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For reasons that even scientists don’t fully understand, sleep is an unavoidable necessity. Our bodies are programmed to shut down every few hours a day to help maintain various body systems, repair cells and rejuvenate our energy levels.
Experts recommend that an adult gets 7- 9 hours of sleep per day.
But about 40% of Americans do not get the required amount of sleep. The average sleep time of most adults is less than 7 hours per night.
Not getting enough sleep, even if it is only one or two hours less than the recommended time, over a few days or weeks, causes accumulated sleep deprivation or what is known as sleep debt.
Avoiding Sleep Debt and Sleep Deprivation
A good sleep hygiene is essential to avoiding problems associated with sleep debt and sleep deprivation
Most people believe that sleeping in on the weekend is enough to recover from a week of little sleep.
Sleeping in may help you recover only if you slept poorly for just one or two nights. But if it is a habit, sleeping in on weekends will do little to settle your sleep debt.
To curb the problem, you need a complete makeover of your sleep routine. Here are a few things you can do:
It is easier to change your sleeping habit when you start with small steps.
For instance, you could start by sleeping 10 minutes earlier than usual then gradually increase it until you get to a point where you feel you are getting enough sleep.
Other small changes like cooking and eating your dinner earlier can also help.
Make Your Bedroom Sleep-Friendly
Sometimes you may manage to get to bed early but struggle to fall asleep. The problem could be the sleeping environment.
Your bedroom should be clean, dark (when you are asleep), quiet and cool. It’s also a good idea to invest in good bedding and especially a quality mattress.
If your current mattress is worn out or makes your back ache, consult our in-depth buying guide to find a new mattress online.
One other thing; keep gadgets away from the bedroom. The blue light from your phone combined with the heightened emotions that social media triggers will keep you awake for longer.
Avoid Caffeine and Excess Alcohol
Alcohol may help you fall asleep faster but it keeps you from going into deep sleep. Your body doesn’t get the rest it needs.
Caffeine in the evening is also a no-no if you want to get a good night’s sleep.