Question: Although I try to plan to get up early on my free day’s, I never succeed. I’ll use today as an example: last night I fell asleep around midnight (24.00hr) and had set my 4 alarm clocks around 7.00hr.
At 7 am this morning my alarms went of, and as always.. the urge to sleep was much stronger than the will to get up, I slept until noon.. for 12 hours.It is weird, I am in my bed and I know that I promised myself to get up at 7 am, but my body is telling me to sleep on.After awakening I asked my body what is wrong. Why cant I get up? I got several answers, so I went on the internet and looked for confirmation which I found here. I have a sleep dept.When I was younger I was a party girl. We went from disco to disco and used speed and other drugs to stay awake. I kept my body awake for days in a row, all for about 6 years. I never missed a week of full time partying, meaning I missed out on A LOT of sleep back then.After I quit the drugs and partying (8 years ago) I started noticing I still needed a lot of sleep and still it seems I am catching up.On days I have to work, I sleep around 4-6 hours a night, so the days that I am am free I sleep for 12 hrs. Seems I have to be more cautious here as well and make sure I get more sleep on working days.I take full responsibility for the dept I made when I was younger, I will respect my body’s urge to sleep more when I can.But I am looking forward to the day that I am able
to create my day the way I want and not the way my body needs it…Kevin: Thanks for sharing your story–it’s very insightful and raises some interesting points. From what we know about sleep debt, we suspect that it doesn’t rollover at exactly 100% through the years. That is, the hours of sleep debt you accumulated in your partying years may not *all* be with you still. It’s kind of fuzzy knowledge. There’s not too many specifics we know about why this is or how long the sleep debt takes to sort of dissolve on its own, but at least that’s an interesting partial bit of good news.So with that said, it sounds like the nights before your work days could really be the culprit. If your personal sleep need is 7 or 8 hours per 24, and your achieving 4-6 per night for 4 or 5 days a week, your immediate sleep debt is going to be enough to prompt your body to sleep in the extra 4 hours on days it can.And I know what you mean about not being able to wake despite the intention to and the 4 alarms. If your sleep drive is strong enough–that is, your sleep debt is high enough and your clock-dependent alerting weak enough at that time of the day, the body’s need is going to win out. (Either that or you’re going to be at risk of falling asleep while driving or in other dangerous situations.)There’s a pretty hilarious music video about this (about the body winning out, not falling asleep at the wheel) at Some of the Stanford students created it last year.Get that extra rest and you will be able to create the day exactly how you want it, without having to constantly listen to that oppressive sleep debt character!All the best,Kevin