Did you know that if you feel drowsy at all during the day, even during a boring activity, you probably have not gotten enough sleep? Many of us would probably disagree with this statement because it happens so often in our lives.
However, this just proves how many people are not getting adequate hours of sleep at night. It’s true, around 70 million people in the United States report to having sleep problems.
Sleep is one of the most important things for our bodies. Without it, our bodies cannot perform at its peak.
Some of the minor symptoms that come with sleep deprivation are forgetfulness, depression, and a weaker immunity. These symptoms are temporary and minor, but they can have a huge impact on a person’s performance in the day.
Sleep deprivation can become dangerous if a person begins missing many hours of sleep each night. Some of the more serious effects of sleep deprivation include learning and memory, metabolism and weight, and cardiovascular health.
How much sleep should I be getting?
The amount of sleep needed ranges from person to person. Infants require around 16-20 hours of sleep a day, while most adults range from 7-8 hours per night. However, teenagers need around 9-10 hours and even some adults claim that they need as much as 10 hours of sleep to be alert the next day. The best way to avoid sleep deprivation is to test out how many hours of sleep feel the best for you. If you feel at all tired the next day, it is probably not enough.
However, if you can be productive in a day at 7 hours of sleep at night, then that is all your body needs. In fact, too much sleep can have the same results that sleep deprivation causes. Finding that happy medium is important.
The Dangers of Sleep Deprivation
Sleep deprivation may affect our memory and learning. For example, anything you learn during the day gets stored in your memory at night. It’s called memory consolidation and if you don’t get adequate sleep during the night, it disrupts this process.
Metabolism and weight can be altered through sleep deprivation by altering levels of hormones that impact our appetite and actually make you hungrier.
The hormone leptin seems to decrease with lack of sleep, while the hormone ghrelin increases. This is why researchers are studying the link between sleep deprivation and obesity because it increases our hunger and appetite.
Extreme sleep deprivation seems to be linked to cardiovascular health. The less sleep we get, the more likely we are to have hypertension, increased stress hormone levels, and irregular heartbeats.
Besides the obvious symptoms that pose a dangerous threat to our bodies, sleep deprivation can be dangerous for others.
Lack of sleep is one of the biggest causes of traffic accidents. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, driver fatigue is the cause of 56,000 motor vehicle accidents and 1,500 deaths each year.
Hopefully, this article on sleep deprivation made you think a little bit about how much sleep you are getting each night! Try experiencing how much sleep you think your body needs to enhance your performance each day! You will see huge improvements in your mood and your overall functionality.