Nothing is more important than getting enough sleep. When your alarm clock goes off in the morning and your body reacts by knocking it to the ground and rolling over to fall back into a deep sleep, chances are good that you’re sleep deprived. If you had the choice and you know you’d choose not to have to get up at 7 AM every morning, then you’re quite likely not getting enough rest.
How Widespread is Sleep Deprivation?
The fact is that according to studies, about fifty percent of us don’t get the amount of sleep that we should get. The National Sleep Foundation has found that there are some very important issues which are related to getting enough rest. There are also some very important consequences that the body pays when we are deprived of sleep. The question is, how much sleep is enough?
According to the NSF, there is no real set number of hours that people should be sleeping every night. Some people require more and others will require less to function at peak efficiency. The key is to listen to your body. If you are consistently tired, and constantly under-performing the chances are very good that sleep deprivation is a problem for you.
Your body will tell you when it is tired and it’s your task to listen. Your basal sleep requirements are quite likely between 6 hours and 9 hours per night. You will have circadian rhythm changes, such as being more tired in the afternoon or in the middle of the night. You should be listening to those changes and ensuring that your body is getting the rest that it requires.
While the mechanics of sleep are not completely understood, everyone agrees that it is one of the most important processes in the body. Cellular renewal takes place during sleep, the body replaces muscle tissue and helps to heal or regrow dead cells. REM sleep, that deeper sleep which is restorative in nature is required every day and if you go more than a day or two without adequate amounts, you build up a sleep debt that has to be paid.
What Can Sleep Deprivation Do?
The short term effects of sleep deprivation can cause mood swings, irritability, drowsiness and even loss of memory. That’s just a few hours after sleep deprivation kicks in. Long term sleep deprivation can cause nausea, vomiting, hallucinations and even manic episodes. In both long term and short term sleep deprivation, you’re getting diminished physical capacity too. Glucose metabolism occurs and the body is unable to use the food that it is taking in. You’ll also find that you can be much more susceptible to infection and illness.
All of which adds up to the fact that getting enough sleep is imperative. Determine what is the right amount of sleep for you. If its 6 hours or 8 hours, or even 10 hours, arrange that your body gets that amount of sleep every night or at least every other night in order for you to work at your best in work and at play.
If you find that your body consistently feels tired even after a long night of uninterrupted sleep, visit your doctor and find out why.