The Late Night Catch Up: Let's Talk Sleep Debt

“I’ll just catch up on sleep tomorrow night!”

You’ve probably heard it, had it said to you, or even said it yourself. 

The conversation around catching up on sleep is a common one among adults, with the interruption of your much loved sleep cycle can stem from a range of activities in your life. Whether it be study, work, or social activities, a lack of sleep can have more of a significant impact on your everyday life then you realise. 

So, what is sleep debt?

Sleep debt actually isn’t a real thing within the body. You can’t store, bank or borrow sleep, and catching up on sleep is not an option for the body’s restorative processes. Although you may sleep a little longer the next day after a bad night’s sleep, or have a nap the day after a night on the town, you don’t get the same impact mentally or physically. 

So why is the full 8 hours of sleep so important?

  • Physical Health Benefits : During your 8 hour sleep cycle, your body has time to thoroughly rest and rejuvenate. It gives your body time to repair from the physical exertion of the day, whether it be chasing the kids, hitting the gym, or walking the dog, your muscles and bones are still put under the pump. Stress is another major side effect of a lack of sleep. Your circadian rhythm allows your body to regulate your stress hormones, and a lack of this could potentially lead to high blood pressure. To add to this major list of benefits,  sleep gives your major organs and blood vessels time to do deep repair, without the need of allocating resources elsewhere in your body during this extended period of time. 
  • Mental Health Benefits : Mental health and wellbeing is a major benefactor of a full night's sleep. With poor sleep being linked to significantly lower quality of mental health, physical health, and overall well being,  the importance of a quality night's sleep is a key link in maintaining an improved quality of life. Sleep's impact on mental health has also been proven to have direct links to mood, relationships, performance and overall happiness.

How To Prevent Sleep Debt

Although gathering “sleep debt” technically isn't a real thing, making sure you get the full 8 hours of rest is important, and here’s some tips on how to work towards achieving it:

  1. Time Management: I’m sure you’ve heard it left, right and centre in your life, but time management, especially in times of stress, is important to maintaining a healthy sleep schedule. Whether it be organising your work schedule to allow you to have an 8-10 hour gap for rest, or making sure you change your alarm from 7am to 10am when you get home at 2am from a night of fun, friends and social activities, making sure you leave time for snoozing is essential. 
  2. Avoiding Blue Light Activities Before Bed: The temptation to scroll on social media, or even just lay in bed watching a movie on Netflix is a big part of many Australians' nightly routine. Unfortunately, computers and phones’ blue light filters may do just the opposite of shutting down your brain.The blue light stimulates your brain into thinking it's daytime, with some studies showing that it could lead to an inability to ‘switch off’. Luckily, many devices now allow you to turn on night shift mode, which applies filters with a red hue to prevent this from occurring if you need to see the screens before bed. If you can, aim to put your devices down about an hour before your head hits the pillow for maximum effect.
  3. Exercise: Exercise plays a major part in having a  healthy sleep cycle. Although it may not be best to finish a 2 hour pump session in the gym right before  you go to  bed, making sure you get exercise daily has effects on regulating your hormones, sleep and overall health.
  4. Mindful Practices: Yoga, mediation and mindfulness activities are also a great alternative to try to incorporate in your pre sleep routine. They help calm your mind and gather your thoughts before hitting the sack for a full night's sleep.
  5. Sleep Quiet’s Nasal Strips: If snoring is the monster that is preventing you or  your partner from getting the rest you deserve, then look no further. Our nasal strips clear the airways by providing a discrete and effective expansion for the nasal way. 
  6. Medication: If sleep alternatives have had no effect  on you, there’s no shame in visiting your local GP to get a recommendation for further solution. We believe it’s important to remember that your well being comes first, and we strive to make sure our community achieves that.

To find out more about Sleep Quiet’s Nasal  Strips, click here.

Until next time,

Marc and the Sleep Quiet Team. 

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