Brutal Reality of Sleep Debt

Brutal Reality of Sleep Debt

Having issues with sleep can leave you unalert and subpar in your waking life. Many people suffer from a lack of sleep on a regular basis, thanks to noise pollution, stress, blue light exposure, or many other reasons. There is a brutal reality of sleep debt that we need to take a look at, so we can make sleep a priority for a better lifestyle.

What is Sleep Debt?

Sleep debt is the difference between the amount of sleep we need and the amount of sleep we are getting.

Its causes:

  • A tendency to slide into dangerous episodes of microsleep sleep while working or driving.
  • A steep drop in the number of killer cells that ward off viruses and cancer.
  • A permanent reduction in the brain cells that help us learn, store, memories, and pay attention.

Myth: we adapt to less sleep each night.

Truth: the brain requires a non-negotiable amount of sleep 7 to 9 hours each night. The longer we go without sufficient sleep, the less capable we are of judging how much rest we need.


The Brutal Reality:

The economic cost of insufficient sleep is $17.88 billion.

Direct costs:

  • $160 million for sleep disorders
  • $1.08 billion for associated conditions
  • $12.19 billion in productivity losses
  • $5.22 billion reduced unemployment
  • $0.61 billion premature death
  • $1.73 billion absenteeism
  • $4.63 billion un-used opportunity…

We tell ourselves lies so we don’t have to change our behaviors:

  • It’s only one night/hour.
  • I’m not that bad.
  • I’ll start next week.
  • But I’m not tired.
  • Alcohol helps me sleep.
  • I am used to less.
  • I need some time.

Impact of Sleep Debt:

  • 89% increased risk of obesity in children and 65% in adults
  • Decline in body function if sleep is less than 7-8 hours.

Sleep Debt Numbers:

  • Only 45% of adults are satisfied with their sleep.
  • 38% dissatisfied but failing to improve sleep habits.
  • 41% not getting enough sleep.
  • 35% wake up tired.
  • 23% take more than half an hour to fall asleep.
  • Link between poor sleep and weight gain.

Sleep Debt Effects:

  • Decreased ability to learn, store memories, and pay attention.
  • Increased risk of viruses, cancer, and microsleep episodes.
  • Increased fat storage, decreased insulin sensitivity, and decreased ability to learn and concentrate.
  • Acting like an anxious brain due to a less active prefrontal cortex.
  • Increased stress, irritability, and decreased ability to sleep.
  • Mood swings, physical weakness, and increased urge to eat.
  • Increased risk of accidents.

Sleep Debt Calculation:

  • Can’t be caught up one-for-one.
  • A loss of 90 minutes each night results in 547 hours or 23 full days of sleep loss.

Truth Bombs:

  • Sleep is a habit and requires a strategic approach.
  • Lack of sleep is due to overstimulation, over-tiredness, anxiety, and fear.
  • Without a sleep ritual, sleep is a matter of luck.
  • Sleep is a learned behavior.

The deepest truth about sleep is that you must learn to accept yourself, as you are, in this moment:

  • It’s the unsettled mind that won’t rest.
  • The broken heart that still bleeds. 
  • The undone tasks that lingers.
  • The guilt that says make amends.
  • The shame that makes you not OK.
  • Sleep is not easy when you are not OK.
  • It is for the innocent and forgiven. 


Sleep Techniques:

  • Increase daytime bright light exposure.
  • Reduce blue light exposure in the evening.
  • Reduce after lunch caffeine
  • Minimise daytime naps to under 30 mins
  • Sleep and wake up at consistent times
  • Take a melatonin supplement
  • Minimise alcohol intake
  • Create a relaxing and quiet bedroom environment
  • Don’t eat too late

Based on all of the above, design a sleep ritual!

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About the Author:

Gagan Gupta is a Clarity Coach who suffered from sadness, depression, suicidal thoughts, and anxiety after being laid off last year. Gagan ultimately changed his life around, and now his mission is to ‘Save one Gagan at a time’.

His full story is on his website (

Schedule a call with Gagan now as he’s offering 5 X FREE 60 min sessions (Valued at $350) to Tips from Tia customers to discuss the solutions provided in this article in detail or any other related topics.