How to Catch Up on Your Sleep Debt

We all know it’s possible to rack up a credit card debt, but did you know that you can also fall into debt with your sleep?

How to Catch Up on Your Sleep Debt

It is recommended that adults get between 7-9 hours sleep per night, however, if you do not manage to get that amount of sleep each night then you incur a sleep deficit. Research suggests that healthy humans can only incur a sleep debt with a maximum of 20 hours, so if you are finding that you have had 6 hours sleep or less per night recently then you may be in danger of reaching the maximum limit for a sleep deficit. Losing just one hour of sleep per night over the course of a week has the cumulative effect of staying awake for one whole night, so catching up on your sleep debt at the weekend is not a great way to manage the deficit.

Why is having a sleep debt a bad thing? 

Incurring a sleep debt can have many negative impacts on your mindset and health, such as:

  • Depression, irritability, mood swings
  • Anxiety and increased stress
  • Reduction in social interaction
  • Weight gain
  • Reduced immunity to viral infection
  • Lethargy
  • Reduced productivity 

How can you reduce a sleep debt?

While it is not possible to sleep ahead to bank extra hours, it is possible to catch up on missed sleep. Many people do this by sleeping a few extra hours at the weekends, however, this is not advisable as it is only possible to catch up on a couple of hours each day. This means that if you have incurred a debt of 10 hours during the week, you will only be able to catch up on 4 hours at the weekend. This will leave you with an outstanding debt of 6 hours as you head into another week of reduced sleep. 

No two people are the same when it comes to their sleep requirements, but a good rule of thumb is that somewhere between 7-10 hours is optimum for most people. If you would like to work out exactly how much sleep you need per night, spend a whole week going to bed 8 hours before you need to wake up. If you find that you are groggy or sleepy when you wake up, you may need to increase the number of hours sleep you get per night. If you wake feeling refreshed before the 8 hours is up, keep a track of what time you find yourself awake and look at reducing the number of hours sleep you get.

One of the best ways to keep s track of your sleep is by using a sleep tracker or sleep monitor. These devices will provide you with accurate data on your sleep habits which will in turn let you know how much sleep you need every night to function at your best. 

If you would like to find out more about how REM-Fit Sleep Monitoring technology or Zeeq Smart Pillows can help you to get a better night’s rest, please get in touch with our experienced, knowledgeable staff by calling 020 8731 0020 or email us via

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