Monday, December 5, 2011

3 Effects Of Sleep Deprivation - Why You Should Sleep Earlier

When was the last time you've had a full 8 hours of sleep? Last night?! Well never mind then mister "I sleep a healthy average of hours deemed healthy by doctors around the world", obviously you're too good for us everyday Jills and Jims. For everybody else in the world, we probably sleep a little less than what doctors recommend, which is 10 hours for children, 9 hours for teenagers, and about 7-8 hours for adults. But what's the harm, right? What's the worst that could happen?

You could spontaneously combust. There's food for thought.

3. Weaken Immune System

Remember your good ol' immune system? How it would take care of you day and night, ensuring that parasites, viruses, bacteria, and fungi don't simply march into your body and start decomposing you while you're still alive? Well, regardless of how many vitamins and exercises you eat or do, (Surely, you don't exercise vitamins) your body can still become susceptible to disease by simple things you fail to do daily. Ranging from basic hygiene to your mind-set, your conscious and unconscious mind can play a big role in the physiology of your working, functioning body.

One sure-fire way to weaken your immune system is to deprive your body of sleep. Instead of allowing your body to re-build it's natural defenses and fight the evils of the world another day, you can sit around on your computer all day and slowly destroy your immune system. The result is as obvious as for any weaken immune system; you'll find yourself contracting diseases more often and that the diseases last much longer in your body due to your body's inability to fight the disease quickly and effectively. Sounds like fun, sign me up.

Congratulations, you are now a proud owner of a weaken immune system.

2. Memory Loss

Hah! Heard of this before, right?!  Regardless of what you've already heard about this type of memory lost in the past, there are actually much more severe ramifications of avoiding or losing sleep. What most people don't pay attention to is the sleep-associated shriveling of one's ability to store information from the past day. Of course, this doesn't just mean that you'll forget about that TV show you watched during dinner, it also means that you might forget important information such as school/work notes, social interactions, and even plans. Did you touch fire and learn that it was bad for your health? Well too bad, you forgot.

The thing is, anything that you've learned in your everyday life is consolidated, organized, and moved from your short-term memory, to your long-term memory while you sleep. Without enough sleep, you would only be able to recall small details from your past day, making your life slightly more insignificant due to the wasted day. Along with that, your long-term memory itself will suffer, thus making it harder to recall memories from your past, which can not only make it difficult to recall that time you did that crazy back flip in the park, but make it more difficult to create judgement based on past knowledge. (If you learned that a extremely racist and violent gang lives ten streets down of your block, you may find yourself wandering down those same steps that you took ten months ago before your legs were broken by steel pipes.)

Unless you establish extremely convincing signs along the way to remind you.

1. Decreased Cognitive Ability

Including the normal drowsiness that you get after a night of partying, your brain will experience decreased cognitive potential during the period of exhaustion. One thing that happens during sleep is the revitalization and re-sensitization of your neuro-receptors/transmitters during you period of rest. An example of this in action would be the tenth surprisingly short buzz you get from the tenth redbull you down in a night. Of course, a more serious example would be the difficulty to "feel" emotional satisfaction and well-being due to the decreasing sensitivity of all your active neuro-receptors that need a break. (Due to the inability for the neuro-receptors to effectively and productively perceive the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is known to be responsible for your sense of well-being, happiness, drive and even motivation, you may find a slight change in personality.)

Along with the voices in your head telling you to give up, sleep deprivation will by no doubt make it harder for you to concentrate and evaluate situations. Almost 250,000 accidents every year are related to sleep. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine even recommend exhausted drivers to pull over and take a 15-20 minute nap to help alleviate their drowsiness as needed. Some studies have suggested that driving beyond 21 hours of sleep is equal to driving with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08, the legal limit in the United Sates, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Even if you've got 290 IQ, your body probably won't cooperate with you long enough to to win a Nobel Peace Prize under a day's time. Sorry.

Pictured: "=("

Fun Fact: Some studies have suggested a link between sleep deprivation and Alzheimer's. [Link Here]