Some pitfalls of sleep deprivation
Sleep deprivation is no stranger to the average college student. Several credit hours coupled with extra-curricular activities, parties, and procrastination leads to little or no sleep for many nights. It is no surprise that people are groggy and cranky after a night without sleep, but new studies show that a habit of sleep deprivation can pose long-term negative consequences on academics, careers, and health.
According to a research study from the University of Pennsylvania, people who are sleep-deprived consistently fare worse on memory exams. Researchers gave subjects memory exams after sleeping different amounts every night. Subjects had the best results when they slept nine hours. A few or no hours of sleep showed the lowest results, but after taking a nap, subjects’ scores returned the same level as when they slept nine hours. Hence, catching up on sleep after a single night will restore one’s memory back to normal, but constant sleep deprivation can lead to memory loss. In fact, a separate study conducted by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital suggests that those who have bad sleep habits might be prone to Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia, which interferes with memory, thinking, and behavior in patients. In late stages of the disease, patients begin to lose their personality and forget many events in their life. In addition, cardiovascular problems, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and obesity, are also related to sleeping habits. These cardiovascular problems are more prevalent in adults with bad sleep habits as adolescents, according to a study at SickKids Hospital in Ontario, Canada.
A good night’s sleep, every night, is more significant than many realize. Scientists recommend between 8.5 and 9.5 hours of sleep every night. However, the difficulty of upper-level education, the workload of many professions, and increasingly busy lifestyles makes it difficult for many to make sleep a priority. However, what people need to keep in mind is the impact that forgoing sleep now may have later in their lives. An increase in awareness and realization that good sleep habits will lead to a healthier life is key to a healthier country and a healthier world.