Imagine this. On your drive home from a long, hectic day at the office, you catch yourself nodding off. You dive into the evening whirlwind of homework, dinner, dishes, and chores, and notice your temper is flaring, your patience is short and your head is throbbing. You are so drained that all you can do is check-out in front of the TV for a few hours before collapsing into a fitful sleep. Sound like you? You may be suffering from a sleep deficit.
Sleep is a valuable commodity just like the money in your pocket. If you don’t deposit enough in your sleep bank, you won’t have enough energy to meet the demands of your busy life and you begin running a sleep deficit. Just like using a credit card to cover the difference between your paycheck and your bills, continuously running a sleep deficit is likely to land you in trouble down the road.
The best way to avoid sleep deficit problems like obesity, high blood pressure, and heart disease is to stay out of debt in the first place. Mentally cut-up your sleep debt credit cards and use these tips to help you commit to making adequate deposits in your sleep bank to sustain your health.
1. Change Your Thinking
With only so many hours to work with, we downplay the importance of sleep to convince ourselves we can live with less. We hold up as shining examples people who seem to survive on less sleep. Why is he so successful? Well he only needs to sleep 4 hours a night.
In monetary terms, we are saying “I have trained myself to only need $400 per month in income” without understanding that the $400 has to cover $1,000 in expenses. This way of thinking about sleep has to change in order to keep enough funds in your sleep bank to cover your withdrawals.
2. Change Your Perception
You might think sleep is a luxury or even a waste of time that could be spent doing something productive. Some think sacrificing sleep for your job is expected. You live by the old saying, “I will sleep when I am dead.” All these messages warp our perception and reinforce unhealthy misconceptions about sleep.
Sleep is the paycheck that fuels everything else in your life. Without enough money, you can’t pay your bills. Without enough sleep, your body has less energy, your brain doesn’t function as well and your health deteriorates.
3. Change Your Attitude
Sleep is as necessary to human life as food, water and air. You wouldn’t try to convince yourself you can get by with only half as much air. But when push comes to shove, giving up sleep is the first thing on the table when you have more work than time.
From a monetary perspective, you are effectively robbing yourself, to pay Peter and Paul. Sleep deposits equate to energy withdrawals. If you are making deposits in your sleep bank that are inadequate to cover the energy you need, you will have to steal the difference from somewhere else. But with the sleep bank, the only person you are stealing from is yourself.
4. Change Your Schedule
Most of us have schedules that just don’t allocate enough hours in the day to sleeping. This change can be the hardest of them all. It may mean giving up a couple hours of television or cutting back on a hobby you love. It can mean getting less work done, going to bed with a messy kitchen or taking time from your weekend to pay the bills. You have to make time in order to be able to take time to get enough sleep.
Start small by eliminating common time wasters. Then, give yourself a bedtime. Try to go to bed and get up around the same time each day. This consistent approach will help make sleeping a part of your regular schedule.
Changing the way you think about sleep and making room in your schedule to get enough sleep will help guarantee you are making regular deposits in your sleep bank and avoiding the dangers of running a sleep deficit.
Since 2002, Valley Sleep Center, accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, has provided Arizona with diagnostic sleep disorder testing in a home-like atmosphere, ensuring a comfortable, relaxing experience for patients. Our Board Certified Sleep Medicine Specialists are experienced and knowledgeable physicians who provide expert advice on sleep and sleep-related disorders. We accept most insurance plans as well as Medicare. For additional information about how we might be able to help you, please contact Lauri Leadley at 480-830-3900.
- Seven Tips to Help You Fight Fatigue (valleysleepcenter.com)
- 3 Natural Ways to Get a Good Night’s Sleep (valleysleepcenter.com)
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