How much sleep do you need every night? The National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke noted that most adults need seven to eight hours a night, though some people may need as little as five hours while others may need as many as 10 hours a day.
But what happens if you do not get enough sleep at night?
Sleep deprivation can have significant effects on your health and your daily functioning. It can even be dangerous!
For example, in a study looking at sleep deprivation in a driving simulator, researchers found that individuals who did not get enough sleep had just as bad or worse hand-eye coordination results compared to individuals who were intoxicated, according to the National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Sleep deprivation may impair your reaction time as well.
Getting a good night’s sleep can help you consolidate recently learned information, but what happens if you stay up all night studying? You might not do as well on that test!
Sleep deprivation can affect not only your memory, but cause problems with your attention, math calculations, judgment and decision-making skills.
You may also make errors of omission — in which you make a mistake by forgetting to do a task — or errors of commission — in which you make a mistake by choosing the wrong option.
Lack of sleep may affect your work output. Sleep deprivation may alter mood as well, causing moodiness, irritability and impatience. Besides affecting social interactions, altered mood may also interfere in your ability to learn new information.
Not getting enough sleep can affect your physical health as well. For example, Harvard Medical School stated that sleep deprivation can negatively impact your body’s immune system, and sleep disorders are connected with irregular heartbeat, hypertension and increased levels of stress hormones.
If you are trying to lose weight or keep the weight off, not getting enough sleep may be setting you back. Chronic sleep deprivation affects how your body both processes and store the carbohydrates you consume.
So how do you know if you are sleep deprived?