Sunday, September 16, 2012

Consequences of Sleep Deprivation

Life is busy. We all have more to do than hours in the day. We are faced with a choice. What do we choose to go without? Well I am writing this article to encouraging you to not skimp on sleeping. There are serious consequences to lack of sleep. After periods of extended wakefulness or reduced sleep neurons may begin to malfunction, visibly effecting a person's behavior. Just like a person cannot jog for three continuous days a person's brain cannot operate without rest breaks.” S.L. (2008) This is costing about $100 billion per year in accidents, lost work and medical bills according to Brain Facts, Society for Neuroscience, 2002.

There are two ways you can suffer from sleep deprivation:  
1. Going extended periods without sleep
2. Getting less than 7 hours per night repeatedly

Consequences of Not Enough Sleep:
Mood instability
Thinking/processing problems
Instable functioning
Decrease in coordination and physical ability
Memory loss
Difficulty with high level thinking
Weight gain
Increased anxiety
Slurred speech
Lack of impulse control
Decrease attention/lack of focus
Decrease memory intake
Decreased judgment
“temporary insanity”
Increased susceptibility to illness
Increase risk of accidents by 20% or more depending on your level of sleep deprivation Heart disease
High blood pressure

Myths and Facts about Sleep from
Myth 1: Getting just 1 hour less sleep per night won’t affect your daytime functioning. You may not be noticeably sleepy during the day. But even slightly less sleep can affect your ability to think properly and respond quickly, and compromise your cardiovascular health, energy balance, and ability to fight infections.
Myth 2: Your body adjusts quickly to different sleep schedules. Most people can reset their biological clock, but only by appropriately timed cues—and even then, by 1–2 hours per day at best. Consequently, it can take more than a week to adjust after traveling across several time zones or switching to the night shift.
Myth 3: Extra sleep at night can cure you of problems with excessive daytime fatigue. Not only is the quantity of sleep important but also the quality of sleep. Some people sleep 8 or 9 hours a night but don’t feel well rested when they wake up because the quality of their sleep is poor.
Myth 4: You can make up for lost sleep during the week by sleeping more on the weekends.Although this sleeping pattern will help relieve part of a sleep debt, it will not completely make up for the lack of sleep. Furthermore, sleeping later on the weekends can affect your sleep-wake cycle so that it is much harder to go to sleep at the right time on Sunday nights and get up early on Monday mornings.
Adapted from: Your Guide to Healthy Sleep (PDF) The National Institutes of Health

So when looking at your to-do list please move sleep up to the top of the list. Ironically you will find when you get enough sleep it is easier to achieve your goals.

Brain Facts, Society for Neuroscience, 2002

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