Being sleep deprived is a difficult experience. There is a stigma around this phrase that entails an extraneous ordeal. In actuality, people do not have to be awake for days, fighting for their lives after a plane crash in the wilderness, to be sleep deprived. It just takes sleeping for less than six hours over a prolonged period to reach the harmful stage of sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation takes on different forms and stages. In spite of how sleep deprivation is caused, the effects are the same.
Effects of sleep deprivation
The effects of sleep deprivation include short and long term memory issues, lack of concentration and attention, mood swings, weakened immune system, weight gain, high blood pressure. Sleep is what gives humans incredible skills like regeneration and memory. Sleep is where our body heals itself and where the brain can clean up, reset and form memories. Sleeping less than five hours a night does not allow the body and brain to perform these necessary functions.
Memory and Concentration
The brain is rejuvenated during sleep. Part of the sleep process is dedicated to solidifying pathways in the brain that connect memories. Without these necessary pathways being formed, long and short-term memories are severely weakened. One of the side effects of prolonged lack of sleep is dementia like Alzheimer’s. When the brain does not get rest and recuperation, concentration is more difficult. The quick connections needed for daily life do not fire off in the brain as quickly. This means accidents are more likely to happen.
Hormones, moodiness, and weight
During the sleep cycle, the brain does a system flush. Sleeping less than six hours deprives the brain of having enough time to flush and rebalance fluids and hormones. Gaining weight occurs because the fluids are out of balance and confused. They also confuse the chemical trigger that tells the brain to stop eating. These hormonal imbalances make people extremely touchy.
Having a healthy, working mind is very important in the long run. It leads to a happier, safer lifestyle.
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