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The Effects of Sleep Deprivation

Updated on May 26, 2013

Achieving proper sleep can often be hard, living in such a busy, demanding and constantly changing world. It’s our families and our will to succeed that drives us on while stress drags us down. We strive to get everything done for work or school while neglecting our bodies’ needs, one being sleep. Not only do we live in a busy world, but a world full of technology; fast-paced, high-tech world that ultimately operates 24 hours of the day, so it’s no wonder many face sleep depravity, insomnia, high levels of stress and anxiety and a out-of-order internal clocks.

Here I’m going to describe a few of the many side effects of leading a sleep deprived life and give a few tips on how to fix this.

First, you have to analyze your situation. Think about what time you sleep at and what time you wake up; do you personally believe you give yourself enough sleep? Is coffee the only thing driving your mind to stay awake but not focused? Do you wake up frequently during the night to check your email, text messages, facebook or even twitter? How do you often feel during the day, awake and alert or cranky, tired and unenthusiastic about life?

Now before I bolster you to keep a proper sleep schedule, let’s look at a few of the many side effects of sleep depravity.

Sleep deprivation leads to a malfunctioning brain, as well as, malfunctioning neurons, resulting in a change in a person’s behavior. Neurons process and transmit information, so malfunction ones would be, bad?

Your temporal lobe, belonging to the cerebral cortex, associated with the processing of language and creative thinking is also affected which would lead to a verbal inconsistency as well as loss in thinking of imaginative words or ideas.

In fact your cerebral cortex is used for: memory, attention, perceptual awareness, thought, language and consciousness. All affected with sleep deprivation

Your immune system and other vital organs are also susceptible to the effects of loss of sleep making your body vulnerable to sickness and other disease.

Loss of sleep can also affect the functionality of our hormone levels, which in turn, can affect our appetites. This, in some cases, can lead to weight gain or even weight loss.

Those sleep deprived, are more prone to mistakes such as car accidents. Would you want your kids sitting in the back sit of a car to a sleep deprived parent? In fact sleep deprived driving is about the equivalent to driving drunk.

While we didn’t break the surface with the effects of sleep depravity, such as: hallucination, memory loss, frequent short-term memories, depression, heart disease, reflex impairment, cancer and much more. We need to realize that sleep is more important than work, more important than that promotion, more important than school work and more important than checking our emails or IMs in the middle of the night.

Personally, I would argue that sleep is the number one important reality in maintaining “a” health right next to drinking water.

With a proper nights rest, you’ll be so much more alert and ready. You’ll be able to tackle lives demands with a more creative and sharp mind. You’ll be able to remember what’s important and be able to apply it when needed.

While getting a proper nights rest is an entire subject of its own, I will mention a few quick tips and give a layout to what’s needed.

Keep a sleep schedule. Don’t “sleep in” or “catch up” sleep on the weekends, there is no such thing and it’s just a myth. Sleep the same hours every day. If this is somehow out of your control, then at least try and go to bed at the same time every night. This is vital for your sleep pattern and internal clock.

(Check out this site to learn about your internal clock

Get exercise. Exercise is essential in entering deep sleep. Deep sleep is basically stage 3 and 4 out of 5 stages of sleep. During deep sleep your brain emits extremely slow delta brain waves and during this time your body is repairing itself. The reason exercise is essential for sleep is because of our body temperature which will be explained below.

Sunlight goes hand in hand with exercise. Sunlight enters by the eyes and helps raise body temperature. Both, exercise and sunlight raise your body temperature which in turn means a faster drop at night. Your body temperature basically determines how fast you can enter sleep. When your body is in deep sleep the average body temperature will also drop a bit. Your body eventually develops a natural rhythm and knows when to lower the body temperature and when to higher it. Meaning, if you wake up and go to bed at the same time every day while maintaining a good intake of sunlight and exercise, then your body will know when the body temperature needs to rise and when it needs to lower.

Nutrition is still important, but not as vital as the rest. Look, you know the drill, avoid coffee before bedtime. And cigarettes and alcohol have an entire story of side effects on their own.

Have a wind down time. Don’t go to bed after watching TV or after any other technology usage. If your mind is racing while you’re in bed, then you’ll most likely get insomnia or stay awake till your mind calms down. Wind down; read a book or even spend a few minutes deep breathing.

Lastly, this one more or less is important aspects of good sleep, but don’t use your bed to watch TV, to read your email, to talk on the phone or anything else. When you use your bed for anything else besides sex and sleeping, your mind will make an association with your bed on a subconscious level. It’ll just be confused and not know if you want to sleep or watch TV, thus keeping you awake.

Although this might have been a lot of information to take in all at once, I urge you to try at least one of the above tips. Sleep is as vital as breathing for life. You’ll be happier and overly more optimistic as a human.

Any comments will be appreciated and any questions I will try my best to answer.

"Success is the sum of small, efforts, repeated day in and day out"

-Robbert Collier.


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