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The Effects of Sleep Deprivation

An average person needs seven to eight hours of sleep a night, but many people don’t even come close and they eventually start feeling the effects of sleep deprivation.

In 1910, before the invention of the light bulb, an average person would sleep 9 hours every night.  On average people sleep 500 hours less each year since the light bulb was invented.  An average person needs 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night, but many people don’t even come close and they eventually start feeling the effects of sleep deprivation.

Symptoms of sleep deprivation are tiredness, irritability, edginess, inability to tolerate stress, problems with concentration and memory, behavioral, learning and social problems, frequent infections, blurred vision, vague discomfort, alterations in appetite, hallucinations, paranoia, slurred speech and activity intolerance.

Sleep problems are almost always present in mental disorders and the symptoms are influenced by the amount of sleep.  Other effects of sleep deprivation are memory loss, weight fluctuations, sleep paralysis, weakened immune system, high blood pressure, lowered libido, less interest in sex and even death.  Sleep deprivation increases the risks of traffic accidents, work accidents, cardiovascular disease and obesity.

The causes of sleep deprivation are not allowing enough time for sleep, sleep disorders, excessive worry, depression, waking up repeatedly from noises or trips to the bathroom, anything that causes insomnia or poor quality of sleep like chronic illnesses and disabling conditions, medications that interfere with sleep and lack of exercise. 

INTERESTING FACTS

According to the National Sleep Research Project, the longest period without sleep is 18 days, 21 hours and 40 minutes.

Humans can survive longer without food than they can without sleep.

New parents miss an average of six months of sleep during the first two years of the child’s life.

There are at least 84 identified sleep/wake disorders.

Over 70 million Americans suffer from a sleep disorder.

 

SOURCES:

Victoria Plummer, 5 Effects of Sleep Deprivation, Discovery Fit and Health

Brandon Peters, M.D., Can Sleep Deprivation Cause Your Death?, About.com

60 Eye-Opening Facts about Sleep, RandomFacts.com

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