Thanks for the book suggestion, Skyler. I've placed a hold at my local library. (Georgia's public library system is awesome. They didn't have it at the local library, but I could get it through inter-library loan.)
I wonder sometimes if what some people call sleep debt is really about adrenal fatigue and/or perhaps the body's ability to recuperate over a number of weeks/months after finally getting some decent deep (recuperative) sleep.
I still say it depends on your definition of sleep debt. I'm not sure what definition you're using when you say it doesn't exist, and you don't seem to want to tell us.
There is no doubt that if you skip a night's sleep, or get a poor night's sleep because your alarm woke you 5 hours after you went to sleep, you'll spend more time sleeping the next night, or you'll spend more time in REM sleep the next night. This effect increases if the number of nights of missed or poor sleep is more than just one.
My alarm woke me at 5:30 am today. It'll do that again tomorrow. As a result I'll be going to bed tomorrow night earlier than usual because I'll be especially tired.
To me, I've incurred a debt and I'm paying it back.
This is all based on sound scientific research, too.
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All research shows that no matter how sleep deprived you are or have been and for no matter who long, a single good night's sleep makes up for it, hence, sleep debt is a myth, under any definition.
One thing I've learned about research and things we 'know' to be true...
They can change.