Sleep deprivation is becoming the norm, rather than the exception today. If you look at recent history, people are starting to sleep less and less.
Less that 100 years ago, people slept 9 hours a night on average; now they’re getting less than 7 hours. We have so many modern conveniences that are supposed to save us time, but really they just give us more to do.
Lack of sleep affects our physical, emotional, and mental state.
Most people are aware of the obvious short terms effects of sleep deprivation including exhaustion, fatigue, and a general lack of energy, but they’re less aware of some of the more serious physical consequences from not sleeping. Sleep not only recharges and repairs our brains, it also repairs our bodies.
Here are some other problems that can arise from lack of sleep:
*Inability to properly process glucose. This can lead to high blood sugar levels and other symptoms of type II diabetes. This also causes glucose to be stored as fat, which can lead to weight gain.
*Increased symptoms of aging.
*Core body temperature is lowered, which can impair proper functioning.
*Less consistent heart beat.
All day long, no matter what you’re doing, your brain is working. It’s spending time inputting processing, and outputting information. Even if you don’t think you get much done during the day, your brain does a lot of work. That’s why it’s important that it has time to rest and recharge.
Here are just a few of the detrimental effects of not enough sleep:
*Less control over speech; exhibited through slurring, stuttering, speaking in monotone, and choosing repetitive words and clichés. Scientists assume this occurs because the speech center of the brain actually shuts down and another, less capable part, must take over.
*While short term memory may be improved, there is a decreased ability to access older memories and convert long term to short term memory. It is almost impossible to learn a new skill.
*Decreased creativity, especially when it comes to problem solving. Sleep deprived people tend to be slower and less accurate when solving problems.
*Hallucinations and even temporary insanity can occur from a lack of REM sleep.
*Decreased judgment abilities and reaction time. Deprivation of sleep is comparable to alcohol intoxication when it comes to driving ability.
While we tend to focus on the physical and mental symptoms of sleep deprivation, there are also significant emotional symptoms as well. Emotional difficulties can take a severe toll on our personal relationships and safety.
Some emotional problems associated with deprivation of sleep are:
*Increased emotional stress and anxiety.
*A more pessimistic attitude.
*Extreme sadness and even depression.
*Extreme anger. Lack of a proper's night sleep has actually been indicated to be one of the major causes of road rage.
It’s important to remember that not everyone needs the same amount of sleep. You should try to get enough sleep to make yourself feel rested; this may require more than 8 hours.
If you’re getting a lot of sleep and not feeling rested, you may have a sleep disorder, such as sleep apnea, and should see a doctor.
While it may be difficult to fit a good night’s sleep into your schedule, it will not only make you feel better, it will also make you more efficient in the time you spend awake.