One of the most common behavioural patterns among adults today is the lack of sleep. They can sometimes be due to mental health issues, eating patterns, or work. In an ideal situation, adults are advised to sleep for 7 to 9 hours. However, most adults function while going through sleep deprivation. More often than not, this continues for a long period of time.
However, it affects the body in more ways than people generally think it does.
WHAT EFFECTS CAN SLEEP DEPRIVATION HAVE?
The one impact that people think sleep deprivation has is fatigue. Most people think that lack of sleep will only lead to them feeling tired and nothing else. However, it has more serious impacts on one’s productivity than what the common understanding is.
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In technical terms, lack of sleep leads to a reduction in alertness and response time. It has been linked to lethargic behaviour and slower mental processing. In more practical terms, it means that the brain is unable to respond immediately to any stimulus.
This means that the brain is unable to understand certain situations on the spot and respond immediately. Even if your job doesn’t require decisions to be made instantaneously, in the longer run, lack of sleep can lead to poor performance.
This usually presents itself in the form of preventable mistakes, poorly written emails and reports, or a critical performance review.
This effect can be explained through simple common sense as well as an extremely technical explanation. Firstly, if the brain is tired and hasn’t been able to rest, it fails to perform simple, everyday tasks. Hence, it has trouble remembering things. However, sleep deprivation leads to “reduced brain activity in the regions involved in working memory. This means we can’t hold onto information or think creatively,” according to Heather Turgeon. Heather is a therapist and co-founder of The Happy Sleeper.
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Additionally, there is a newer train of thought associated with sleep deprivation and memory. While we sleep, certain toxins are flushed out of the brain by cerebrospinal fluid. This allows for memory formation. This means that lack of sleep affects the formation of memories.
Many people have been told “sleep over it” when they begin to overthink about certain issues. This is because sleep allows the brain to rest, and hence, get a better perspective on things. Experts also think that when the individual dreams, the brain is able to release negative and stressful energy.
Additionally, some researches have revealed that dreams can help the brain work through emotionally intense experiences. This happens by “creating connections between neurons and allowing us to wake feeling calmer about what we experienced,” according to psychotherapist Jenny Maenpaa.
So the next time you think about pulling an all-nighter for an exam the next day, “sleep over it” and let sleep do the rest!