January 22, 2011
When we talk about debt, the first thing that usually comes to mind is money. It’s certainly a term that connotes finances. We may be currently engaged in loans or we may not, but there’s a debt that most of us have to pay for.
Sleep debt, as defined in the Scientific American, is the difference between the amount of sleep you should be getting and the amount you actually get. I’m currently a law student and I experience this in my daily life a lot. I would sleep at around 1 am on a week day and wake up at 7 am the next day. This means I would incur 2 hours of sleep debt every week day. And sleep on the weekends? I would sleep for around 10 to 11 hours. This is paying back my sleep debt.
You may likewise be in the same situation. You go home late from work and then rise early the next day. Don’t you just yearn for the weekend where you can just stretch on your bed and lie the whole day? It’s not just you being a bum on a Saturday; it’s you paying yourself back for your sleep debt.
What happens during the weekend rest?
First, there’s recuperation of the body. You may have had an aching back from the everyday traffic or tired muscles for those who perform more engaging work. With a long sleep, this would be the time for these muscles to recover. Second, there’s a regeneration of the mind. After a week spent cramming business plans, making reports or just strategizing on how to finish all the work assigned in one week, your brain needs to stop and rearrange and filter all that information for your benefit.
A long slumber at the end of the week will surely restore you. So if you’re busy like me, sleep well during weekends. It must be noted, however, that you have to try to get your ideal number of sleep hours every day, because no amount of weekend rest will help you recuperate for daily all-nighters. Keeping your sleep debt as low as possible, and also keeping your sleeping hours as regular as you can, will help you maintain and achieve good health.