Getting good sleep is an essential part of our mental and physical well-being. You may think that sleeping is something that happens to us naturally, but for many, it's a tough task to do. Sleep deprivation is a commonly found disorder across the globe. Sleep deprivation effects begin to show gradually, over a period of time. It essentially means getting too little sleep, less than what is actually needed by the body. Proper sleep is important for the body to regenerate certain parts such as the brain for optimum functioning. The repercussions of sleep deprived brain, can only be hazardous to health.
Sleep deprivation can be caused due to insomnia, hectic lifestyle, health issues, medication side effects, age, clinical sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, poor eating habits, working late, or irregular working hours.
✦ Effects on Brain
Our body requires adequate sleep to relax certain organs. Brain, being the power house of the body needs to be well-rested to perform better. Extended sleepless nights, lead to malfunctioning of neurons in the cerebral cortex. Needless to say, this hampers the cognitive skills and thus retards routine performance.
Neuroscientists believe that sleep is a crucial part of brain development as it helps in making memories more permanent. In other words, a good night's sleep improves memory. Adverse effects of sleep deprivation are likely to result in depression, Alzheimer's disease, schizophrenia, and a head injury.
✦ Effects on the Body
A study shows, inadequate sleep results in reduced hand-eye coordination of a person, which is similar to having alcohol content of 0.1 in the blood. Sleep deprivation is also known to affect the weight changes in our body. We may think that eating and exercising are the only requirements for maintaining healthy weight. But, sleep also affects weight by changing hormonal balances.
✦ Effects on Students
Exam time is defined by stress, tension and sleepless night. The biggest mistake that college students make to cram their studies in limited time, is stay up all night. Long term effects of sleep deprivation among college students are seizure, stroke and heart attacks. Short-term sleep deprivation amongst students can lead to irritability and exhaustion. Sleeping during exam time or while writing exam paper is a commonly observed sleep deprivation effect among students.
✦ Effects on Memory
Studies show that sleeping helps you to build stronger memories. Which means, if you fall asleep quickly after learning a new skill or after reading your exam material, it is easier to remember it later. On the other hand, the memory of a sleep deprived person is likely to degenerate day by day.
Effects of long term sleep deprivation are high blood pressure, impaired vision, heart attack, heart failure, stroke, psychological problems, depression, obesity, mental impairment, and problems in relationships. Terrible immune system, anxiety, and poor concentration are also sleep deprivation side effects.
Sleep deprivation causes sleep debt. Sleep debt is nothing but a deficit of sleep. Ideally, hours of sleep needed is 7 - 8 hours. There are stages of sleep known as REM or rapid eye movement stage, during which we experience dreams and the other phase in the non-REM
Disclaimer: This SleepHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.