Frank Salvatore
Health and Lifestyle

Negative Effects of Sleep Deprivation

May 1, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Many people do not get sufficient sleep that their bodies need in order to function at an optimal level. So, what happens when you try to keep your body running without giving it the proper rest and fuel? Your health suffers both physically and emotionally, and the effects of this can pour over into your personal and professional life.

Exhaustion May Lead to Short Tempers

If you find that some of your co-workers are quick to anger, it may be due to a lack of sleep, even if just for one night. Studies on employees have revealed that employees admit to acting rudely towards others and bending company rules when they have not gotten enough sleep. This is especially true in employees who already do not put enough value on moral traits.

A poor night’s sleep may make it easier for those who already do not have high moral standards to display unacceptable behaviors. This may be because people lose a bit of self-control when they are tired, which makes them act selfishly.

Children’s Behavior and Lack of Sleep

Of course, children tend to act out if they are tired, but research has suggested that not getting enough sleep in early childhood can have an effect on one’s behavior as they get older.

Researchers have found that the sleep children get between the ages of 3 and 4 years old affects them later on in life. Without enough sleep during these formative years, by age 7, these children have lower scores on their overall function and general behavior.

For children to get high-quality sleep, it is important to provide them with a solid bedtime routine that does not involve TVs or smartphones. It is also important to help them wind down with a bedtime story or another relaxing activity.

Skipping Sleep to Get More Accomplished is Likely Counterproductive

Sleep deprivation takes a heavy toll on one’s health, raising the risk of obesity, chronic disease, and premature death, which costs the U.S. economy over $400 billion each year in lost productivity. If you choose to work late into the night instead of getting sleep, you will probably be unproductive the next day, which will counteract your efforts of staying awake.

Some professions, such as being a law enforcement agent, require long shifts with hours that extend late into the night, disrupting the circadian rhythms and causing sleep deficiency. This can also have a strong effect on one’s safety and their ability to do their job functions.

Studies have even shown that those who experience insomnia symptoms are twice as likely to leave a career due to health-related disorders than those who get sufficient sleep. People with insomnia may experience the following symptoms when trying to have a successful career:

  • Elevated risk of accident
  • Excessive absenteeism
  • Reduced productivity
  • Lack of progression or promotion
  • Lower job satisfaction

Sleep Deprivation Increases Risk-Taking and Affects Decision-Making

The pre-frontal cortex, which influences risk-taking and social behaviors, is impacted by sleep deprivation. Sleep loss also affects one’s ability to make sound decisions. Research has shown that people who lose sleep two nights in a row and then have two full nights of sleep still performed relatively poorly on a decision-making test, suggesting that you can not “catch up” on lost sleep.

The studies show that sleep deprivation is especially problematic for people who are trying to make a decision that involves uncertainty or an unexpected change. This is important for understanding and managing cognitive impairment due to insomnia in careers involving emergency response, military operations, disaster management, and other dynamic settings that have uncertain outcomes or unexpected last minute changes.

Is it Worth it to Lose Sleep?

Losing quality sleep has a significant impact on not only your mental health, but also your overall wellness. There are many health benefits to developing proper sleep habits and staying consistent with it every night. So, how should you improve your sleep? There are several steps you can take if you are not getting the sleep that you want or need.

If you’re having trouble sleeping, start to track your sleeping patterns to see what outside factors really have an impact on you. Also, avoid exposure to screens several hours before bedtime. The blue light that is emitted by screens reduces the melatonin that your body is able to create.

Make sure to get sun exposure that is in line with your circadian rhythm. This means exposing your skin to bright sunlight during the day and then shielding yourself from light at night. If you are in the dark all day, your body will not be able to tell the difference between day and night, and it will not regulate your melatonin production.

Keep your bedroom temperature below 70 degrees F. Studies show that many people keep their homes too warm for optimal sleep and the best room temperature for quality sleep is between 60 and 68 degrees F.

Do something calming before bed such as taking a hot bath. This will send a signal to your brain that it is time to wind down.

Finally, avoid using jolting alarm clocks. Being woken up in an abrasive way each morning starts your day off with stress. Once you begin to get enough quality sleep, you will likely not need an alarm and wake up naturally.

Getting quality sleep should be a priority in people’s health. The body needs that time to restore and heal itself to prepare you for the challenges that come along with the following day.

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Frank Salvatore