Mirror of Zen Blog

Debt or Glory

The bestselling author and eminent researcher in the science and benefits of sleep, Dr. Matthew Walker, said once in a talk I heard that there is no such thing as “sleep debt“ that accrues and that can be “canceled out“ by a few good days of uninterrupted snoozing on the following weekend.

He says that the notion of a “cancelable“ sleep is basically an urban legend. It has no basis in fact: what deficits are created in sleep — basically, the constant disruptions of the adenosine-cortisol cycling — are damaging in and of themselves. They set off a chain of disruptions, physiological antagonisms, and even injury that cause a vast sequelae of problems and chronic sufferings to appear and endure longer than they should.

Then, it seems, I don’t need to worry about this: A screenshot of one of my sleep apps, covering the period (just for the most recent quantitative sampling) of when I was teaching and leading retreat in Norway, last week:

If debt it is; if debt it be, then I am condemned to languish in sleep-debt prison eternally.

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