Are You in Sleep Debt?


POLL: As a busy clinician, balancing work life and home life and personal time generally means that something gives. Is it your sleep?

Sleeping too little not only can inhibit your productivity and ability to remember and consolidate information but also can lead to serious health consequences and jeopardize your safety and the safety of individuals around you. The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) suggests that adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night for optimal function. However, sleep needs are also highly individualistic.

The NSF explains that every person has a basal sleep need (the amount of sleep you need for optimal performance), but we also have sleep debt (accumulated sleep lost due to poor sleep habits, sickness, and nighttime awakenings). The sleep debt is what diminishes performance and why we're suddenly exhausted mid-day following a good night's sleep. The good news is that some research suggests that the accumulated sleep debt can be worked down or "paid off," the NSF reports.


How much sleep are you averaging each night/day?

4 to 5 hours -- not enough.
4 to 5 hours -- but I'm good with that.
6 to 7 hours -- but it's not enough.
6 to 7 hours -- it'll do.
8 to 9 hours -- feels great.
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