Avoiding technology and repaying sleep debt more gradually is moving Holly in the right direction
“I’ve realised I need wine to fall asleep,” Holly Fawcett’s tongue is only partly in her cheek. “I was in London from Monday to Wednesday,” she explains. “On Tuesday night I had three glasses of wine over about four or five hours. I got home at 10, went to bed and I was asleep within minutes.
“I was exhausted as well, and that evening almost felt like a weekend,” she continues. “I was relaxing and not in the mood to start working or think about work at all.”
Good quality sleep over the weekend was somewhat undone by the flights and the workload in London but overall, it has been a very good week according to Fawcett.
She is sticking to the advice about technology. “I had an urgent email that I needed to respond to on Monday but other than that, the iPad is away from the bed, my phone is there but only because I need the alarm on it. Technology is a killer when it comes to sleep. I’m not engaging with it at bedtime,” Fawcett says.
Meals are as regular as they can be, and Fawcett is making an effort not to go into her bedroom until she is actually tired. The recommended early bedtime is still a sticking point but she concedes, “I do need to think about how I can make up the sleep I’m missing during the week. Before I used to binge sleep at the weekend but I’m trying to repay sleep debt more gradually, continuously over the week.”
HOLLY FAWCETT'S SLEEP IN NUMBERS
Time to sleep 00:24 hrs
Sleep onset 01:16
Sleep duration 05:15 hrs
Unscored sections 00:02 hrs
Final awakening 06:55
Sleep efficiency 94 %
Time to sleep 00:07 hrs
Sleep onset 00:34
Sleep duration 09:34 hrs
Unscored sections 00:19 hrs
Final awakening 12:24
Sleep efficiency 83 %
Your “Sleep Efficiency” provides a metric of how well you slept. This simply means working out the percentage of time spent in bed asleep each night. If you spend 8 hours in bed, but only 4 of those hours are spent asleep, then your sleep efficiency is very low at 50%. Sleep efficiency is based on the assumption that we go to bed in order to sleep. Most normal sleepers spend nearly all of their time in bed asleep, i.e. a sleep efficiency of 90-95% or more. People with insomnia generally have an average sleep efficiency of less than 85%.
This is the actual length of your sleep while in bed. Most healthy adults require 7-9 hours of sleep, with experts recommending 8 hours. Some people only require only 6 hours, but others may require 10 hours of quality sleep.
This is our estimate of when the person first feel asleep.
Normally, you should try to maintain a regular sleep schedule. For instance, if you stay up late on Friday, sleep late on Saturday, you are set up to sleep even later on Saturday night. This can give rise to Sunday night insomnia.
In practice, this means trying to get up at the same time every day, even after a late night party. It also suggests that “sleeping in” at the weekend to make up sleep debt from the week may not be completely be effective – especially if you encounter Sunday night insomnia.