It is already quite known that many Singaporeans tend to sacrifice sleep for work. Although how much sleep is needed depends on a lot of different factors like age and health, having enough sleep is still very important to maintain a healthy well-being. Here we will talk simply about sleep debt and how you can pay it off.

What is Sleep Debt?

Sleep debt is basically a term that refers to not getting enough sleep continuously. This happens when you either stay up late or wake up too early to get your work done. Simply think about it as the sleep version of financial debt. When it builds up, it can have negative effects on your memory, cognitive ability, and overall health.

Sleep debt is a clear result of sacrificing sleep for work, drinking too much coffee, and other things that can cause disturbances to your sleep pattern. In Singapore, for example, many are so used to being deprived of sleep that they fail to notice the symptoms of sleep debt. That is why it is important to remember that even though you can still get your work done during the day, you’re still putting yourself at risk of many health problems if you don’t have adequate sleep.

How to Pay it Back

When trying to get back to your natural sleeping cycles, you should know that it will take quite some time for your body to adjust, especially if you’ve been sleep deprived for months or even years.

  • During bedtime…

To put it simply, try to sleep earlier so you can get 7-8 hours of sleep. Again, because you’re used to so used to sleeping late this might sound like an outrageous tip. But there’s really no better way to start than getting your body used to sleeping at the right time again. “When it’s time for bed, then it’s time for bed.” Follow this strictly. Try your best not to use your phones and put your paperwork down when you’re already on the bed. That way you can take your mind off things and get to sleep earlier.

  • Weekends

Many of us tend to sacrifice sleep for work because we think we can just make up for it during the weekends. This is actually a big misconception. When you don’t have enough sleep for 5 weekdays straight and suddenly sleep for long hours during the weekend, it can mess up your sleeping pattern even more. Plus, when you sleep for more hours on a Sunday, you might have trouble sleeping again at night. Then, you’ll just repeat the whole process of not having enough sleep on the weekdays.