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Wellness - Have you paid off your sleep debt?

Have you paid off your sleep debt?

Do you have any of the following symptoms of sleep deprivation?

  • Needing an alarm clock in order to wake up on time.
  • Overusing the snooze button.
  • Difficulties getting out of bed in the morning.
  • Feeling sluggish in the afternoons.
  • Getting sleepy in meetings, lectures or warm rooms.
  • Needing to nap throughout the day.
  • Falling asleep whilst watching TV or relaxing in the evening.
  • Sleeping in on weekends.

Long term sleep deprivation can lead to fatigue, lethargy, decreased motivation, irritability, reduced creativity, inability to cope with stress, concentration and memory problems & weight gain (due to excess ghrelin levels, ask for more info).

How many hours should you be getting?

Typically, sleep cycles last around 90 minutes after falling asleep and we need 5-6 cycles per night. This means you should be aiming for 7 ½ hours or 9 hours of sleep. The most important part of the sleep cycle is deep sleep and REM (rapid eye movement). Unfortunately most issues are caused by not getting enough deep sleep, as this is when the body repairs itself and gets energy for the next day. It stimulates growth and development and allows for repair of muscles and tissues and boosts your immune system.

Factors affecting quality of deep sleep include:

  • Being woken by noises.
  • Too much light including using mobile phones or watching TV before bed. Light inhibits production of melatonin which makes you sleepy.
  • Working shift patterns, particularly night shifts.
  •  Smoking and drinking alcohol before sleep.

How to re-pay the sleep debt:

Unfortunately having a lie in on the weekend won’t make up for a long term sleep debt. The most important thing is making sleep part of your routine:

  • Aim for at least seven and a half hours sleep a night.
  • It’s better to catch up on sleep gradually, than in one go.
  • Make sleep a priority. Don’t do more tasks at the expense of sleep. It will only make you less productive in the long run.
  • Supplements such and magnesium in the form of Cytonight by Cytoplan can help people that suffer with insomnia.
  • Correct mattress and pillow will ensure a great night sleep without aches and pains in the morning.

Written by Dr. Chris Braxton D.C.


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