Sleep deprivation is a real issue. Unlike other issues in our country it may not make news, be on the front page of the paper, or something you learn about in school. However, sleep deprivation is a serious issue that needs our attention. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that 1 in every 3 Americans have chronic sleep deprivation. This has a drastic effect on the suffering individual and to society as a whole. Considering the fact that the effects of sleep deprivation are memory loss, inability to focus, and a struggle to maintain concentration and retain information, one would imagine that society would put more emphasis on fixing this problem. The average American needs around 7 hours of sleep, however many people find this difficult.
We need more sleep to maximize our ability to learn and retain information. ”Cognitive impairments would be mediated through decreased alertness and attention through lapses, slowed responses, and wake-state instability. Attentional lapses, brief moments of inattentiveness, have been considered the main reason for the decrease in cognitive performance during sleep deprivation,” (Paula 3) Basically, sleep deprivation will make it difficult to function, and will not only affect your quality of life, it will also affect job and/or school performance. Lack of sleep will lead to decreased attention in short moments, zoning out, or unsustained concentration. A lack of sleep will also decrease productivity and work ethic, “Sleep feeds creativity, synthesizes new ideas, and leads you to “ah ha” moments. Research shows that we need good sleep to feed our high-level, innovative thinking and problem solving abilities.”(Chepella 2) Again, more sleep will make us more productive and more effective in completing our day to day tasks and improve our overall quality of life.
Memory retention may not be something you think about everyday, however as you progress through life it will become increasingly important to you. A primary cause of memory loss is either not enough sleep or too much sleep. Too little sleep has a significant effect on your brain because, “People who are persistently sleep deprived are more likely to have high blood pressure, diabetes, and narrowed blood vessels. Each of these can decrease blood flow inside the brain. Brain cells need a lot of oxygen and sugar, so blood flow problems could affect their ability to work properly”(Chepella 8).This may be a surprise that both too little and too much sleep can affect your memory, for the majority of people who get “too much sleep” the amount of sleep they get is not the reason for their memory loss. However, instead it is the quality of sleep they get, “People who spend more than nine or 10 hours a night in bed often have poor sleep quality. So for both too little and too much sleep, the important number may be the hours of quality sleep,” (Chepella 9)
The studies have been done, the effects have been shown, so why don’t we as a society raise more awareness on this issue? Sleep deprivation affects around 105 million people in America alone, this means that 105 million people come to work, or go to school every day with inability to focus, retain information and live life to the fullest. Furthermore, these people are not only affecting themselves, but also everyone they interact with everyday. With confidence I can say the world would be a better place if everyone took one hour out of their day and decided to dedicate it to an extra hour of sleep at night. I think that I will go and do that right now…
Alhola, Paula, and Päivi Polo-Kantola. “Sleep Deprivation: Impact on Cognitive Performance.” Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, Dove Medical Press, Oct. 2007, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2656292/
Chellappa, Sl, et al. “0208 Circadian Misalignment Impacts On Human Cognitive Performance.” Sleep, vol. 40, no. suppl_1, 2017, doi:10.1093/sleepj/zsx050.207
“Sleep Deprivation – Research & Treatments | American Sleep Assoc.” American Sleep Association, www.sleepassociation.org/sleep/sleep-deprivation/.
Sleep Deprivattion by Damon is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.