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The Dangers of Sleep Deprivation

by Brianna Schneider, Alvernia University

Nov 20, 2019
Sleep & Health

Sleep is a critical and essential part of living. However, a lot of people cut back on sleep to compensate for other areas of their life where they feel like they need more time. For example, work, hanging out with friends and even watching television. We also often tend to blame work, school, technology, and stress for this lack of sleep. But cutting back on sleep can cause a serious risk to your health.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “…not getting enough sleep is a regular part of your routine, you may be at an increased risk for obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, coronary heart disease and stroke, poor mental health, and even early death”. These being the long term effects of not getting enough sleep but, also short term effects include feeling sleepy the next day and being more likely to be put in a bad mood such as being grumpy. Also being sleepy throughout the day increases your chances of being in a car crash since you are not as alert when you are sleepy.

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), “Young people in their teens and twenties, who are particularly susceptible to the effects of chronic sleep loss, are involved in more than half of the fall-asleep crashes on the nation’s highways each year.” These people being most susceptible to being sleep deprived should be most aware of what they could do not help themselves out by getting more sleep. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society recommend that adults aged eighteen to sixty years old should be getting seven or more hours of sleep per night to promote good health and well being.

However, even knowing the consequences of not getting enough sleep, more than a third of American adults are not regularly getting enough sleep. To keep good health it is crucial to make sure we are getting the sleep we need. There are many ways to get a better night’s sleep and following these habits may increase the amount of sleep you get in a night. According to the APA, some techniques to deal with and potentially change these sleep habits are as follows.

Try and develop a regular bedtime and try to wake up without an alarm clock. These two go hand and hand. If you develop a consistent sleep schedule, you will not only find it easier to fall asleep but also wake up. This will result in a regular sleep/wake schedule. Another technique is to minimize noise and light while you sleep. These conditions will make it easier to stay asleep without disruption. According to the CDC, removing electronic devices from the bedroom and avoiding large meals and caffeine before bed may also help you sleep better. Sleep is essential to living and we all need to make sure we are doing our best to ensure we are fulfilling the amount we should be getting.

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