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So, you’re Sleep Deprived… What are the consequences?

We all know that we need good sleep to perform at home, school and/or work the next day, and it’s very likely that you have experienced the results of a terrible night’s rest first-hand during exam periods or ‘crunch’ week at work. But have you ever put them all on a page and REALLY looked at them? I have broken up the main consequences of sleep deprivation into four categories; Physical, Mental, Emotional and Economical.

Just how important is it to our health and performance to get the right amount of quality sleep each night?

Image: Anchorage Sleep Center, 2019. Effects Of Sleep Deprivation. [image] Available at: http://info.ancsleep.com/blog/how-to-break-the-sleep-deprivation-cycle

Physical

Our eyelids become heavy and may sting or swell. Muscles may deaden, ache and become difficult to control. Chills set in, we begin to yawn, we crave foods rich in sugar and carbohydrates, and suddenly everything in our body tells us to sleep. Eventually, if we continue to avoid proper rest, our system will begin to shut down and MAKE us sleep. Long term effects include an increased risk of heart/cardiovascular disease, poor immune function, diabetes… The list goes on! Let’s try to avoid that, shall we?

Mental

Mental effects of sleep deprivation include decreased cognitive function, slower reaction times, ‘brain fog’, increased levels of stress and an inability to deal with stressors, as well as difficulty communicating, concentrating, and more.

Image: Mind.org, 2020. No Title. [image] Available at: https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/sleep-problems/about-sleep-and-mental-health/

Emotional

Sleep gives us the ability to deal with negative emotions, think rationally during times of stress, and maintain a healthy disposition during our general life. Sleep deprivation has been directly linked to a decline in mental health, for people of all ages, backgrounds and ethnicities.

Economical

From a business perspective, employees are far more likely to attend and carry out work efficiently when they have had a healthy amount of sleep the night before. Sleep deprived staff are more likely to take days off, make mistakes in their work, have an accident at the workplace, and maintain a generally low level of productivity.

It is likely that you have experienced some of the above symptoms before, but did you know they were signs of being more than ‘just tired’?

I hope you enjoyed reading about the consequences of sleep deprivation! Join us next time for more information on maintaining a healthy sleep cycle.