Knowing how much sleep we need is the first step to eliminating a sleep debt. Many of us don’t remember how it feels to sleep as long as we need to, or to wake up naturally without an alarm or other disruption.
How do we calculate how much sleep we’ve lost and how much we need? Start with the number of hours you need to sleep each night to feel rested and alert. You may need eight hours but get only seven, or even less. To calculate your sleep debt, add up the number of sleep hours lost every week. This number represents the total hours you need to add to the time you spend sleeping each week. Use the Sleepopolis Sleep Debt Calculator to find out how much sleep debt you have accumulated and how to get back on track.
If you’re surprised by the number of sleep hours you lose on a weekly basis, monthly and yearly totals may be even more startling. Lose an average of ninety minutes of sleep each night, and your yearly sleep loss climbs to more than 547 hours. The body may pay for this loss by increasing fat storage, lowering insulin sensitivity, and reducing the ability to learn and concentrate.
Looking for more info on sleep debt? Check out our full guide on sleep debt to learn more.