Regardless whether you consider yourself a morning person or a night owl, a good night’s rest is extremely important for everyone. With midterms around the corner, students often engage in all nighters to study and completely disregard their body’s need for sleep. When people get seven or less hours of sleep, the effects can be detrimental to both their body and mind. When you are sleep deprived, your overall cognitive abilities become impaired due to your brain becoming exhausted. When people become sleep deprived, they have a lot more difficulty learning new things and both their long and short term memory are negatively affected.
A common side effect of sleep deprivation is micro sleep—when a person falls asleep for a few seconds or minutes and does not realize it. Micro sleep is completely out of people’s control if they are sleep deprived, regardless of their caffeine consumption, and can result in life threatening outcomes when driving. If people’s sleep deprivation continues long enough they are at an increased risk of experiencing hallucinations. For those previously suffering from manic depression, sleep deprivation is also known to trigger mania. Other mental risks include depression, paranoia, and even suicidal thoughts.
Sleep is also necessary for a person’s immune systems to properly function. When people are sleep deprived their body will become more susceptible to catching viruses, developing respiratory problems, and will take longer to recover from illness. If you are sleep deprived for a long enough time, you are at a higher risk of developing chronic diseases, such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Some studies have found that sleep deprivation is also associated with weight gain, and a higher risk for obesity. So before you decide to pull an all nighter for that exam, remember that your health and safety needs to come first!
If you believe that you or a loved one is suffering from chronic sleep deprivation, the psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling can help you. Contact our Bergen County, NJ or Manhattan offices respectively at (201)-368-3700 or (212)-722-1920 to set up an appointment.
Visit http://www.acenterfortherapy.com for more information.
By: Margalit I. Herzfeld