Partial Sleep Deprivation…

When does it happen? Partial sleep deprivation is what we get when we do sleep, but we don’t sleep all the time that we need, in other words, it is what we do when we accumulate sleep debt.
Let’s say that a boy needs 8 hours of sleep every night, but his finals are approaching and he has so many activities during the day that he feels he can only steal time from sleep. With this thought-logic, he ends up sleeping 5 to 6 hours a night instead of 8 during 3 days.
The first day after sleeping only 5 hours he can do everything all right, he doesn’t feel at his best, but he can perform acceptably, and no one notices anything wrong going on.
The next day, and the next, after he has had more than two nights of insufficient sleep, he appears sleepy and irritable. He may probably have a headache or a stomachache, and his joints might hurt. Also his performance at school and activities begins to deteriorate: his finals come out terrible: he even fell asleep for 15 minutes during a test!
Clearly, instead of benefiting from the time he took away from sleep to study, he got out terrible results. He needs to understand he needs to have a good night sleep, especially when he needs to perform at his best, as in taking his finals.

What happens when a person has a sleep disorder or insomnia, which causes them to sleep less than what they need for long periods of time? months? years? Or a person who wants to take advantage of all there is to do, sleeping less than needed for months…

This is known as long term partial sleep deprivation. Its consequences are not encouraging as shown by several studies(1)…
One study showed that people who sleep less than 4 hour per night have a likelihood of dying sooner than people who normally sleep between 7 and 8.5 hours per night.
Another study showed that performance was affected on people that sleep less than 7 hours per night. These people did not thrive in their careers, as they stayed at low pay grades, did not get promoted frequently, and were sick frequently.
Yet another study revealed that women who slept around 5 hours per night had more risk of developing heart disease than women who sleep more.
A more recent study found that men experience hormonal changes when they slept up to 4 hours for two consecutive nights. These changes produced in them to be hungry, and to specifically crave fattening foods like cake, ice-cream, candy, pasta, pizza… suggesting that obesity is associated with partial or complete sleep deprivation.

How about getting enough sleep? Sounds better, right?

So how can we repay sleep debt when it is soooo big???