Sleep deprivation, the overall lack of the necessary amount of sleep, afflicts 47 million adults in the United States, ScienceDaily.com says.
Sleep deprivation can be caustic to a person’s physical and emotional health. Sleep is the foundation of good health.
The amount of sleep a person needs depends on factors such as age. According to WebMD.com, infants need 16 hours a day, teenagers need about nine hours on average, and most adults need seven to eight hours a night.
For adults the amount of hours needed per night varies. Some may need only five hours while others need 10 hours a day.
Women in the first three months of pregnancy need more hours of sleep than usual.
According to experts, a sign that you haven’t had much sleep is drowsiness throughout the day.
The consequences of sleep deprivation include: depression, increase in acuity of pain, memory troubles and a waning of the immune system.
Sleep loss also creates what WebMD.com identifies as sleep debt. Eventually a person’s body demands that the ‘debt’, or sleep, be repaid.
The body doesn’t really adapt to sleep deprivation. A person’s judgment and reaction time are still impaired even if one is used to getting less sleep than he or she needs.
Sleep deprivation is hazardous, especially when driving. Those with sleep deprivation drive as badly as or worse than those who are intoxicated.
Sleep deprivation intensifies alcohol’s effects on the body, WebMD.com says.
A tired person will become more impaired after drinking.
Signs that you are too sleepy to drive include: trouble focusing your eyes, incessant yawning and loss of memory of the last few miles, the National Sleep foundation says.
Sleep deprivation has been associated with the development of diseases like obesity, diabetes and hypertension.
In July 2012, sleep deprivation was linked to physical stress, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Severe sleep loss jolts the immune system into action and according to a new study, this is similar to the response shown during exposure to stress.