How can we fill the missing sleep hours?


Chronic sleep deprivation has been shown to damage the nerves in the brain, but it is common for people to cut back on sleep as they prioritize daily tasks and things they want to do. However, there are many people who do not get the 7 to 8 hours of sleep that adults need every day. The Railroaders’ Guide to Healthy Sleep answers various questions about sleep, such as what people who do not get enough sleep should do, and what the correct understanding of sleep is.
How to Avoid Sleep Debt | Railroaders’ Guide to Healthy Sleep

Railroaders’ Guide to Healthy Sleep is a website created by John A. Volpe of the U.S. National Transportation Organization Volpe, the U.S. Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), WGBH, and others in cooperation with sleep experts in the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School. The website is being created in collaboration with sleep experts from the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School. This website discloses correct sleeping methods and knowledge about sleep for railroad workers who tend to lead irregular lifestyles.

◆What is sleep debt?

When sleep deprivation continues for days on end, it accumulates like a debt, reducing human energy and physical strength and lowering daily performance. This accumulated state of sleep deprivation is called sleep debt. For example, if you lose an hour of sleep every day, after a few days your daytime performance will be as poor as if you had stayed up all night for a day.

In addition, sleep debt can quickly build up to a level that is impossible to repay, and this cannot be returned by sleeping a few hours more on the weekend. Furthermore, most people underestimate the impact of this sleep debt on daytime performance.
If a person is sleep deprived for several days, even if he or she thinks he or she is fine, he or she may actually not be awake or performance may suffer a gaping drop. if you are only getting an average of 5.5 hours of sleep per day, sleep debt can accumulate very quickly. The graph below illustrates how sleep debt and fatigue can accumulate when sleep is in short supply. The graph shows sleep debt on the vertical axis and time on the horizontal axis, indicating how sleep debt accumulates when daily sleep time is short. The more this sleep debt accumulates, the greater the risk of various risks.

According to the “Railroaders’ Guide to Healthy Sleep,” “Sleep debt is like a person walking with a weight on their back, slowing them down and making them more tired. It also interferes with metabolism, blood sugar regulation, and maintaining a healthy weight.

◆What is an appropriate amount of sleep?

To perform better, adults need to get 7-8 hours of sleep daily. However, just as everyone is different in height and weight, the best amount of sleep is slightly different for each individual. 5 out of 100 people may be able to perform at their best with less than 7 hours of sleep each night, but some may need more than 9 hours of sleep to feel well rested. Some people may need more than 9 hours of sleep to feel well rested, and the appropriate amount of sleep is different for each person.
In order to know the appropriate amount of sleep for each person, it is necessary to record the average amount of sleep, physical condition, level of fatigue, and waking time for about two weeks. If your body is tired or otherwise exhausted, that means you need to get more sleep than that average sleep time. In order to know the appropriate amount of sleep for you, “how you feel when you wake up” is very important, and a good perception of this is the first step to understanding how much sleep you need to get.

Also, in order to understand the best sleep time for you, it is best to stay in the same place and go to bed at the same time each day. In doing so, it is important to note that the first few days may be about recovering from a lack of sleep. After that period of supplementation, it is OK to go to bed at the same time every day and sleep without an alarm until you wake up naturally, and to keep track of your sleep time over a week or more, so that the average sleep time calculated as a result is the appropriate sleep time for each individual.
Some people regularly go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, while others have different bedtimes and wake-up times each day. However, since the human body is programmed to be active during the day and to sleep at night, working at night will result in lower performance than working during the day when one is in perfect condition. Therefore, people who work at night need to better control their daily wake and sleep rhythms.

◆Do you get enough sleep?

If you sleep well for the appropriate amount of time, your brain will be fully charged. If you sleep well, your brain can operate for about 15 hours a day. However, if you sleep only 2 hours less than the best, your brain has not recovered to its best state, and you may become sleepy quickly or your performance may deteriorate.
If sleep deprivation is compounded, sleep debt will continue to accumulate. And as sleep debt accumulates, one’s performance declines as if one were carrying a heavy stone on one’s back. If you add up the number of hours of sleep you get in a week and subtract 56 (8 hours x 7 days, which is the correct number of hours of sleep for a week), you can see how much sleep you are not getting enough.

◆Making up stories about sleep

People easily forget how important it is to “get a good night’s sleep” and are accustomed to feeling “tired” throughout the day. Furthermore, we often blindly believe made-up stories about sleep, so we need to be careful of the following just made-up stories about sleep.

1: You can recover on your day off.

A couple of days of plenty of sleep can pay off some sleep debt, but if the debt is accumulated over many days or weeks, you will have accumulated more sleep debt than you can pay off with just a lot of sleep over the weekend. Furthermore, if you get a lot of sleep over the course of a day, your body clock can go haywire, which is a problem.
A more effective solution to this is to use naps and other forms of sleep deprivation instead of getting a lot of sleep at once.


2: I always sleep less than 6 hours, but I’m fine?

Perhaps one in 25 people can perform well on six hours of sleep a day. However, when healthy young men in one study were asked to take a test after sleeping an average of 6 to 7 hours (an hour less than their best sleep) for 5 days, they performed as poorly as when they took the test after an all-nighter.

3: You know how tired you are.

Just as you might say “I’m not sleepy” when you are out and about, or think “I haven’t drunk at all” when you have had a lot of alcohol, people who do not get enough sleep are unable to recognize whether they are sleepy or not. And they are unable to notice the difference in performance from when they are getting a good night’s sleep.

4: It’s not a big deal if you lose an hour or two of sleep.

Sleep debt slows down eye and hand movements, as well as decision-making, leading to more mistakes. And chronic sleep debt has a negative effect on the body, causing poor blood sugar regulation and increasing the likelihood of obesity, urinary disease, heart disease, and other illnesses, according to the report.
According to a study by the Nurses’ Health Study at Harvard University, the average weight of those who slept an average of five hours a day or less was heavier than those who slept an average of seven hours a day.

●How to Avoid Sleep Debt

Sleep debt is a scary thing once it starts to accumulate, but here are some ways to prevent it from accumulating.
Prioritize sleep
If you have to choose between sleep, work, family, etc., take into account how much sleep debt you have accumulated and avoid making choices that put you at risk.
…Take naps when possible.
If you don’t get the amount of sleep you need in a day, it helps to try to make up for that lack as soon as you can.

●Enlist the help of those around you.

It is also a good idea to ask for help from your family and partner so that you can get enough sleep. This does not mean that you should “be quiet around them while they are sleeping” or that you should “create a soundproof room for sleeping.