Sleep deprivation is prevalent in today’s time where the world seems to be moving faster than ever. A 2018 data revealed that 51% of adults worldwide don’t get enough sleep. This doesn’t get better when productivity and work has become a huge part of everyday lives; it might be causing lack of sleep, yet it is also heavily affected by it.
Issues on sleep deprivation can be attributed to many factors: work, disruptive sleep environment, and sleeping problems and disorders are the most known culprits.
Addressing issues brought by sleep deprivation can be challenging. It takes time, effort, and a lot of lifestyle changes to fully notice any differences. However, the role and importance of sleep to be able to function properly on the daily should always be kept in mind.
Having a healthy sleeping habit is easier said than done. But, awareness on the impacts of different sleeping problems in your life is important.
You could say that you feel fine after an all-nighter working on a project or meeting a deadline, but continued patterns of not getting enough and proper sleep can lead to serious implications you will have to pay for later.
Dealing with sleep deprivation that can develop as a long-term issue should be taken seriously as not only do they affect your health, they can also manifest in how you interact with your environment – your friends, family, partner, and colleagues.
You might not notice its immediate effects, but lack of sleep affects the overall quality of life. If you’re consistently not getting the sleep you need because of crippling sleeping problems, here are how they can take over your life sooner or later:
Sleep Problems Can Weaken Your Memory
Lack of sleep affects the motor functions of the brain which can lead to weakened memory. It is widely theorized that not getting enough sleep “dumbs people down” as not only does it cause forgetfulness, but it also impairs judgment.
Brain activities called the sharp wave ripples are found to be responsible for storing and transferring long-term memories. And while these activities are normal, they mostly happen during deep sleep which people with shorter sleep cycles don’t normally reach.
So, if you’re suffering from sleep problems, you might also have tendencies to forget attending meetings, deadlines, doing previously planned tasks, or even simple words or names. Experiencing any of these a few times might seem harmless, but it can lead to worsening impacts in the long run.
Sleep Problems Can Affect Quality Of Performance
If you develop sleep problems because of the habitual lack of sleep due to work or school, it is counterproductive to know that sleep deprivation can also lead to a decline in your performance on work or school.
The brain is the immediate organ affected by sleeplessness. So, difficulty to focus and concentrate, feeling fatigued, and having a lack of energy can be the instant reactions you will notice.
As a result, you will end up with a poor quality of work and decreased productivity. Accidents will also likely to happen as alertness might also be affected.
For example, a 2018 study revealed that drivers who have less than four hours of sleep are 15.1 times more susceptible to fatal car accidents. The study also elaborated that it is not only the act of falling asleep while driving that causes the accidents. It is the lack of alertness as they fail to “notice something important, or misjudge a gap in traffic”.
Sleep Problems Can Lead To Mental Health Problems
You might notice that not getting enough sleep sometimes leads to feeling irritable or having mood swings throughout the day. However, regardless of how common these emotions are, sleep deprivation causes several emotional and psychological problems. These can persist longer than you think.
In fact, various researches linked sleep problems to mental health conditions. These include severe stress, depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and ADHD. Sleep deprivation for long periods of time also triggers paranoia and mania wherein an individual will start hallucinating. It also increases the odds of developing dementia by 33%.
This just shows how despite not experiencing the worst out of lack of sleep on the on-set, critical consequences might occur eventually.
Sleep Problems Can Deteriorate Physical Health
Sleep is mainly involved in not only your brain functions but your physical well-being as well. The healing and repairing processes of your heart and blood vessels occur during sleep. Therefore, having a disrupted and/or deficiency in sleep faces the risk of developing heart diseases.
Health problems such as diabetes, kidney disease, hypertension, and stroke are also associated with sleep problems.
A weakened immune system is also a known implication of sleep deprivation. This is why you will be more susceptible to catching coughs and common colds if you’re not getting quality and adequate sleep.
Sleep Problems Can Impact Relationships
Sleep deprivation is brought by sleep problems and leads to disruptions in your emotional condition. It can affect how you build relationships with the people around you. For example, being easily irritated and showing little to no energy around your colleagues, family, and friends might suggest a lack of enthusiasm and displeasure.
It is important to be reminded that while this might not happen every day, impressions are important in nurturing connections with people. This applies to both on personal and professional levels. And so, your contributions to the group you belong to might be stained by episodes of outbursts or spacing out.
Sleep deficiency also has an influence on sex drive and fertility. It was recognized in studies that sleep disturbances and insomnia can lead to infertility among women. They also increase the risk of miscarriages.
Not getting adequate and quality sleep is a common experience among people. Young and able-bodied individuals might not feel any difference in mental and physical well-being because of it. However, it doesn’t mean that its effects should be undermined.
Problems with memory, performance, physical and mental conditions, and relationships will arise sooner or later. Thus, sleep should be treated more seriously regardless of age and health situation.
At the end of the day, having quality sleep promotes improvement in different aspects of your life. Thus, it should be considered that it also promotes improvement of the overall quality of your life.