Dealing with Sleep Debt

Can sleep-debt ever be repaid? Sleep debt is the difference between the quantity of sleep we should be getting and the quantity we actually get. It's a deficit that grows every time we skim some extra minutes off our nightly slumber.

Well, we have some good news and some bad news. Bad news first?

Short-term sleep deprivation worsens our memory, our cognitive function, impairs our vision and can impact our driving ability. Long-term effects can include obesity, heart disease and stroke.

The good news is that naps are the way forward. They can reduce blood pressure and fend off heart attacks. So take that nap, recharge and resurge!

One of the world’s leading researchers on naps, tell us that we’re the only animal that isn’t multiphasic in our sleep, meaning we’re the only ones that try to get all of our sleep needs met in one chunk of time. Every single other animal on the planet is multiphasic, and naps throughout the day.

Apparently, we as a species were very much into naps and the occasional daytime dose until the industrial revolution came about. In Roman times, naps were very much on the day’s agenda, and were scheduled in between meetings. They actually named the sixth hour of their day ‘sexta’. This sixth hour of their day, which would be noon for us, was intended for good old nap.

‘Sexta’, is now known as ‘siesta’, and the Mediterranean napping custom is still in full swing - with much respect, and much envy!

With scheduling and time management being major factor in how industrial revolution took hold, our evolutionary napping behaviour took a back seat and didn’t quite find its official way back.

Modern research shows that even a short six-minute nap can work wonders - improving creativity, mood and concentration.

So make time for that six-minute, preferably longer, restorative siesta - and start living sleep-debt free life!



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