We all know the obvious effect of sleep deprivation with that dreaded feeling of utter fatigue and all day grogginess. However, very few people understand the role of sleep in keeping your brain healthy or how lack thereof can make you horribly unproductive.
In fact, lack of sleep is extremely common in the majority of adults; you have been groomed for this from your teenaged years, when you would need to study into the wee hours of the morning to ace that exam.
When you enter the workplace, it isn’t much different; you may have to take home work that you failed to complete during the day, or even if you did, you have to spend time with your family during the evening, and take care of tasks necessary to the smooth running of the home.
In addition, what normally pays the price for squeezing out these extra tasks? Yep, your sleep. You will seriously need to reconsider how important a task is after you see the impact sleep deprivation has on your brain.
Thought Processes Become Sluggish
Tasks that require thorough thinking, or require focus and attention suffer tremendously when your body is in a state of sleep deficit. You will find it extremely difficult to construct simple mental “directives’ to get you through completion of the task at hand, and will likely find yourself slipping in and out of sleep. If you can, sneak naps in throughout the day. A little as 15 minutes can help rejuvenate your brain for a few hours (until naptime comes again!).
Depression Can Ensue
Although the reasoning behind development of depression is not fully understood, a study conducted in 2005 of over 10000 people revealed that those that suffer from insomnia or lack of sleep have a 500% increased chance of developing depressive illness.
It is possible that since deep restorative sleep phases many only be experienced twice during a six hour period of rest, levels of the stress hormone remain consistently high. Your memory and executive functioning of your brain will subsequently suffer
Can’t remember the name of that corporate contact you made last week? Chances are that lack of sleep is to blame. In order for short-term memories, made during the day, to be converted and stored as long term memories you can recall at will, they need to be “compartmentalized” into logical collections during sleep.
A little nap here and there won’t cut it. Memories are organized during the deepest phases of sleep, which usually occur about 90 minutes into sleep. After this deep phase is completed, the mind once again enters light sleep. Ideally, you want about 5 of these deep phases experienced per night, or you are still bound to leave memories on the table.
Think only crazy people hallucinate? Good, then that means you haven’t been sufficiently sleep deprived as yet! The well-rested brain is efficient at filtering stimuli as essential and unnecessary.
For example, as you’re reading this now, chances are a fan is buzzing in the background, maybe you have on some music or whatever, but your brain is sufficiently zoned in to allow you to focus on what’s important right now.
Compared to your brain critically lacking sleep, you may hear the fan playing music and the stairs calling your name!
Have you ever just felt “enraged” because you were tired? Chances are you have, and what you were experiencing was the urge to sleep (or eat). Periods of sleep deficiency cause two areas of the brain to “disconnect,” so to speak.
An area known as the amygdala and medial prefrontal cortex together regulate emotions and feelings, but as a result of a lack of sleep, you are subject to loose emotions, especially anger and sorrow. Road rage? Poor guy was probably asleep at the wheel!
Get good sleep and regularly. Sleep can profoundly enhance your mental and physical wellbeing, and it’s free! So sweet dreams!