There are so many important things to do during the day that cutting back on sleep seems like the only option. Six or seven hours of sleep may sound like the pretty good amount of sleep, but in reality, it’s a way to chronic sleep deprivation…
There are so many important things to do during the day that cutting back on sleep seems like the only option. Six or seven hours of sleep may sound like the pretty good amount of sleep, but in reality, it’s a way to chronic sleep deprivation.
Sleep is important to the human body as water and food, inadequate quality of sleep or disruption to sleep cycle have consequences how we function during the day.
A sleepy person is more likely to make mistakes and bad decisions. Staying awake for 24 hours leads to reduced hand-to-eye coordination, that is similar to having a blood alcohol content of 0.1. This is why sleep deprivation contributes to road accidents and work injuries.
Most of the signs of sleep deprivation are much more subtle. Furthermore, if you’ve made a habit of skimping on sleep, you may not even remember what it feels like to be wide-awake and fully alert. Maybe it feels normal to get sleepy when you’re in a boring meeting or dozing off after dinner, but the truth is that it’s only “normal” if you’re sleep deprived.
How to know if you are sleep deprived? The common signs are:
- Need an alarm clock to wake up on time
- Having a hard time to get out of bed in the morning
- Feel sleepy in the afternoon
- Getting sleepy in the meetings on in warm rooms
- Fall asleep while watching TV or relaxing in the evening
- Feel the need to sleep in on weekends
- Fall asleep within five minutes of going to bed
- Constant yawning
- Poor concentration and mood changes
Effects of sleep deprivation:
Sleep loss has a wide range of adverse effects and goes beyond daytime drowsiness. Lack of sleep affects your judgment, coordination, and reaction times.
The common effects are:
- Reduced immunity, frequent colds and infections
- Fatigue, lethargy, and lack of motivation
- Irritability, feeling depressed
- Lessened creativity and problem-solving
- Inability to cope with stress
- Weight gain
- Memory problems
- increased risk of accidents
- Difficulty making decisions
You may wonder how sleep loss may affect your waistline.
Two hormones in our body regulate normal feelings of hunger and fullness. Ghrelin stimulates appetite, while leptin sends signals to the brain when you are full. However, when don’t get the sleep you need, your ghrelin levels go up, stimulating your appetite, so you want more food than average, and your leptin levels go down, meaning you don’t feel satisfied and want to keep eating. So, the more sleep you lose, the more food your body will crave.
How many hours of sleep do we need?
Most of us need around eight hours of good quality sleep a night to function properly –but some need more or less, depending on the age, level of physical activity, general health, and other individual factors.
The best way to figure out if you’re meeting your sleep needs is to evaluate how you feel as you go about your day. If you’re sleeping enough hours, you’ll feel energetic and alert all day long, from the moment you wake up until your regular bedtime.
Think six hours of sleep is enough?
Think again. Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco discovered that some people have a gene that enables them to do well on six hours of sleep a night. This gene, however, is very rare, appearing in less than 3% of the population.
Newborn to 2 months old
12 – 18 Hrs
Three months to 1-year-old
14 – 15 Hrs
1 to 3 years old
12 – 14 Hrs
3 to 5 years old
11 – 13 Hrs
5 to 12 years old
10 – 11 Hrs
12 to 18 years old
8.5 – 10 Hrs
7.5 – 9 hrs
How to catch up on lost sleep?
If you don’t get enough sleep, there’s only one way to compensate – getting more sleep.
It won’t happen with a single early night. If you’ve had months of restricted sleep, you will have built up a significant sleep debt, so expect the recovery to take several weeks,
Expect to sleep for upwards of 10 hours a night, at first. After a while, the amount of time you sleep will gradually decrease to a reasonable level.
While extra sleep can give you a temporary boost (for example, you may feel great on Monday morning after a relaxing weekend), your performance and energy will drop back down as the day wears on.
- Purposely go to bed earlier each night
- Use relaxation techniques to help you fall asleep quickly
- Take a sleep vacation to pay off a long-term sleep debt
- Do not have any distractions in the bedroom such as TV or a computer
- Do not smoke or drink alcoholic or caffeinated beverages in the hour’s bedtime
- Make sleep a priority