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How Long To Overcome Sleep Deprivation

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How To Actually Combat Sleep Deprivation Once And For All

Sleep Deprived and Always Tired? How to Overcome It

Psychreg on Wellness

Were all familiar with the aftermath of a sleepless night. You rely on caffeine to get you through the day, but youre still groggy, irritable, nauseous, and disoriented. You can barely focus on standing upright, let alone shift your energy into doing something productive.

The short-term effects of sleep deprivation are bad enough, but the long-term effects can take a toll on your mental and physical health. Weight gain, weakened immunity, memory problems, mood changes, and increased risk of accidents are all severe sleep deprivation symptoms.

Lack of sleep impacts the body so acutely because we need sleep to survive as much as we need food, water, and air. But we dont just need sleep we need at least 8 hours of high-quality sleep on a regular basis for improved concentration, alertness, and overall well-being.

Despite the recommendation to sleep 8 hours a night, most adults consider themselves lucky if they can average 6, especially while struggling to maintain a work-life balance.

If youre concerned that sleep deprivation is starting to get the best of you, the good news is that a night of rest is within your reach. From investing in a faux fur blanket to creating healthy sleep habits, here are some ways to kick sleep deprivation to the curb.

How Much Sleep Is Necessary

Experts generally recommend that adults sleep at least seven to nine hours per night, although some people require more and others require less.

A recent National Sleep Foundation Sleep in America poll found that adults sleep an average of 6.4 hours per night on weekdays and 7.7 hours on weekends. The poll showed a downward trend in sleep time over the past several years. People sleeping less hours tend to use the internet at night or bring work home from the office.

The National Sleep Foundation also reported that older adults average seven hours of sleep on weekdays and 7.1 hours on weekends. Sleep is most often disturbed by the need to use the bathroom and physical pain or discomfort in older adults.

A downward trend in sleep time has also been observed in children. Optimal sleep time varies by age. An earlier Sleep in America poll found a discrepancy between recommended and actual sleep time in children, with actual sleep time 1.5 to two hours less than recommended. Caffeine consumption caused a loss of three to five hours of sleep and having a television in the bedroom contributed to a loss of two hours of sleep each week in children.

You Already Know That Sleep Is Important For Your Productivity And Health But How Do You Make Sure To Get Enough Of It Follow This Regime

How many hours of sleep did you get last night? If it was less than seven, then you’re among the many Americans who are sleep deprived. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , nearly one-third of U.S. workers gets less than six hours of sleep a day, while the recommended amount is seven to eight hours.

Perhaps you’re thinking, “But I feel fine on just six hours!” The problem is not how you feel right now, but the long-term effects: Countless studies have found that sleep plays a critical role our immunity, metabolism, memory, learning, and other essential functions. At the very least, your productivity suffers at the very worst, so does your health. Sleep deprivation increases the risk of developing serious medical conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and mood disorders.

Now the good news: You can start developing better sleeping habits today.

Dr. Travis Bradberry, a PhD in clinical psychology and co-founder of emotional intelligence testing and training company TalentSmart, shared 10 strategies for fighting sleep deprivation in a recent .

Here are five of the best to implement immediately.

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Create A Calming Routine

As adults, we more often than not do not have a bedtime routine like we did as children or young adults. When bedtime comes around, we simply lay down and try to sleep, but that isnt the way we need to be going about it. It is important for adults to also have a bedtime routine to help us fall into a restful sleep and make sure that we are able to stay asleep throughout the night.

This means no electronic devices, TV, or social media at least one hour before bed. This is the time to read a book, magazine, or do simple yoga or meditation.

Prepare your body for rest in a dark room, and sleep in the dark room without the light of the TV playing. While most people become dependent on a TV to help them fall asleep, it is actually causing them to sleep restlessly and can be a major factor in what is keeping them awake.

It certainly wont be easy to give up sleeping with a TV on or playing games on your phone before bed, but it is what you need. If you find that these things are not helping, or maybe you want to try a different tactic, there are other options.

Many people use diffusers with soothing oils in them to help them fall asleep. The right oils released into the air can allow a person to float to sleep gradually and not all at one time.

What Is Sleep Debt And How Do You Get Rid Of It

Effects Of Sleep Deprivation Infographic

One out of three American adults sleeps fewer than seven hours each night, which is less than the minimum recommended amount of sleep. Even if you normally get enough sleep you may have the occasional late night or early wake-up time that interferes with your regular sleep. If you miss out on sleep here or there you might feel tired for a day or two. A consistent lack of sleep has negative health consequences, however. Sleep deprivation is associated with an increased risk for many health issues, so how do you get rid of sleep debt?

Sleep debt is an informal way of referring to sleep deprivation.

Adults typically need between seven and nine hours of sleep each night for good health.

If you sleep just six hours a night for a year, you would have 365 fewer hours of sleep than someone who met the recommendation for sleep hours. Does that mean you would have to sleep eight hours a night, or more, for the next two years to break even on your sleep debt?

Fortunately, thats not how sleep debt works you dont have to pay back every minute of sleep that you miss out on.

Think of sleep debt as a sleep deficit if you have a sleep deficit, you need more sleep than you are currently getting in order to stay healthy and well.

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Sleep Deficits Cant Be Erased

Can you just catch up by sleeping in? No way, says Nicole Porter, a Wisconsin-based, bio-psychologist and fatigue expert.

The majority of us exhibit independent signs of sleep deprivation already, she says. Twenty-five percent have serious fatigue. And its affecting our work. Sleeping in on Sunday, trying to make up for burning the candle at both ends is exactly how we end up with sleep deprivation and chronic fatigue.

She points out that sleep deprivation is such a rampant problem that the Centers for Disease Control called insufficient sleep a public health concern last year. It found that a third of Americans are not getting enough sleep and many more suffer from insomnia. New research from the National Safety Council finds 76% of us say we often feel tired at work and 43% are too tired to function.

These statistics are confirmed by survey from Legal & General that found that 42% of Americans said lack of sleep was our biggest health concern with another 34% worry about ongoing general fatigue. These rates mean fatigue can formally be defined as an epidemic.

Porter is also concerned about the impact of this chronic fatigue on health: It leads to a host of health problems, such as hypertension, obesity, ulcers, cognitive difficulties, and immune deficiencies that leave us open to infection, disease and cancer. It also causes anxiety and depression.

Resist Sugar Carbs And Processed Foods

Your tired body will crave an easily digestible and quick high, but with that high comes a gnarly crash, warned registered dietitian Maya Feller. “Skip the ultra-processed foods and beverages,” she advises. “They may sound good in the moment but will likely provide a rush of unsustained energy that may leave you more tired and hungry. It’s a cycle that your already tired body does not need.”

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What Is Sleep Deficit

The amount of time you sleep is like putting money in a bank account. Whenever you dont get enough, its withdrawn and has to be repaid. When youre in chronic sleep debt, youre never able to catch up.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, Americans need about 7.1 hours of sleep per night to feel good, but 73 percent of us fall short of that goal on a regular basis. This is due to many factors, such as school responsibilities, long work hours, and increased use of electronics like smartphones.

Many people think they can make up for their lost sleep on the weekends. However, if you sleep too long on Saturday and Sunday, its difficult to get to bed on time on Sunday night. The deficit then continues into the next week.

Chronically losing sleep has the potential to cause many health problems. It can put you at an increased risk for diabetes, a weakened immune system, and high blood pressure. You might also have higher levels of cortisol a stress hormone. This can lead to anger, depression, and even suicidal thoughts. In addition, drowsiness increases your risk of falling asleep behind the wheel and getting into an accident.

Tips For Making Up Lost Sleep

Why Should You Fear The Long-term Effects Of Sleep Deprivation?

Not everyone needs the same number of hours of sleep per night. Some people need nine or more, and others are fine with six or less. To figure out how much you need, take stock of how you feel the next day after different amounts of sleep.

You can also figure out how much sleep you need by allowing your body to sleep as much as it needs over the course of a few days. Youll then naturally get into your bodys best sleep rhythm, which you can continue after the experiment is over.

Tips for catching up on lost sleep

If you miss getting in enough hours of sleep, here are a few ways you can make it up.

  • Take a power nap of about 20 minutes in the early afternoon.
  • Sleep on the weekends, but not more than two hours past the normal time you wake up.
  • Sleep more for one or two nights.
  • Go to bed a little earlier the next night.

If you experience chronic sleep debt, the above recommendations wont help very much. Instead, youll want to make some long-term changes.

If these steps dont help, or if you experience other sleep issues like narcolepsy or sleep paralysis, talk to your doctor. You may benefit from a sleep study to determine whats wrong.

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How Long Does It Take To Recover

Its possible to recover from sleep deprivation by sleeping more.

You can start by going to bed early rather than sleeping in late. Its also a good idea to get at least 7 to 8 hours of rest each night. This will help your body get back on schedule.

It can take days or weeks to recover from a bout of sleep deprivation. Just 1 hour of sleep loss requires 4 days to recover.

The longer youve been awake, the longer it will take to get back on track.

Invest In A Weighted Blanket

A weighted blanket isnt just a bedroom accessory its proven to reduce the severity of insomnia. A Swedish study found that participants who used a weighted blanket for four weeks reported improved quality of sleep, reduced symptoms of fatigue, and higher levels of daytime productivity.

The calming pressure of a weighted blanket can help you doze off more quickly by stimulating the comforting feeling of a hug or massage. The added pressure on the body increases serotonin and reduces levels of cortisol, the bodys main stress hormone. To ensure you dont overheat during the night, invest in a cool weighted blanket to reap all the benefits while still staying cosy.

But a blanket is only as good as the mattress, so its important to ensure you have the best memory foam mattress for a comfortable nights sleep. A memory foam mattress is ideal for those who struggle with sleep deprivation because it contours to every curve of your body and provides an optimal level of comfort and support.

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What Happens During Sleep

While you are asleep you pass through varying sleep stages, each of which relate to specific processes that are going on in your body. Stage 1 sleep is the lightest stage when you can be easily woken up again. Its basically when your body prepares itself for the deeper stages of sleep.

Stage 2 is when your eyes stop moving and there are only occasional bursts of activity in your brain- your temperature falls and your heart beat slows down.

Stage 3 is the deepest sleep and is when your body restores itself. At this stage human growth hormone is released and your muscles heal themselves in preparation for the following day. The deep sleep stage is also where the levels of adenosine in your brain are reduced, so the compulsion to feel sleepy goes away. This is why short naps rarely deal with the overall sense of fatigue, because they dont give you enough time in a deep sleep phase to counter the effects.

The final stage of sleep, REM sleep, is when there is the most brain activity, similar to that seen when you are awake, and is thought to be when the brain processes all of the information it has gathered.

When you are asleep you will transition between each of these stages a number of times, so when you wake up you should be feeling fresh and energized for the day ahead.

Take A Power Nap The Next Afternoon

6 Tips For Preventing Sleep Deprivation

If you feel super sleepy the day after an all-nighter , you might consider taking a power nap to help reset your body and restore some alertness.

Up to half an hour between the hours of 1 and 3 p.m. should be the maximum length of time for a nap however, any longer than that, and you could dip into deeper stages of sleep, which can use up some of what we call your sleep drive, which is the natural drive you feel to sleep at night, says Dr. Tal. By contrast, a brief 30-minute nap can help you combat fatigue and even boost your mood without interfering with your ability to fall asleep later on.

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The Dangers Of Sleep Deprivation

  • Sleep deprivation is linked with an increased risk for obesity, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure.
  • A lack of sleep can affect reaction times, focus, and cognitive function, which can lead to accidents at work, while driving, and around the home.
  • Sleep deprivation can lead to loss of productivity at school or at work.
  • Sleep debt can negatively affect your mood and increase the risk for depression.
  • Inadequate sleep weakens your bodys immune response and affects your overall level of health.

Causes Of Teenage Sleep Deprivation

Some of the reasons why many teenagers regularly do not get enough sleep include:

  • hormonal time shift puberty hormones shift the teenagers body clock forward by about one or two hours, making them sleepier one to two hours later. Yet, while the teenager falls asleep later, early school starts dont allow them to sleep in. This nightly sleep debt leads to chronic sleep deprivation
  • using screen based devices smart phones and other devices used around bed time reduce sleep time. Teens who put down their smart-phones an hour before bed gain an extra 21 minutes sleep a night, according to a study by Vic Health and the Sleep Health Foundation
  • hectic after-school schedule homework, sport, part-time work and social commitments can cut into a teenagers sleeping time
  • leisure activities the lure of stimulating entertainment such as television, the internet and computer gaming can keep a teenager out of bed.
  • light exposure light cues the brain to stay awake. In the evening, lights from televisions, mobile phones and computers can prevent adequate production of melatonin, the brain chemical responsible for sleep
  • vicious circle insufficient sleep causes a teenagers brain to become more active. An over-aroused brain is less able to fall asleep.
  • social attitudes in Western culture, keeping active is valued more than sleep
  • sleep disorder sleep disorders, such as restless legs syndrome or sleep apnoea, can affect how much sleep a teenager gets.

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Wake Up At A Consistent Time

Keeping a consistent schedule is critical to your sleep, especially when it comes to waking up. When you have a regular wake-up time, your brain responds to it by gradually increasing your hormone levels, body temperature, and blood pressure roughly an hour before you rise. “When you don’t wake up at the same time every day, your brain doesn’t know when to complete the sleep process and when it should prepare you to be awake,” warns Bradberry. No matter if it’s a workday or weekend, awake at a consistent hour. “Sleeping in on the weekend is a counterproductive way to catch up on your sleep.”

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