Getting eight hours’ worth of shut-eye each night is essential for refreshing the mind and repairing the body.
But when one night spent tossing and turning becomes a week, even a month, of sleepless nights, the fatigue you experience can feel almost crippling.
According to Health Navigator New Zealand, sleep deprivation can be caused by the irregularity of shiftwork, the multitasking nature of parenthood, travelling across time zones, anxiety and just poor sleeping habits in general.
Not sure if you’re sleep deprived? Well, there’s a test for that – and all it involves is a metal tray and silver spoon.
The Sleep Onset Latency test, which was created by Nathaniel Kleitman, a researcher from the University of Chicago, helps to track just how sleep deprived you really are.
By taking this test, you can work out how much sleep you’re missing out on and then take the next steps in fixing it.
Place a metal tray beside your bed and check the time.
Lie down in dark, quiet room in the early afternoon, holding a spoon in your hand and hanging it over the edge of the bed.
Close your eyes and fall asleep.
When you fall asleep, the spoon will drop from your hand and make a loud ‘clang’ on the metal tray.
When you wake up, immediately check how much time has gone by since you first laid down.
Kleitman says that if you fall asleep within five minutes of this loud wake-up call, you’re severely sleep deprived. If you fall asleep within 10 minutes, you just need a good night’s sleep. If you fall asleep within 15 minutes, you have good sleep hygiene.
If you’re struggling to get to sleep, contact your GP for more information about how to get your sleeping patterns back on track.
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