When trying to juggle work, home life, social life and possible school, we tend to skimp out on the one thing our bodies need the most; sleep. If you stay up an extra couple of hours during an especially busy week do you feel like that lost time can be made up with a nice long nap over the weekend? The answer is, no.
According to an article published on Scientific American, you still are walking around carrying what experts call "sleep debt." In the short term it can cause decreased alertness, stress, worsened vision and trouble with memory. In the long term, it can cause potentially life threatening illness such as heart attack or stroke, obesity, depression and, if your alertness is impaired while driving, injuries or death.
The good news is that this debt can be repaid, just not with a long nap on a slow Sunday afternoon. Try practicing good sleep hygiene:
1. Go to bed every night, even on the weekends-as hard as that may sound, it's very important to develop this habit to avoid going into sleep debt.
2. Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual-staying up watching late night tv is not a relaxing bedtime ritual.
3. Avoid napping-even a short cat nap can affect when you go to sleep at night.
4. Exercise- even if it's light exercise as long as your moving.
5. Evaluate your room- make sure that you create an effective sleep environment. Your room really is your sanctuary.
If you want to see if your sleep deprived, take this quiz given by the National Sleep Foundation.