I found myself sitting in my OAT prep class, wiping away my tears, wondering why I was so sleepy. Then I realized, why wouldn’t I be sleepy? I’ve racked up more sleep debt than I could ever pay back, and on top of that I don’t sleep early enough to get at least eight hours of sleep.
I think there was a way to figure out how many hours of sleep will allow you to perform at your best. It was something along the lines of sleeping 6-8 hours at night and waking up at the same time every day. If you still feel tired, add another 30 minutes of sleep (by sleeping earlier) and repeat until you feel alert the next day. If you feel alert, then that’s probably the right amount of hours.
Of course, some of us will find 6 hours too little, while others find 10 hours to be too many. I’m lucky to say that I’ve experienced too much sleep before, where sleeping too much made me feel even more tired. But of course, I’ve experienced way many more sleep deprived nights than I could ever count.
Sleep debt can’t be paid as easily as you think. Think of all the hours of sleep you missed out on in your life (oh goodness). You would think that you might be able to pay a lot of hours back on the weekends if you don’t have any obligations, but even then you can’t sleep for 10 extra hours straight. If you did somehow, you still end up ruining your sleeping schedule, which might lead to even more sleep debt! So, really, you can only get say…3 hours extra max. That would take a really long time to pay back all of your sleep debt, and that’s if you don’t accumulate more!
Our best bet would be to prevent any future sleep deprivation, and welcome the few extra hours of sleep whenever we can (by sleeping earlier, not later). I want to take care of my body! I am a night owl, and I love staying up late, so this is a huge obstacle for me…but I really feel like I will be able to overcome it and sleep like a “normal” personal…someday.