Sleep: It’s Probably More Important Than You Think 

By Julia Bauer

How many hours of sleep do you get every night? Do you think you’re getting enough? You might not be. In 2016, the CDC found that one in three adults don’t get enough sleep. 

The CDC recommends adults get at least seven hours of sleep each night. Not sleeping enough can cause health problems such as weight gain, heart disease, depression and immune system issues, according to the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine

Getting enough sleep – consistently – is important. If your sleep schedule is all over the place (like mine), you may start collecting sleep debt. 

What is sleep debt?

Sleep debt is also known as a sleep deficit. It is the difference between how much sleep you’re supposed to get and how much you actually get, according to Sleep Foundation. For example, I’m supposed to get seven hours of sleep, but I only got four last night. Now, I have three hours of sleep debt. 

Sleep debt is cumulative; if you only sleep for five hours every night for one week, you already have 14 hours of sleep debt!

According to Sleep Foundation, it can take up to four days to erase one hour of sleep debt, and sleeping in super late on weekends does not make up for lost sleep. It can take a little bit of time and effort to clear your sleep debt.

How to get rid of sleep debt

According to Sleep Foundation, “consistency is key” when trying to fix your sleep schedule and get rid of sleep debt. Going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day – yes, weekends, too – will help you get in sync with your circadian rhythm. 

Sleep Foundation recommends increasing the amount of sleep you get each night by 15 to 30 minutes until you start getting enough sleep. 

Avoid going on your phone at night; this will help you fall asleep faster. Instead, read a book or write in a journal before going to bed. If you have trouble getting up in the morning, put your phone or alarm clock on the other side of your room. This will force you to get out of bed to turn your alarm off. You’ll be less likely to fall back asleep in the morning. 

 Sleep allows your mind and body to rest and recharge. Clear your sleep debt, and do yourself a favor by getting enough sleep every night. 



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