11 Dangers Of Sleep Deprivation

One state of mind and body that unites the universe is the state of sleep. Every living being on planet earth enjoys this state to feel refreshed, restored, fulfilled and energetic. Such is the magical blessing of this languid state that the advantages of sleep are unquestionable. It is a state of mind since the brain is forced to shut down and switch off. The nerves are left to rest peacefully, while the muscles become inactive and the eyes are closed. Sleep is essential for a super powerful mind and physical strength to forge ahead. It is believed that a human being can live without food for more than three weeks, but the same cannot be said of sleep. Yet it is indisputably accepted that sleep is as essential as water to survive.

Therefore, if one has to live well one needs to sleep well too. Lack of sleep leads to many complications and some of them may not be corrected. However suggestive remedies may aid in inducing proper sleep. Being aware of the dangers of sleep deprivation leads us to adapt a healthy lifestyle, diet and reduce stress related activities or work. The consequences of sleep deprivation are numerous and complicated too.

1. Unsatisfactory Performance:

A good sleep is a must to refresh the brain and strengthen the nerves. If sleep time is reduced to one and a half hours only for one night, it is found that your alertness can be reduced by 32% during the daytime. Your quality and level of performance at work will get affected over a period of time given the condition of the brain and nerves that you carry back to work routine.[1]

Unsatisfactory Performance

2. Slowdown In Cognitive Ability:

Lack of sleep slows down the process of recognizing or cognitive ability. The state of sleepiness is carried over to your daytime activities and the brain is not stimulated to work. It is fine tuned to shut out information sent to it and process and release feedback. This means sleepiness retards cognitive ability. A fulfilling and undisturbed sleep of required hours for the human body is certainly a brain diet for rejuvenated working.[2]

Slowdown In Cognitive Ability

3. Increase In Health Problems:

The heart health is affected to a large extent because of lack of sleep. Good quality sleep of seven to eight hours decreases the work of the heart. In a state of lack of sleep, the heart does not fluctuate normally. This means the pumping of blood is irregular leading to heart health disorders. Insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes and C-reactive Protein(CRP) is also increased in a state of short sleep. CRP is related to stress and inflammation, which does not promote heart health. In many cases of short sleep, it is found that a lack of appetite sets in prompting the concerned person to eat less or eat too much. Insomnia is the result of sleep deprivation which indicates trouble in falling and staying asleep. Lack of restorative sleep over a period of time will result in migraine or headache.[3]

Increase In Health Problems

4. Developing Depression:

Insomnia leads to depression. As age increases insomnia also sets in. Clinical depression or mood disorder is also a common cause for lack of sleep. This state of mind combined with insomnia can lead to serious health problems. It is best advised to come out of such mood disorders at a very early stage and set the sleep cycle at the earliest in order to avoid the effects of depression.[4]

Developing Depression

5. Memory Loss:

Loss of memory is associated with poor sleep. The brain aids in consolidating memory. This function of the brain is best carried out when we are in a state of deep and undisturbed sleep. The memory is alive with such a restorative sleep and we are able to discharge our duties with ease and relevance.[5]

Memory Loss

6. Increase In Weight:

Studies reveal that thirty percent of people who slept for less than six hours a day are likely to increase their body weight as compared with people who slept up to of seven to eight hours a day. Adequate sleep is recommended to avoid putting on excess weight. During a sound sleep, the signals sent to the brain on satiety of the appetite is very low. Hence after a restless night one often wakes up with a craving to eat. The craving is found to be largely towards junk food and high fat items.[6]

Increase In Weight

7. Skin Aging:

Skin fatigue sets in when one does not have enough sleep and the face reflects this state explicitly. The facial skin tends to look tired devoid of the glow contributed by a restorative sleep. The skin under the eyes tend to darken leading to under eye dark circles. Lack of sleep leads to a stressful condition which increases the level of stress hormone called cortisol to be released. Released in excess, cortisol tends to break the skin proteins or collagen that help to keep the skin smooth and elastic.[7]

Skin Aging

8. Risk Of Poor Immune System:

Lack of sleep lowers the immune system and also sets the pace of your recovery when you do fall sick. Our body releases proteins called cytokines when we sleep and which aid in promoting sleep. Under stress and infection conditions, these proteins have to be released on an increased level to aid a good sleep. These proteins are deprived when we lose a good sleep, lowering our recovery and thereby the immune system is also weakened.[8]

Risk Of Poor Immune System

9. Short Sleep Retards Learning:

Lack of sleep leads to irritability and low focus. Students especially have to be exposed to the lack of good sleep and its harmful effects. Alertness and analytical or reasoning skills will come down and progress in academics, sports and other activities will slow down. Their decision making ability will gradually reduce.[9]

Short Sleep Retards Learning

10. Risk Of Hazards And Accidents At A Higher Rate:

There are situations at work and the nature of work itself is such that a positive and spontaneous response to the situation is important. Airport Traffic controllers, Truck drivers, Network administrators, police, press reporters, emergency medical relief employees, pilots, coastal guards, soldiers and the like professionals have to be extremely alert and awake at work. This is possible only if they have enjoyed a good night’s sleep. The expected responsive may not be forthcoming if they have suffered from lack of sleep.[10]

Risk Of Hazards And Accidents At A Higher Rate

11. Low Acceptance In A Group:

Lack of sleep often leads to very low emotions and one may not be acceptable in a group due to this behavior. A person with sleep deprivation may not react positively or speak coherently when the group expects him to do so. His/ Her response may not be in-line with the ongoing conversation and exchange of ideas. Such behavior may lead to his or her social loneliness and isolation. A restorative sleep is the best solution to societal acceptance.[11]

Low Acceptance In A Group