The short answer is yes, there is such a thing as sleep debt.
When it comes to sleep, how much we need varies from person to person but the majority of us need around 7-9 hours to feel our best.
Sleep debt is an accumulation of sleep loss over a series of days or weeks and is thought to have a negative effect on our health and mood. If you're someone who feels great after 8 hours of sleep but find yourself consistently getting an hour or two less each night, you may start to feel the effects of sleep loss.
Although lack of sleep can leave us not feeling our best, try to not give yourself a hard time as there are steps you can take to improve your sleep.
How to improve your sleep
Getting enough sleep is important as it’s where we process memories and emotions and essential body repair takes place.
Making small changes to your routine can help you understand and improve your sleep over time. Here are some of our best tips to get you started:
Listen to your body
When it comes to improving our overall wellbeing and sleep, we should always listen to our bodies instead of watching the clock. If you’re feeling tired, there is no shame in winding down earlier in the evening to be in bed before your usual bedtime. Your body and mind will thank you for it the next day.
Set a wind-down routine
Taking time for yourself in the evening before you go to bed can help you unwind from the day. Whether it’s reading a book, listening to a podcast or journaling, try introducing a regular routine that helps signal to your brain it's nearly time for bed.
Track your sleep to understand your patterns
What happens when we sleep changes over the course of a night. During the earlier part, physical and body repair takes place whereas processing of emotions and memories typically occurs towards the end of the night. If we don't get enough sleep, it can negatively impact on our mood and wellbeing. Tracking your sleep with Sleepwave can help you find out how much you’re getting and build a routine that works for you.
Get outside in the morning
One of the best ways to improve our sleep is looking at our daily habits as this heavily influences how we sleep. Getting outside in the morning, even for a short walk, helps promote wakefulness during the daytime and also sleepiness at night. You can also log your daily activities with Sleepwave to see how factors like eating late impact your sleep over time.
And, lastly, when it comes to sleep, try not to make yourself feel bad if you're not sleeping well. We all have times where we sleep more or less depending on what’s happening in our lives and the environment around us. Instead, when you have a period of sleep loss, try to look forward and make small adjustments to your routine that will improve your sleep and start your day better.