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Can We Ever Catch Up on Sleep Debt?

Can We Ever Catch Up on Sleep Debt?

How and why we need to get more sleep.

While many adults believe that they can survive on six or fewer hours of sleep a night, this isn’t realistic or prudent.  The average adult requires seven to nine hours of sleep to function at full capacity and shortchanging our sleep creates a dangerous sleep debt that we will eventually have to repay.  But why do we need to get more sleep and how can we start eliminating our debt?  Here’s what we need to know.

The Danger of Sleep Deprivation

During our waking hours, the chemical adenosine builds up in our bloodstreams.  This chemical is responsible for slowing down our reaction times, making us groggy, and compromising our mental acuity.  When we sleep, our bodies naturally break down adenosine, ensuring that we wake up feeling alert and refreshed.  However, when we fail to get enough sleep, our bodies cannot completely purge the adenosine from our blood, leaving us physically and mentally compromised.  After multiple nights of insufficient sleep, the effects of adenosine build-up may be potentially dangerous.

Sleep deprivation may also increase the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. Sleep deprivation can noticeably affect people’s performance, including their ability to think clearly, react quickly, and form memories. Sleep deprivation also affects mood, leading to irritability; problems with relationships, especially for children and teenagers; and depression. Sleep deprivation can also increase anxiety.

Repaying Our Sleep Debt

To purge ourselves of damaging adenosine, we need to catch up on sleep.  To repay our sleep debts, it’s best if we start slowly.  For instance, we can begin by sleeping in on the weekends or by making sure that we go to bed earlier throughout the week.  By establishing a regular sleep schedule that ensures that we get a sufficient amount of sleep every night, we can pay back our sleep debt and ensure that we do not let a new one build up.

Join us at The Maria Sanchez Show as we catch up on sleep this month. Don’t forget to check out our latest program, Shadow Politics with Senator Michael D. Brown. Tune in on Sundays at 4:00 p.m. PST/7:00 p.m. EST

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