Sleep deprivation is a health condition of not having the required sleep during a day-cycle to maintain a good health. At this age of smart technology, many people are sleep deprived. It’s almost like they think it is a badge of honor to tell someone that they are so busy that they don’t have time to sleep. Many studies have been undertaken, and it’s still not fully understood why human bodies need sleep. But we do know that we need it and that not getting enough rest can have some dire consequences.
Sleep: Why is it Needed?
This process of sleep is known as an “anabolic” or building process. During these hours (sleep) the body restores the energy supplies that have been depleted while you’re awake. It also repairs itself while you’re in dreamland. Muscle tissue is restored and growth hormone is secreted. This hormone is essential for growing children, but adults continue to need it to rebuild tissues.
There is a period of time in the night called REM sleep. REM stands for rapid eye movement because it is characterized by the rapid and random movement of the eyes. It is during this time that we dream. Some scientists think that it is a clearing-out process. Others think that dreams help the brain reorganize and store psychological information that it has taken in throughout the day.
The Effects of Sleep Deprivation.
Lack of sleep can make us cranky and irritable. It affects our concentration. We can’t perform mental calculations as well, and, therefore, are much more likely to make errors. Physically we become clumsier and it could cause weight gain or weight loss. It also affects our muscle tone and skin appearance. So, if you want to have better skin and strength, getting enough sleep definitely will help a great.
Long term sleep deprivation leads to hallucinations, and the brain is unable to give direction to the rest of the body. This is when lack of sleep becomes extremely serious. Another serious consequence of prolonged sleep deprivation is that it increases the chances that you will have a heart attack or a stroke. It has been estimated that if you don’t get the sleep you need on a regular basis that you have a 48% increase in the chances that you will die of a heart attack. And you have a 15% greater chance of dying from a stroke.
Sleep deprivation can also affect the immune system which makes us more likely to get things like a cold or the flu. Further, it can contribute to other conditions such as high blood pressure, cholesterol, and obesity.
Risks from Sleep Deprivation: At a Glance.
Sleep Deprivation: Affects Your Performance
If you sleep less than the required for your health, it will affect your performance in various ways. Some of such impairments are:
- Slower in reacting to action.
- Reduced sense of alertness
- Shortened span of attention
- Less awareness of situations
- Reduced decision-making skills
- Decreased memory
- Failing in concentration
- Increased behavior out of bad temper
- Affected work efficiency
- Losing motivation
Recent Study on Sleep Deprivation.
A recent study by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that one among three American doesn’t need enough sleep as per their health requirement. The findings have come as a part of the “first study to document estimates of self-reported healthy sleep duration for all 50 states and the District of Columbia”. The tendency of sleep disorder is alarming with the inducement of the risk of many diseases.
How Much Sleep is Needed?
While the needs vary among individuals and among age groups:
- Adults: The average adult needs at least 6-8 hours a night.
- Teenagers: Teenagers need about 10 hours sleep a day.
- Children: Children, ages 5-12 could use anywhere from 10 to 11 hours.
- Babies: Babies may need sleep from 14 to 15 hours a day.
If you wake up feeling rested and refreshed in the morning, then you probably have had enough. But if you wake up feeling tired, then your body is probably trying to tell you something.
The interesting thing is that we spend a huge amount of money on health and wellness products each year, such as vitamins and herbs. But one of the greatest things we can do for our health is simply taking a good night’s sleep.