Sleep Debt is the ratio of wakefulness as compared to your quality sleep time, specifically when your wakeful periods encroach upon the time when you should be sleeping. According to some researchers this debt accumulates (grows) and is not satisfied with one good night’s sleep. As your sleep debt accumulates, you begin to have increased illness, mood changes and deterioration in your ability to perform even the most mundane tasks, not to mention any complex or sensitive work-related functions.
Some research is pointing to low-grade, chronic inflammation that increases your risk for many of the co-morbities that are associated with sleep apnea. This same inflammation is present in people with a high sleep debt, regardless of whether it is caused by apnea or something else.
“Sleep Debit is loan that is coming due with much more unpleasant side effects than just huge interests rates.” (Dement 1999).
Dr. Don H Lowrance