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Last Updated on January 31, 2019

Is It Possible to Repay Your Sleep Debt? Why Being Well Rested Matters

Is It Possible to Repay Your Sleep Debt? Why Being Well Rested Matters

You may think that not getting enough sleep will just make you incredibly tired and a little irritable, but it goes beyond that. It can lead to health problems such as heart disease, weight gain, diabetes, and memory loss.

Most adults have incredibly busy lives. From trying to raise a family to working a full-time job and everything that happens in between, there just aren’t enough hours in the day.

Instead of going to bed when they are tired, they’ll spend that time catching up on items that weren’t accomplished during the day. While this may seem productive, it is actually harmful and can lead to sleep debt.

What Is Sleep Debt?

The term “sleep debt” is used to refer to continuously losing sleep. This generally happens when you decide to stay up an extra few hours to get a project done or get up early for the same reasons.

Insomnia can also add to sleep debt. In essence, anything that interrupts your ability to get between 6 and 10 hours of sleep each night adds to your sleep debt.

Every person is different, so how much sleep they need varies. Other factors that play into how much sleep a person needs include age, if the person is sick or impacted by chronic pain, amount and frequency of exercise, and if they are pregnant.

Things that can disturb sleep patterns include too much caffeine or alcohol as well as blue lights, which are found in electronic devices such as phones and TVs.

To determine how much sleep you need to feel rested, here is a process you can try:

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  1. Go to bed at the same time you go to bed now and wake up at the same time you normally get up for work. Calculate the amount of time you slept.
  2. For the next 2 to 3 nights, go to bed 15 minutes earlier than you normally do. Keep this up until you get 7 hours of sleep each night.
  3. When you’ve been sleeping for 7 hours for a few nights, take note of how you feel. If you find that you are still tired or that it’s hard to wake up when your alarm goes off, go to bed 15 minutes earlier the next night.
  4. Continue this process until you get enough sleep every night. Your body will tell you how it feels and if you’re getting enough rest.

How Do You Know You’re Getting Enough Rest?

The thing about sleep debt is that people are often so used to functioning with not enough sleep that they don’t even recognize the symptoms anymore. The body and mind are amazing things, and they can adapt to a variety of different situations.

While you may be able to function on not enough sleep and still get your tasks done, you’re damaging your health. Remember, sleep debt leads to heart problems, memory loss, diabetes, and weight gain.

Even though you’ve found ways to cope with sleep debt, your body will give you signs that it needs more rest. Pay attention to these things. While determining how much rest you need, it’s advisable to keep a journal during the day to keep track of the indicators of sleep debt. They include the following.

When you wake up in the morning, record how much sleep you got and how you felt. Note whether your alarm woke you up or if you woke up on your own. Do you feel rested? Do you feel good? Or do you feel groggy?

Throughout the day, record how many cups of coffee or other forms of caffeine you consume to feel awake and functional. How many times do you yawn throughout the day? If you find it hard to stay awake when at your desk, you may be adding to your sleep debt.

You’ll also need to keep track of your body’s cravings. If you find yourself constantly hungry for sugar and/or carbohydrates, it may be because you didn’t get enough sleep. Your body is looking for extra energy so that it can function.

If you find that you’re too tired to exercise, this can be another sign that you’re not getting enough sleep.

At the end of the day (or week), look over your records. This will help you determine if you’re getting enough sleep.

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Can I Repay My Sleep Debt?

If you look at your journal and notice some patterns, including those that lead to sleep debt, don’t freak out.

While you’re not getting enough rest now, you can repay your sleep debt[1] and get back on track to feeling rested and improve your health.

Some people believe that sleep debt can’t be repaid, but studies have shown that parts of it can be repaid. It just takes time.[2]

Repaying sleep debt won’t happen in a weekend. Here are some things you can do to help get a good night’s rest:[3]

1. Develop a Sleep Sanctuary

Having a separate work environment and a sleep sanctuary is important. This will get you up and moving during the day, helping you get rid of some excess energy as well as allowing you to stretch and keep muscles from getting stiff, which can make it easier to fall asleep at night.

Bill Becker, CEO and Design Director of BDI, which manufacturers ergonomically minded office furniture, including a series of standing desks said:

“The workplace can be one of the most challenging environments to adopt healthy habits, given that on average, the majority of workers sit nearly 6 hours a day, burning only 1 calorie per minute. More importantly, prolonged sitting has been known to lead to other health issues such as increased blood pressure, excess body fat and high cholesterol. This is where a sit+stand desk can make a difference. There are many mental and physical benefits to standing desks, and can be a great component of an overall active and healthy lifestyle.”

To create your non-work, sleep sanctuary, you need to have a comfortable bed that doesn’t increase or develop pain in your body. You also need to keep TVs out of the room, as well as computers and other mobile devices. The blue light from these can mess up circadian rhythms and keep you from getting good sleep.

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Only use your room for sleeping, intimate activities, and other forms of relaxation, including reading or meditating. This will train your brain to recognize the space as a place of calm. It’s also important to only go to bed when you are tired.

If you wake in the middle of the night and can’t go back to sleep within a few minutes, you need to get out of the room and go somewhere else. When you are tired, go back into your sanctuary to sleep.

2. Exercise Regularly

It may seem counterintuitive, but exercising leads to better sleep at night. It helps reduce stress and anxiety, both of which can impact how well you sleep. It also increases how deep of sleep you get, as well as improves sleep quality.

Since sleep debt leads to weight gain and other health issues, exercising has the ability to counteract these problems. The better you feel through exercise, the better you’ll sleep at night.

However, it’s important that you don’t exercise within 3 hours of going to bed. This may keep you awake and add to your sleep debt.

3. Only Nap If Absolutely Necessary

You may think that getting in a good nap during the day can help you with your sleep debt. In some cases, it can. But keep in mind that if you’re napping during the day and then finding yourself going to bed later at night or not getting quality sleep, it’s not helping repay your sleep debt.

Sticking to a bedtime routine throughout the week and on the weekends is the best way to ensure that you’re getting enough rest, and more often than not, you won’t need to nap during the day.

While you may be tempted to stay up later on weekends to catch up with friends, family, or the TV shows you missed during the week, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Sticking to a routine is better for your body and your quality of sleep.

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4. Watch What You Put into Your Body

Too much caffeine throughout the day can impact how well you sleep at night. You may find yourself in an afternoon slump after lunch, but reaching for another cup of coffee or an energy drink is impacting your sleep.

Limit your caffeine intake to the morning. To energize yourself in the afternoon, eat some natural sugars such as fruit or grab some protein. You may also consider going for a quick, 15-minute walk to help perk yourself up.

At night, when you’re winding down after a long day, limit the amount of alcohol you consume. It may seem like it’s helping you get a good night’s rest, it’s not.

Alcohol makes it difficult for your body to go into deep sleep, so you’re not getting the quality of sleep you think you are. A few drinks are fine, but watch how much you consume.

5. Skip the Sleeping Pills

When it comes to falling asleep fast, there are a variety of over-the-counter and prescription products to help people sleep. It may be tempting to use these as a quick fix, but keep in mind that these are generally used as a short-term solution.

While some people benefit from taking sleeping aids for a short amount of time, the vast majority of people abuse them, which can be harmful to health and hurt your sleeping ability. If you have questions about the effectiveness of sleeping pills, talk to your doctor.

The Bottom Line

Sleep is important. Humans can’t live without sleep. We need it to be able to function and to stay healthy. Sleep is when the brain and body repair themselves, without enough, you may find yourself feeling groggy, irritable, and unwell.

If you incorporate all of the suggestions above into your routine but still find yourself in sleep debt, you may have another issue that needs to be addressed by your doctor. Talk to them to find the best course of action so you can get a good night’s rest.

Sleep debt is a major concern for a lot of people. Thankfully, there are ways to repay this debt, and getting enough rest is beneficial in so many ways. Here’s to a good night’s rest!

More Resources to Help You Sleep Better

Featured photo credit: Joanna Nix via unsplash.com

Reference

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Dmitry Dragilev

Single-handedly grew a startup from zero to 40 million page views, Dmitry is a role model for aspiring entrepreneurs.

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Last Updated on November 18, 2019

30 Fun Things to Do at Home

30 Fun Things to Do at Home

I’m BORED! Have you ever heard someone in your family use those words?

Most of us have.

I barred that word from my house. Whenever someone said they were bored, I gave them two options:

First, there is always work that can be done. Secondly, find something to do.

There are always creative things that we can do at home. You just need to put some thought and imagination into your day.

The list of enjoyable things you can do is inexhaustible. I am going to share 30 fun things to do at home. Some of the events are best done at appropriate times of the year. Enjoy!

1. Have a Costume Night

    Generally, the only time we can get away with putting on costumes is on Halloween. It is so entertaining to put on a costume and play.

    Host an evening where everyone has to dress up in a costume. (Some costume ideas here!) Eat your dinner that evening all dressed up. Play games and just have a party. You can even make it a “themed” costume party by choosing a time era or movie characters. Shape it to meet your interests.

    2. Throw an Indoor Picnic

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      Set out a picnic blanket and basket of food and eat your dinner as though you were having a picnic. Just having variety in your family life brings you closer together as a family unit. Events like this are often the catalyst for a fun-filled evening.

      3. Have a Christmas Party (*In the Summer)

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        Set up some Christmas decorations and have a Christmas celebration during the summer.

        Prior to this event, buy a few Christmas presents to give to an organization that accepts donations for families in need at Christmas time. Have wrapping paper on hand. Wrap up the gifts, while thinking of the joy they will bring to some little girl or boy at Christmas.

        This serves to make your family mindful of others. Everyone in the family will be excited when Christmas comes and they can donate the gifts that you wrapped in the summer. It’s unique to have a Christmas party during the summer.

        4. Host an International Dinner Night

        As a family, pick out a country you would like to learn more about and are interested in. Find cuisine that is unique to that country. Prepare a dinner that would be served in that country.

        The family can even find clothing that is worn in the country and wear it to dinner. Each family member would be responsible to bring one fact about the country to share at dinner time. For example, you could choose Mexico. You could serve tacos, enchiladas,and arroz con pollo.

        Everyone could wear sombreros to dinner. Plan for an evening of creative learning time!

        5. Film a “Newscast”

        The technology that exists today is awesome. Smartphones come equipped to make videos.

        Set up and make a newscast of events that are going on locally or events that are taking place in your family circle. This will also help everyone learn to speak in public. Doing this at home is an unusual way to interact as a family.

        6. Have an Indoor/Outdoor Scavenger Hunt

          Everyone loves hunting for hidden things. Type up a list of things that need to be found and give everyone a list. The things can be inside your home or even outdoors around the yard. Put a time limit on how long they have to locate the articles.

          Be creative. You can even put some things in the form of clues, so everyone has to figure out what the object is. Have a small prize for the winner.

          7. Learn to Do Nail Art

          Nail art is the “in” thing right now. You see people with their fancy nails everywhere. With some patience, you can learn to do this at home. Spend time practicing this. You can find kits and tools for this at department stores and drug stores. It is relaxing to sit around painting nails and compare the outcomes.

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          8. Plant Seedlings

          Planting seedlings and watching their growth is rewarding, as well as educational. You would need to do a bit of research as to what would be the best time to plant. The time frame fluctuates between various types of plants. Most plants take 3-15 weeks to mature to a level to be transplanted into a garden. You would want to know what type of plants you are planting and the time needed. It brings great joy to watch them develop and bloom once they are transplanted into a garden.

          9. Host a Themed Movie Night

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            There are many movies that have sequels. Pick a genre that your family would enjoy. Plan for a whole evening of back-to-back viewing of the movies. Make sure you have plenty of popcorn and snacks on hand! If you want to be really creative, find props that go with the movie and set them out. You can even make a dessert that matches the movie theme. May the force be with you!

            10. Play Games

            Board games are an excellent way to have fun at home. There are so many options to choose from. Some of our favorites include Ticket to Ride, Catan, Sequence, and Risk. These are just a few of the many varieties out there. Go to a local game store and see what appeals to the taste of your family.. The great thing about board games is that you are able to interact with everyone while playing. Let the games begin!

            11. Film a Cooking Show

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              Have you ever watched the cooking shows on TV? Cooking is a hot topic. In fact, cooking shows are so popular these days that there are networks that only broadcast shows about cooking.  Pick out a recipe you would like to try. Pretend you are hosting your own cooking show and video it. Make sure the whole family participates, in one way or another. You are certain to have a lot of laughs while watching your family episode.

              12. Make Christmas Cards

              Homemade Christmas cards are unique and special. Craft stores and department stores sell supplies that you can purchase to make beautiful cards. Use your creative skills and have an evening where you all come together and make Christmas cards to send to your family and friends.

              13. Make a Scarecrow

                Autumn is never complete without the fun of making a scarecrow. Rustling in the fallen leaves and stuffing them into old clothing brings out the kid in everyone.

                One time while visiting my grandfather, I thought it would be fun to make him a scarecrow for his yard. I never imagined that he would come out and start making it with me. He was well into his 80s, and yet the joy in his eyes when we made that scarecrow together was a memory I will always cherish.

                For those who like to be different, you can always make an indoor scarecrow at any time of year, using newspaper or paper towels as stuffing.

                14. Have a Karaoke Night

                Plan an evening of karaoke. This is a great way to spend family time together. PlayStation and Wii have several options to pick from. From experience, this is an evening of lots of laughter and joy! Everyone loves to sing…even those who might not have a singing voice like to bust out at karaoke.

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                15. Do a Puzzle

                Puzzle-making is a calming way to spend time together at home. Hours can be spent finding just the right pieces to add to the puzzle. The best part is when you see the finished product. This isn’t a one-night activity, so set aside a place that the puzzle can be undisturbed. You can find mats that roll your puzzle up when you aren’t working on it. If you have a spare table that isn’t used daily, you could have it there on display and readily available to continue on.

                16. Play with Lego

                I am sure you have seen some amazing pieces of art made with Lego. Of course, not everyone has talent enough to make huge projects with Lego. Fortunately, the pleasure isn’t limited to your ability to build great things. Regardless of what you build, simply be creative and let the kid in you come out.

                17. Make Jewelry

                Learning to make jewelry isn’t that difficult. You can find many links on the internet that will teach you how to make earrings and necklaces.

                Visit your local craft store or department store and purchase some tools and supplies. Take your time and visualize what you want the finished product to look like. The jewelry you make can also be presents to give away. That is, of course, if you can bear to part with what you made.

                18. Host an English Tea Party

                  Some of us can remember being a little girl and having tea parties, chatting with our imaginary friends and sipping tea. Now that you are older, why not have a real tea party? Have the family dress up in their best outfits and host an English Tea Party. There are guidelines, recipes, and even games to play on the internet. Do a bit of exploring and planning, then host the perfect tea party at home for your family.

                  19. Plant Bulbs

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                    There are two times of year that bulbs can be planted. In the fall, you can plant spring bulbs such as tulips and daffodils. Alliums, agapanthus, cannas and some other summer bulbs can be planted in early spring. Set aside an appropriate time and plant bulbs in your yard. You will reap rewards when you see the sprouts starting to come up. Your yard will look lovely with the flowers blooming.

                    20. Read a Book

                    The art of reading aloud has lost its popularity. Pick out a book that would interest your family and have an evening each week that you read the story aloud. Take turns reading out loud. Interact about what is going on in the story line. This can be your own family book club.

                    Looking for books to read next? Here’re some self-help books to read, and here’re some great books for fiction lovers.

                    21. Have a Water Balloon Fight

                    This activity is best done outdoors in warm weather. This is an “action” activity that brings out the youthfulness in all of us. Depending on the size of your family, you can have teams for this. Fill up as many balloons as you like with water. Go outside and aim for your target. Run, laugh and have fun!

                    22. Learn Yoga

                    Yoga is so beneficial for every age group. As a family unit, learn yoga. Once again, there are many learning tools for this. You can find videos at your local library. This is a refreshing way to enjoy healthy interaction as a family.

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                    23. Invent a Writing Code

                    Invent your own code and write messages to each other. Take the alphabet and transform it into symbols and signs to represent each letter. It’s exciting to come up with your code. Once it is created, give everyone a copy of the code, and begin writing messages to one another. It will be interesting to translate words into the special code you made.

                    24. Have a Photo Shoot

                    Gather together some props and outfits and take family pictures. Make sure each member has individual shots as well. Acting as a professional photographer, be creative in the photos you take. Take funny pictures. Take serious pictures. Take candid shots. The joy of digital photography is that you can take as many photos as you like and delete what doesn’t work. Make sure you add props to make it interesting!

                    25. Learn Calligraphy

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                      Learning a new technique is always interesting. Calligraphy is a well-known type of writing with special pens. Craft stores and department stores have kits designed to assist you in the learning process. Write out poetry or some of your favorite quotes. You never know, you might acquire a talent and be able to frame some of your work.

                      26. Have a BBQ

                      It’s always enjoyable to have a barbecue. You can cook up your food and eat outside. After you are finished, have a campfire and tell scary stories. Remember how fun it is to sit around a campfire telling stories. Make this happen in your yard. Enjoy the night sky. Most of all, enjoy each other!

                      27. Invent Your Own Board Game

                      Discuss what type of game you want to make. Design the board together. Make the rules that will need to be followed. Make the game pieces that you will need. Play the game that you invented. Coming up with the game and the rules you want to make is an awesome time of interaction with one another. The results of your collaboration will be so exciting to view and play.

                      28. Have a Spa Night

                      Plan an evening where you can do an at-home spa night. Light candles, put on relaxing music, and make your atmosphere resemble a spa. You can do facials, manicures, and pedicures. You also can have bubble baths. Schedule it so that each person is doing a different thing and rotate the process. Your family will enjoy this time of pampering and relaxing.

                      29. Play Charades

                      This game has existed for such a long time and yet it never grows old. You can buy charade games already packaged. However, feel free to make up your own.

                      Each family member can contribute by writing down charades on index cards. Watching your family members act out the charade while the others are guessing is guaranteed to be a night full of fun and laughter.

                      30. Make a Family Scrapbook

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                        Choose an assortment of family pictures taken during different events. Compile these photos into groups and begin to make a scrapbook. Perhaps you want to focus on a special trip your family took or another meaningful event you wish to document. The ideas for creating your family scrapbook are endless. Personalize this and make it your own; after all, this is your story!

                        I hope that out of this list you will find some new things that you want to try at home. We have already done most of the things on this list as a family, and we look forward to doing the few that are left. Have fun and make some unique family memories that will be remembered for years to come.

                        More Ideas of Fun Things to Do

                        Featured photo credit: Andreina Vincentelli via unsplash.com

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