Sleep Deprivation and How It Affects Our Lives
In the hustle and bustle of life, we find that we just don’t seem to have enough time to take care of all the necessities. If we add in the few things that we need to do for pleasure, something goes short, and, usually, that is the amount of sleep we get each night. The statistics would, probably, be fairly high for the number of people who are trying to function on too little sleep and suffering from sleep deprivation effects.
Unfortunately, getting too little sleep can affect almost every aspect of our lives. It has an impact on our jobs, our families and our health. Let’s consider just some of the negative effects from being sleep deprived.
Our job performance
Many people are finding that when they are sleep deprived they don’t perform as well on the job. They are making mistakes, forgetting to do certain tasks and being prone to accidents. When you consider that, it can be scary if the job is dangerous, such as high rise construction jobs. You don’t want a co-worker causing an accident that means loss of a limb or a life. But would you want to be the worker who caused the accident? Are you sleep deprived? What will you do about it?
Even if your job is not a dangerous one, it’s important that you be able to perform your tasks. Poor memory is another problem that sleep deprivation causes. If you are unable to recall information in connection with your work, it will affect your performance, and you run the risk of losing your job. Can you afford that? If not, then getting enough sleep so that you can be at your best is necessity. You must get more sleep, and you must get what you need every night, not just occasionally.
Having trouble with concentration is another symptom of lack of sleep. No job performance will be as good, as it could be, if you lose the ability to concentrate and to focus on what you are doing. Getting enough sleep can help with this problem.
Driving down the highway
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) statistics for the first 10 years of this century showed that 400,000 died and 2,500,000 were injured in motor vehicle accidents in the United States. These types of accidents were also the major cause of death for ages 4 through 34.
What do sleep deprivation effects have to do with these statistics? Many who are losing sleep get drowsy when driving. Others fall asleep at the wheel, sometimes just for a few seconds. However, that is enough time to cause an accident. Sleep deprivation also causes reflex impairment so a driver doesn’t have the ability to react properly in an emergency. In fact, some researchers are comparing driving with sleep deprivation effects to drunk driving because the impairment of reflexes is about the same.
The NHTSA also said that 1500 or more lives each year were lost due to sleep deprivation or falling asleep at the wheel of a moving vehicle. And there are over 100,000 sleep related motor vehicle accidents that occur each year as well. Those take a tremendous toll on the lives of those involved.
Even the emotions are affected by loss of sleep. Keeping the emotions in balance is much harder making it difficult for individuals to function. They may deal with mood swings, going from depression to ‘road rage’. Maybe that is some of the problem when we read about individuals who go berserk out on the highway.
It may not be just on the highway either. Sleep deprivation could be the underlying cause of many assaults and cases of abuse in the home as well. In all likelihood, we will never know the extent of the damage that sleep deprivation causes with emotional imbalance.
Lack of sleep puts a lot of stress on our bodies. For one, cortisol levels rise and so does our weight. Weight gain can also lead to other problems such as heart disease and diabetes.
If you are sleep deprived, you may also find that you have many more cases of illness such as the flu. Sleep deprivation makes us more prone to catching every ‘bug’ that comes along. It’s not just that we are getting older and more vulnerable.
Research shows that women are more sleep deprived than men. So, if you are a woman, you may feel that you need to be ‘superwoman’ to take care of family and work responsibilities. However, if you are not getting enough sleep, you really don’t have the capability to accomplish what you would like to. Try getting enough sleep, for you, for the next month. Keep track of your days, how you feel and how much you accomplish. You may find that you are able to do a lot more, do it better and still have a little energy left over instead of feeling like you have been run over by a truck every day.
For all of us, it is imperative that we get enough sleep. Just resting will not do the job. Our bodies need that sleep time to be able to function optimally. Your life is involved and so are the lives of others. When living your life and, especially, when driving on the highway, these are the lives that may be saved.