21 Not So Sexy Effects of Sleep Deprivation You Should Know About
Sleeping is important, we all know that; but what if you were told that not getting the prescribed hours of sleep per night could cause immense side effects for you both psychologically and physically, whether or not you are a baby boomer. All ages are equally affected by a lack of proper quality sleep.
As a child, we don't want to go to bed and miss out on the fun. As teenagers, we just want some time alone to ourselves after a day that has taken its toll on us emotionally. As adults, we often don't have time for sleep but would love to crawl into a warm bed and shut our eyes and minds to the world and its worries. As elderly, we simply cannot sleep for very long at all. The evolution of why we cannot get the necessary hours of sleep is rather interesting.
How many hours should we be sleeping?
Infants: 9-10 hours at night, plus 3 or more hours of naps
Toddlers: 9-10 hours at night, plus 2-3 hours of naps
School-age children: 9-11 hours
Adults: 7-8 hours
Unfortunately, many are left sleep deprived. There are a multitude of reasons for this, but one is that we do not consider the negative effects this behavior has on our minds and bodies. Older adults actually need as much sleep as younger ones but they have more disturbances in their sleep which means longer hours spent in bed trying to steal enough of the sleep to compensate for the time lost.
What does sleep deprivation do to you, exactly?
Increases Irritability: Have you been around a sleep deprived person who seems a walking zombie suddenly turned monster? Yeah? So have I. Cognitive impairment, depressive symptoms, and hostility are huge in the negative department.
Causes Cognitive Impairment: The prefrontal cortex, in charge of executive functions, is heavily impaired when there is a lack of sleep. This means that daily proper functioning is greatly distressed and personality takes a hit.
Causes Memory Loss: a good night's sleep allows for the consolidation of memory and studies show that recall tasks are completed much better than if there is a problem in sleep patterns. A student should take great care to sleep well if he or she wants to be able to learn well enough to pass the course.
Impairs Moral Judgement: Decision-making and deciding on the appropriateness of a situation is greatly hampered by a lack of sleep which could make someone seem to have lost morality when in truth it is merely taking longer for the brain to process.
Impairs Hand-Eye Coordination: You thought drunk people should not be driving or walking on the edge of a precipice? Please hang the same warning sign on those who do not receive a healthy amount of sleep as their coordination and response time is similar to a drunk's.
Causes Hallucinations: Seeing things that are not actually there can be a common side effect of prolonged sleep deprivation.
Instigates ADHD Symptoms: Apparently it is quite easy to incorrectly diagnose a child or adult with ADHD when that person has not been sleeping properly.
Impairs Immune System: Blame it on the lack of sleep when depression sets in and you start getting sick constantly.
Increases Risk of Type 2 Diabetes: Considering shorter sleep periods lead to higher insulin resistance, developing diabetes from a young age becomes a definite worry.
Increases Variation in Heart Rate: Blood pressure and heart rate irregularities are a common side effect of sleep loss during the night.
Instigates Osteoporosis: As if all the other problems were not enough, developing osteoporosis takes the cake for the elder generation, particularly baby boomers.
Increases Cancer Risk: Oh the joy! It feels like everything increases risk of cancer these days and getting less than 6 hours of sleep a night is no exception.
Increases Risk of Heart Disease: Too little sleep can increase risk of developing and dying from heart disease by 48%.
Causes Aches: Spontaneous pain is very common in those who have deprived themselves of the essential hours of sleep.
Suppresses Growth: Children who do not sleep enough have their growth stunted when it is for long periods of time, according to many studies.
Increases Risk of Obesity: Well, since buying more food is definitely on the agenda of a sleep deprived person, it is no wonder weight gain becomes a problem. With decreased metabolism and increased appetite, the calories will pack on rather quickly.
Increases Risk of Alzheimer's: Well, it leads to memory loss so why not have sleep deprivation affect risk for Alzheimer's as well, right?
Makes a person seem uglier: No one wants to be seen as ugly but sleep deprivation affects the parts of the face vital in communication which can become repulsive if the effects become drastic. The eyes, mouth and skin are the greatest victims of sleep deprivation.
Increases Risk of Stroke: Middle aged and older adults should worry if they sleep less than 6 hours a night. The risk of a stroke is high, given the fact that the number of adults reporting over 8 hours of sleep a night has decreased to less than 30%. Those are frightening figures.
Ages Considerably: Might be why Estee Lauder recommends sleeping to promote beauty and staying younger.
Kills Quicker: Insomnia with short sleep duration in men is associated with increased mortality risk that has been underestimated, according to a Penn State study.
According to certain studies, women may endure prolonged wakefulness better than men, whereas physiologically they recover slower than their opposite sex. Hear hear to the more resilient gender.
Young or old, parent or grandparent, ensure that those in your family are sleeping as much as they should according to their age.
Image source: Wikipedia