Sleep Deprivation: The Lasting Effects Sleep is as important to the body as eating healthy and staying hydrated. Sleep has a lot of positive results on the body like for example it helps with muscle growth, tissue repair, protein synthesis, and growth hormone release, all which can only occur during sleep.
Other rejuvenating aspects of sleep are specific to the brain and cognitive functions. Studies have shown that after people sleep they tend to retain information better which helps with memory tasks. Without sleep or the lack of a significant amount of sleep the body cannot function to its fullest potential.
The body then struggles with the task of performing everyday activities. So it is important to sleep. The leading side effect of sleep deprivation is sleepiness, which causes the body to continuously yawn uncontrollably and leaves the body feeling sluggish or without energy. Sleep deprivation affects the central nervous system which makes it difficult to concentration. It’s also difficult to learn new things because the body just does not have the energy.
Similarly, it changes the bodies’ decision making process and causes a lack of creativity. Their emotions are also affected, resulting in a short temper and mood swings. The previously stated side effects are just the just the beginning of sleep deprivation which occur within the central nervous system. Some long term effects that occur within the central nervous system are hallucinations, impulsive behavior, depression, paranoia, and suicidal thoughts. (Pietrangelo) Both the immune system and respiratory system are altered as well. Normally while sleeping the body is creating protective cytokines, infection-fighting antibodies, and cells. When the body is sleep deprived it does not have the time to create these, which affects the respiratory system causing the body to be prone to illness such as the cold and flu.
It also causes the body to take longer to heal, because the body doesn’t have the energy for the quick recovery. Long-term sleep deprivation raises the risk of developing chronic illnesses like diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. (Ann Pietrangelo) Also the digestive and cardiovascular systems are affected. Studies have shown that a lack of sleep and weight gain can be connected due to an increase in the production of the cortisol, a stress hormone, and raises the levels of a biochemical called ghrelin, which is an appetite stimulant. . Also, a decrease in the production of the hormone leptin, which tells the body that it has had enough to eat. Sleep deprivation is one of the leading factors of obesity and it can also put the body at a risk of developing type 2 diabetes. (Ann Pietrangelo) A common side effect of not getting enough sleep is microsleep which is when the body uncontrollably falls asleep for a few seconds or minutes at a time and as these microsleeps are occurring the person will be unaware of it.
Microsleep is extremely dangerous especially while being behind the wheel of a vehicle or in control of a machine. Microsleep has been linked to accidents involving cars, ships, airplanes, and even nuclear reactor meltdowns. The idea that a person should sleep at least 8 hours a night to be able to operate at full potential isn’t necessarily true. In today’s working society it is hard for people to be able to have that 8 hours of sleep.
People have learned to adapt to sleeping less while still being able to operate their bodies at a high enough level to get through their day. Also, there are advances that allow people to get by with less sleep like coffee, soda, energy drinks such as “Monster” and “Redbull” and of course there are pills that can be taken to help with the tiredness. But this isn’t a healthy or recommended lifestyle to live by. This way of living may be successful for a while but the long term effects on the body can be negative and could potentially be life threatening. It is facts that the body needs the sleep to be healthy.
Also, the advances that are used to counter sleep can be harmful to the body especially the energy drinks that contain way too much caffeine and the pill which can become addicting. But the list of health problems that can result from these advances go on and on. So the bottom line is sleep is extremely important and the advances may help but they shouldn’t be overused. Sleep is extremely important to the body; it helps with muscle growth, tissue repair, protein synthesis, and growth hormone release, which mostly only occur during sleep. Lack of sleep affects everyone differently, some people are more prone to staying up all day and only needing a few hours of sleep, while others need at least the recommended 8 hours of sleep if not more to perform at 100%. The side effects of sleep deprivation are impaired brain activity, yawning, cognitive dysfunction, memory problems, moodiness, hallucinations, depression, microsleep, accident prone, weakened immune response, cold and flu, weight gain, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Although it is common for people to not always get the exact amount of sleep every single day it will be okay.
The long term effects of sleep deprivation can be deadly. The bottom line is making sure that the body gets the appropriate amount of sleep needed to function at 100% every day.