Sleep Debt & Sleep Bank: Your Real-Life E-Tank
Looking for ways to optimize your performance on your favorite games? One of the best ways you can increase your reaction time and cognition is by getting a good night's sleep. We'll discuss the concepts of sleep debt and a sleep bank and how they are similar to an E tank in the Mega Man series. Debt refers to hours of lost sleep accumulating and negatively impacting your performance, while the bank for sleep is an analogy for making deposits (sleep) or withdrawals (staying awake).
Robots Don't Have Sleep Problems - People Do
The Mega Man E-tank in the Mega Man series is an item you can collect while traversing the world. The E-tank will fully restore Mega Man's health when consumed, making him fully-functional again and ready to take on more adventures. Sleep is the human version of an E-tank, where after we sleep, we are fully recharged and ready to take on another gaming session, so it's best to avoid racking up a debt with sleep or depriving yourself of the hours you need.
There are several labels that can be used to describe sleep deprivation. There can be short term sleep debt accrued or long term over the course of a week or more. Short term typically refers to only 24 hours or more of no sleep, while long term is sleeping for a less-than-adequate amount over the period of a week or more.
Studies show that sleep debt increases reaction time, decreases performance, and makes you about as good of a driver as someone under the influence. One recent study placed young adults on a 33 hours awake/10 hours asleep schedule for 3 weeks and observed their reaction times and performance in cognition tests. While they performed better after just waking up from their 10 hour sleep, their times increased from 667 milliseconds to over 2 seconds by the end of the study. (Source: https://www.livescience.com/9799-lost-sleep-study-suggests.html)
The results of this study show that while you may feel better in the short term by catching up on sleep or making a deposit in your sleep bank if you will, you'll still suffer negative consequences over the long term. Sleep is one of the best ways our body heals itself, both mentally and physically, and recharges our E tank in the game of life.
Effects of Sleep Deprivation
What are the affects of losing a few hours of sleep per night just to get in more hours of grinding the last level your on for more xp? According to Stanford University Sleep Clinic, sleep deprivation can lead to foggy brain, declining vision and driving awareness, trouble remembering, obesity, insulin resistance, and heart disease. As we can see, draining your sleep bank and not repaying your debt can lead to a host of problems not worth any of the incremental gains you may see by pulling late nights consistently.
Good Sleep? You Can Bank On It.
The best way to get back to a normal sleep pattern is to bank extra sleep slowly on a daily basis and not to attempt to fix it all in one weekend. Sleeping an extra hour or so for a period of two weeks can work wonders in repairing your reaction time, speed, and mental acuity. For most normal workers, syncing your sleep cycle with the sun is the one your body most wants to adhere itself to. This may not always make the most sense when your game tournaments and matches may be taking place in a different time zone, so be sure to make allowances for your sleep on the back end of the adjustment. For example, if you need to stay up until midnight on the east coast for a west coast tournament, be sure to sleep in an extra three hours once the tournament is wrapped up.
If you need any more convincing against racking up lost hours of sleep, here are some of the benefits of getting adequate sleep. Studies have shown that while you sleep, synaptic pruning and consolidation of what you've learned throughout the day cements itself in your neurons, making for a stronger memory. On average, those who get more sleep per night live longer than those who stay up past bed time. Getting less than six hours of sleep per night can lead to a dramatic spike in inflammation that leads to arthritis, diabetes, and heart disease. Therefore, sleeping as much as your body needs will ward off disease that may put you out of commission and practice in your favorite games.
In addition to consolidating memories in your brain while sleeping, your brain also reorganizes them which leads to greater creativity and thinking about problems or levels in a different way. Studies have also shown that students who receive adequate sleep get better grades, which means less stress while you're behind the throttle and gaming with your friends. Finally, good sleep can ward off depression and ensure you are functioning at your peak and don't have to fight through emotions when doing that important raid you've been planning for a week.
In summary, sleep will get you farther than any energy drink or caffeine supplements you have on hand. There is no substitute for your body's most natural process. Don't ignore your nightly E tank, and you'll soon find yourself with super human powers, just like Mega Man.