A lot of times we let ourselves stay up late or fall behind, getting way less than the recommended eight hours of sleep. It’s so easy to mess up your sleep schedule. However, it’s very important to the health of our minds and bodies that we get enough rest. Getting enough sleep can help brain function and promote longevity.
Sleep deprivation unknowingly affects many people. Some effects of sleep deprivation are drowsiness, memory loss, irritability, and trouble learning. “Sleep deficiency can interfere with work, school, driving, and social functioning.” (Nhlbi.nih.gov). Long term effects are more serious as deprivation of sleep long term can cause decline in cognitive function, anxiety, depression, and paranoia that become more serious over time.
As stated by Dr. Itzhak Fried of neurosurgery at UCLA said: “We discovered that starving the body of sleep also robs neurons of the ability to function properly, this paves the way for cognitive lapses in how we perceive and react to the world around us.” (Livescience.com). Loss of sleep causes the brain to function differently than it normally does, which affects many parts of our lives. People who also have trouble getting enough sleep can also have problems controlling their emotions and behaviors as their bra is working overtime to complete tasks without enough rest.
Another risk of sleep deprivation is car accidents. Drivers who sleep deprived also have a much higher risk of crashing. Scientists have found that if a pedestrian were to step in front of a car, the reaction time of the driver would be too slow to save something terrible from happening. It is very dangerous to drive sleep-deprived as drivers are not alert or as coherent to their surroundings and actions as a well-rested driver. This matter is so serious that scientists have compared it to driving drunk.
Studies have found that to help encourage a regular sleep pattern you should make a “sleep diary” to track the conditions under which you slept, how you slept, and for how long. Analyzing this information will help you create the optimum environment to sleep in and encourage a full night’s rest. Another thing to help sleep enough is removing bright lights from your bedroom, as well as limiting screen time before bed. This is a true method as the “blue light” emitted from phones disrupts the melatonin production in the brain, which keeps you awake longer and makes it harder to finally fall asleep.
Although sleep deprivation may seem like an unsuspecting thing to most people, it plagues the lives of many unknowingly. Letting your sleep schedule get messed up can cause long term effects such as high blood pressure, and heart attacks. Although these effects seem somewhat extreme, it can happen to anyone who makes all- nighters, and late nights consistent.
Sleep is important and helps our minds and bodies. It’s important to get the proper amount of sleep to help our bodies function to the best of their ability. By getting enough sleep, we are allowing our minds and body to reset and face all the challenges of the next day.
Mathewson, Samantha. “Here’s What Happens in the Brain When You Don’t Get Enough Sleep”, November 7, 2017. Livescience.com
“Sleep Deprivation and Deficiency”, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. 2018 Research Conference on Sleep and the Health of Women. Nhlbi.nih.gov.