You can catch up on sleep if you are willing to pay your debt

The Battle at Bedtime (Sleep Debt) 645
Battle at Bedtime (Sleep Debt) -- 615

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) — Wouldn't it be great to have a good night's sleep? For some of us it can seem as far-fetched as the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.

That's because most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Some 60 percent of women are not getting that, though, according to a Harvard study.

That begs the question: can you catch up on sleep? The answer is yes, but not in the way you might think.

Look at getting less than seven hours of sleep in a night as going into debt.

If you've missed say 10 hours of sleep over the course of a week, try adding three to four hours each night on the weekend. Then continue to add an extra hour or two each night of the following week until you've repaid your sleep debt.

Short-term negative effects of "Sleep Debt" are:

  • Fuzzy-headedness
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue

Long-term negative effects of "sleep debt" are:

  • Weight gain
  • Memory loss
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke

If you find yourself always in sleep debt, it may be time for a lifestyle change.

Here's how to help yourself get more sleep:

  • Create a sleep sanctuary. Keep your bed on the cool side and no watching television or playing with your phone once you lay down
  • Nap only if necessary. Naps can throw off your sleep schedule
  • Avoid caffeine after noon
  • Get regular exercise. Do not exercise within three hours of your bedtime