1986 – The nuclear disaster in Chernobyl. 1989 – The Exon Valdez oil spill. 2001 – Michigan train wreck. 2009 – The crush of Air France Flight 447. What do all these events have in common? You guessed it. Sleep deprivation. It was a factor in some of the deadliest disasters in recent history, and responsible for millions of accidents world-wide, as it directly affects our memory, concentration and cognitive ability.
Do you feel sleepy during the day? Do you struggle to remember details you would normally remember? Are you moodier than normal? If so, there’s a good chance you too are sleep deprived. If you’ve ever asked yourself ‘do I have a sleep disorder’, start with getting to know one of the most common sleep disorders there are.
Sleep deprivation effects
Sleep deprivation is not about having trouble falling asleep or experiencing poor sleep quality. It’s simply about not getting enough sleep. Whatever the reason for lack of sleep is – working until the wee hours, doing an all-night marathon of your favorite TV series, or a busy lifestyle that’s not compatible with only 24 hours a day, it’s important to be aware of the effects of lack of sleep on our bodies, and even our environment.
Sleep is the cornerstone of health. During the night, we recover from the grueling day and perform a sort of ‘reboot’ which is vital for our physical and mental health, as well as for our performance during the day. Did you know that cumulative sleep deprivation lowers your immunity, may harm your heart, and may increase blood pressure and blood sugar levels?
The danger in sleep deprivation
While sleep deprivation can have several long-term effects on the body, some would say its’ short-term effects might be even more serious; it is wide clear that getting too few hours of sleep can also impair judgment and our interpretation of events, as well as the ability to think and react clearly. Lack of sleep can also affect mood, which in turn can lead to irritability and social difficulties. The effects of an all-nighter are immediate and will be felt the very next day: reduced concentration and functioning, as well as the ability to convert new skills into long-term memories. You will be surprised to discover that even getting just one and a half hours too little sleep may reduce your alertness by about 30% (!). While that doesn’t sound like a lot if you’re staying in the next day, think about those everyday situations where alertness is critical, like when you’re on the road or even at work – risking yourself and others.
Lack of sleep also affects our mood: If you’ve ever wondered why you're more upset than usual or feeling low for no apparent reason – lack of sleep may be the answer. During the night, the body regulates the secretion of adrenaline. When we don’t get enough sleep, our body releases increased amounts of the hormone, resulting in mood swings. While a short period of sleep deprivation can make us wake up on the wrong foot, chronic lack of sleep can have more serious effects and even cause depression.
While for many of us life is a non-stop serious of demands, functioning on less sleep has become a badge of honor while trying our best to keep up. As we at dayzz constantly guide you on how to improve sleep, we highly recommend to avoid adopting this perception and treat your night's sleep with due respect. Remember that keeping a regular sleep schedule can do wonders in balancing your lifestyle and help you sleep better overtime. So, from now on, we recommend you set your alarm not only to wake you up, but also to tell you to go to bed.
Ready to begin your journey towards better sleep? Start with getting a quick, personal sleep assessment.