Sleep is one of the most underrated functions of life. We all want to make the most of each day, but it's easy to take on too much and become over whelmed. Forfeiting sleep is a common method for making up time spent. The lack of sleep from burning the candle at both ends, will eventually catch up to us and lead to our demise. When I was younger, I had no problem staying up partying til the early hours of the morning. I was usually a zombie at work the next day, with limited motor cortex skills. I was only able to keep my job by subconsciously training myself through repetition to complete the necessary tasks to function. This auto pilot mentality was fun for a few years and definitely made for some great stories, but it's not a way to live life.
Long Term Effects of Sleep Deprivation
Regular sleep apnea can also have long term affects as mention in the New York Times: "sleep scientists at the University of Chicago found that those who suffer from an accumulated sleep debt may develop serious health problems, including obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure." Also mentioned in the New York Times article was Dr. Van Cauter quote "We found that an accumulated sleep debt is potentially as detrimental to health as poor nutrition or a sedentary lifestyle. It may be as bad as smoking."
Short Term Effects of Sleep Deprivation
There are also severe dangers of the short term effects of sleep deprivation. The Franklin Institute published an article stating "One complete night of sleep deprivation is as impairing in simulated driving tests as a legally intoxicating blood-alcohol level."
When you are living on auto pilot, it is more difficult for your brain to retain information. It can be hard to remember sequential digits like a phone number, address, or dollar amounts. It can also be tricky to remember names, directions, or auditory commands. This state of futility will last until the deprived sleep is regained, and is cumulative in nature.
Getting a good night sleep is an important aspect of efficient living. It will allow you to think clearly, live healthy, and maintain higher levels of energy. It is important to try to get at least 8 hours of sleep each night. If you only get 7 hours one night, try going to bed the next night an hour earlier to catch up. It is amazing how much better you feel when you get 8 hours of sleep on a regular basis.
I can already hear my readers saying "it must be nice to get 8 hours of sleep a night, but I'm to busy. I can't afford to sleep that much." The truth is that you can't afford not to sleep that much. Try an experiment and get at least 8 hours of sleep every night for one week. See how much more productive you are, and I promise you will wonder how you ever survived on less.
Feel free to comment how your experiment goes and the results.