Interesting Facts about Sleep Deprivation
Interesting Facts about Sleep Deprivation
Sleep deprivation is a condition that occurs when a person does not get enough sleep each night. It is something that can affect a person for just a day or two, or for weeks at a time. There are various factors that play a role in whether a person would become sleep deprived or have healthy sleep patterns, but regardless, it is a condition that can lead to problems with the brain and other cognitive functions. A person that has chronic sleep deprivation can suffer from daytime sleepiness,
fatigue, weight loss/gain and clumsiness. These are all facts that most people are familiar with, but there are also many interesting facts about sleep deprivation that aren’t widely known.
Short Term Memory Failures
When it comes to retaining information in the short term, sleep deprivation will cause many problems. When a person suffers problems with their short term memory, simple tasks can be forgotten and even remembering complete phone numbers can be an issue. Even the simple task of subtracting numbers can be an issue for someone that is sleep deprived. The record holder for the longest intentional period without sleep, Randy Gardner, was asked to count back from 100 in increments of seven on the 11th day of his sleepless streak and
stopped at 65.
Long Term Memory Fails You Too
While we already covered the short term memory struggles in sleep deprived individuals, it is also an issue for long term memory. When the human body is sleeping, our brain continues to work and helps the mind put everything in order and retain important information. When a person becomes sleep deprived for an extended period of time, it become difficult for the brain to consolidate so many memories into the brain and make sense of everything it saw. It can also lead to problems learning new skills.
Good Habits Are Lost
When a person is getting the correct amount of sleep each night, it is easier to ensure you are living life the healthy way. When a person does not get enough sleep, you will be more inclined to do the things you normally wouldn’t including eating healthy, making smart choices about daily life or even simple choices like smoking cigarettes or not.
Brain Cells Become Damaged
Over the years, there has been more research conducted about the possibility of brain cells becoming damaged because of the lack of sleep. A recent study conducted on mice found that as many as 25 percent of brain cells died because of an extended period of disrupted sleep.
Auto Accidents or Work Incidents
One of the leading causes of automobile accidents in the United States each year is sleep deprivation. Whether a person worked a double shift through the night or stayed up all night studying for an exam, the lack of sleep can lead to accidents. A lot of people think that if they get just four or five hours of sleep one night, they can make up for it the next by getting double that amount. It seems to make sense in theory, but over time, the lack of sleep builds up and can have a negative effect on your body. This problem is one that might not even be too noticeable, but that is what makes it so dangerous. There are some studies that say driving while sleep deprived could be more dangerous than driving drunk.
Brain Forced to Work Harder
When a person does not get enough sleep each night, things become tricky for their brain. Without the time needed to function and put all the new information where it needs to go, they don’t
work as efficiently. When a brain doesn’t work efficiently, it forces it to work harder than they would normally do otherwise.
As soon as a person reaches the 36 hour time point with no sleep, planning and coordinating will become an immediate problem and cause serious issues. Those that do suffer from sleep deprivation will often find it difficult to make decisions about new activities or actions.
Mania is defined as “abnormally elated mental state, typically characterized by feelings of euphoria, lack of inhibitions, racing thoughts, diminished need for sleep, talkativeness, risk taking, and irritability.” When a person suffers from mania, they can often begin hallucinating and other psychotic issues and symptoms. While it is a symptom of bipolar disorder, it can occur in those that suffer from sleep deprivation. A person suffering from mania could also experience abnormally high energy levels, aggression, psychosis, paranoia and more. In the past, there have been common links found between mental illness and insomnia and the lack of sleep could make it difficult for a person to get out of their manic state.
About the Author
Hobson Lopes is a 2012 graduate of Western Connecticut State University in Danbury, Conn. He is a professional writer who will be releasing a cookbook in January 2014 called Men Cook Too. He is also the owner of The First Pitch and can be followed on Twitter.