A lot of people suffer from sleep deprivation but are unaware of the effects it has on one’s health. Sleep deprivation, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, is when a person gets inadequate amount of sleep. Adults usually need about eight hours of sleep at night, while on the average teens need nine hours and children need more than nine hours, depending on the age.
There are several causes of sleep deprivation. One major cause of unintentional and chronic sleep deprivation is the presence of sleep disorders such as insomnia or sleep apnea. For other individuals, the lack of sleep is a result of some medications which they take to treat other disorders like epilepsy and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Moreover, sleep deprivation may be a consequence of other illnesses which includes colds or tonsillitis. As a consequence of these illnesses, an individual may suffer from snoring, gagging and frequent waking, all of which disrupts sleep.
Aside from medical causes, sleep deprivation may also be a consequence of the occupation of a person. Some jobs require a shifting in schedules which may disrupt the sleep and wake cycle of individuals; thus, resulting in erratic sleeping patterns. An example of an individual whose job may cause sleep deprivation is the flight attendant. The changes in the time zones make it difficult for them to adjust their sleeping habits. But more than the changes in time zones, another common cause of sleep deprivation is stress related to work. Problems in the work place often take its toll in the sleeping habits of people.
Lastly. poor sleeping habits result in sleep deprivation. Sometimes, it would take a change in the lifestyle of a person to prevent sleep deprivation. A lifestyle characterized by drinking coffee before bedtime, partying all night, watching television or reading a book until the wee hours of the night, are perfect components for sleep deprivation.
Many people ignore the problem of sleep deprivation thinking that it is harmless. However, studies have shown that a lack of sleep may result in some very serious health issues. The most obvious and immediate effect of sleep deprivation is excessive daytime sleepiness. This effect is a safety hazard because the end result of this may be drowsy driving and workplace injuries. Furthermore, inadequate sleep has a damaging effect on a person in that it affects his moods and work performance. Children who are sleep-deprived usually perform poorly in school because they have a hard time concentrating.
In the long run, some of the possible health conditions that may develop because of sleep deprivation are high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, kidney disease and depression.
Sleep deprivation should be viewed as an important health issue. Like food and water, sleep is vital for the human body to function well. Getting adequate quality sleep should not be taken for granted. Some of its causes are very much within the control of an individual. If a person wants to stay healthy, he must make sure that he gets the necessary amount of sleep fit for his age and health status. Adequate sleep is vital for one’s physical, mental and overall well-being.
American Academy of Sleep Medicine. "Sleep deprivation." 2008. aasmnet.org. Web. 23 June 2014 <http://www.aasmnet.org/resources/factsheets/sleepdeprivation.pdf>.