Are You Sleep Deprived?
It Could be Affecting Your Decisions in a Very Bad Way
© 2021 Health Realizations, Inc. Update
Do you know anyone with a newborn baby? Or a loved one who has said they just can’t get to sleep at night? This article could be very much appreciated by someone with challenges sleeping.
About 11 percent of Americans are sleep deprived, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey. After surveying nearly 404,000 adults, just 31 percent said they got enough sleep every night for the past month. Most fell somewhere in the middle of the spectrum between well-rested and utterly sleep deprived.
Eleven percent of Americans could have trouble making snap decisions because they’re not getting enough sleep.
Further, among people who were unable to work, nearly 26 percent said they had not had even one good night’s sleep in the prior 30 days, along with nearly 14 percent of unemployed people.
A poll by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) found a similar trend, with nearly one-third of Americans saying they couldn’t get a good night’s sleep because of worries about the economy, money or their job.
In all, 27 percent of those polled said their sleep had been disturbed in the past month due to money problems, such as:
This lack of sleep plaguing Americans may have life-threatening repercussions in their ability to make quick decisions when under pressure.
Your Ability to Think Quickly is Threatened by Sleep Deprivation
A study published in an issue of Sleep examined how sleep deprivation affected information-integration, a process that relies on making instant, gut-feeling decisions.
Quick thinking is crucial to a number of professions, including military officers, firefighters and police officers, as well as anyone needing to think quickly when faced with a threatening situation that calls for instant action.
After following 49 U.S. military cadets and analyzing their ability to perform information-integration tasks while either well rested or sleep deprived, researchers found that even moderate sleep deprivation caused an immediate loss of information-integration abilities. Specifically, accuracy of the information-integration tasks declined by 2.4 percent when the cadets who were sleep deprived improved by 4.3 percent when they were well rested. The researchers wrote:
“The findings suggest that the neural systems underlying information-integration strategies are not strongly affected by sleep deprivation but, rather, that the use of an information-integration strategy in a task may require active inhibition of rule-based strategies, with this inhibitory process being vulnerable to the effects of sleep deprivation.”
What Else is Impacted When You Don’t Get Enough Sleep?
Sleep is an essential element of survival, and without it many of your body’s functions will fall apart. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), while rats normally live for two to three years, those deprived of all sleep only live about three weeks, and those deprived of REM sleep (the stage of sleep when we dream and during which it's thought brain regions used in learning are stimulated) survive only about five weeks on average.
At the same time, the rats developed abnormally low body temperatures and sores on their tails and paws. Researchers believe the sores indicate a sluggish immune system and suggest just how detrimental sleep deprivation can be to the immune system of humans.
Further, according to the Sleep Council, insufficient sleep could:
Make you fat. People who sleep four hours a night or less are 73 percent more likely to be overweight than those who sleep enough. Even if you sleep less than six hours a night, you're 25 percent more likely to be overweight than those who sleep longer.
Increase your appetite (also causing you to gain weight). Research by University of Bristol researchers found that people who slept for five hours had 15 percent more of a hormone called ghrelin, which increases appetite, than those who slept for eight hours. Meanwhile, the short sleepers also had 15 percent less leptin, which is a hormone that suppresses appetite.
Mimic the aging process. In fact, University of Chicago researchers found that sleeping for four hours a night for less than seven nights interferes with your ability to process and store carbs, and regulate hormone levels -- all of which may lead to aging.
Impact your brain. According to Canadian sleep expert Stanley Coren, you lose one IQ point for every hour of lost sleep you didn't get the night before.
Sleep Better by Reading Before Going to Sleep or Listen to Soothing Music
Further, an NSF poll found 54 percent of adults, which amounts to a potential 110 million licensed drivers, have driven when drowsy at least once in the past year, and 28 percent said they have nodded off or fallen asleep while driving. The obvious repercussions of this could be increased motor vehicle accidents and a major public safety problem.
Secrets to a Sound Night’s Sleep
If you've been sleep deprived for several days, you will create a "sleep debt" that will need to be repaid, meaning that you'll need to sleep longer than usual just to function normally and feel rested.
Here are 17 tips that will help you to not only fall asleep, but ensure your night's sleep is peaceful and fully restorative:
Small amounts of light in your bedroom can interfere with a sound night's sleep. Consider installing black-out drapes or wearing an eye mask to block out the light.
And Now for Six Sleep Tips You May Not Know Of …
Oxford: Sleep Deprivation
National Sleep Foundation: Helping Yourself to a Good Night's Sleep
National Sleep Foundation
The Sleep Council