt can have more serious consequences for our long-term cognitive abilities and mental health, including increasing risk of developing or exacerbating anxiety and depression. Data from recent studies also suggests that sleep deprivation (even for short periods) can increase risk of developing chronic health conditions such as diabetes, obesity, hypertension and heart disease.
How to get better sleep
Knowing the risks and affects that sleep debt can have, of course, leads us to the question: how can I get better sleep? Here are three things you can do to improve your sleep.
While sometimes easier said than done, sticking to a genuinely consistent sleep schedule is far more beneficial than playing catch-up. When it comes to reversing sleep debt, ‘catching up’ on sleep over the weekend just isn’t going to cut it. Going to bed and waking up at a similar time each night is the most effective way to retune your circadian rhythm and receive the benefits of receiving quality sleep.
Not only is it important to improve the amount of sleep we get, but also the quality of our sleep. Improving sleep quality starts with the basics, and that means your bed. Ensuring that your bed is comfortable, in every season, will improve your ability to fall and stay asleep—even on hot summer nights. Étienne Home’s ‘At Last’ Bamboo Cotton Sheet Set, is designed to keep you comfortable every night. Its thermo-regulating properties mean you’ll stay cool in summer and warm in winter.
If you toss and turn at night, that’s a good indication that you’re sleeping on the wrong pillow. Finding the right pillow for you will improve the quality of the sleep that you receive, night after night. The Étienne Home ‘At Last’ Pillow has a height adjustable design, which will provide you with the right level of support, whether you sleep on your back, stomach or side.
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