Sleep is probably best described as the loss of awareness of what is happening around. The brain itself never sleeps and still continues to function, although the brainwave rhythms are gradually altered and slowed as a person approach the deeper stages of sleep.
Sleep deprivation exists when a person is not getting the dream needed. This varies from person to person. The average adult requires six to nine hours a night. Kids and teens require more sleep than adults. If you feel energetic during the day and do not experience daytime sleepiness then you are probably getting adequate sleep.
Public awareness of fitness and nutrition has grown over the last few years but unfortunately little is known about the very important issue of sleep disorders. They are not included in any general medical training so the lack of knowledge is perpetuated.
If only sleepiness were the only drawback of sleep deprivation, it would not be such a serious condition. Unfortunately, the consequences are many and some of them are absolutely serious. There are behavioral and physical symptoms of sleep deprivation.
Effects of sleep deprivation
These ranges from uncomfortable to downright dangerous, so if you can see yourself in the symptoms below, it"s worth trying to establish what is causing your sleep deprivation then we can resolve ourselves and how to treat it.
- Tension and anxiety. This can be a vicious cycle as stress and anxiety can actually cause lack of sleep, it is also a result of it.
- Cholera, irritability, and depression. These are all stress related and can cause relationship and social problems. The National Sleep Foundation has said that anger due to sleep deprivation may be one of the contributing factors to road rage. The answer to these problems may simply be more or better sleep
- Lack of focus and difficulty concentrating. The brain looses function as a result of sleep deprivation. Students suffering from lack of sleep loses the ability to focus and concentrate on studying. One study has found that from the age of puberty, the need for sleep increases until adulthood.
- Short-term memory loss. Memory is affected by a lack of sleep, this is also a problem for those trying to study and for those learning new job skills.
- Inability to drive a motor vehicle safely. A person who is sleep deprived has lower concentration and can fall asleep at the wheel. Sleep deprivation can also cause blurring of peripheral vision. The danger has been determined to be close to someone who is affected by alcohol!
- Suppression of the immune system. This is a concern as it leaves a person vulnerable to every infection that happens to be around all the time. People who are deprived of sleep get more colds and flu than those who are not.
These are probably enough reasons to convince us to take action to change our sleeping habits! If the lack of time is keeping us up late, something else may have to be sacrificed to make sure we get the rest we need.
If a sleep disorder is making your life miserable, do not despair! There is always something you can do and knowledge on the subject is improving all the time so read on!