We all know how it looks like to spend at least one night without sleep. But in this article we will try to explain some basic things about sleep and lack of sleep impact on our life, especially impact on our health and academic achievement.
Sleep is natural rest in humans as well as in animals. It is not just biological need but also physiological. Sleep is necessary for both, physical and physiological health and it is necessary for survival, it is essential. When we sleep we have reduced voluntary body movement, we are unconscious, we are not responding at external stimulation, anabolism is increased and catabolism is decreased. Sleep is state of healing and body growth, it has great impact on anabolic/catabolic cycle, also many scientists believe that sleeping is main thing when talking about memory processing. Sleep also has much more function than these we mentioned. Those we know and those we don’t.
Factors that affect sleep
There are numerous factors that can affect our sleep and cause sleepiness. For sleepiness we can say that it is a tendency for a person to fall asleep. Sleepiness is directly linked with amount of time since we had our last sleep and the amount of sleep we had when we slept last time. If we hadn’t have enough sleep in the last couple of nights that means that we have some sort of sleep debt and we can rid of that debt only in one way-by sleeping. We also feel sleepiness in the certain period of the day-for example in the early afternoon, and that is happening because of the human biological clock. That is why we often find easier to sleep in the early afternoon than in the early evening, especially children and adolescents feel that. Many people experienced that staying in night clubs and other crowded and noisy places can mask our sleepiness. But that can be very dangerous because many people after that can experience microsleep(our brain shuts off for a couple of seconds) and that can occur when driving or in other situations which requires full attention.
or it can occur in stressed time of your life. Studies have shown that tens of millions of people suffer from sleep deprivation each year.Generally, insufficient sleep may have symptoms from the list below:
daytime drowsiness and naps;
decreased mental activity and concentration;
weakened immune system;
dark circles under the eyes;
memory lapses or loss;
slowed reaction time;
slurred and/or nonsensical speech;
Sleep deprivation can change the way our body metabolize glucose which can be one of the factors which may cause diabetes type two.
Effects on growth
It is proven that people with sleep deprivation have lower level of cortisol secretion the night after they did not had enough sleep, which is caused by lack of slow-wave sleep. Sleep deprivation has positive affect on the part of the brain that regulates stress, digestion, the immune system, mood, sex, etc. In the same time it has negative affects on growth generally.
Effect on your abilities
Certain studies have shown that people with sleep deprivation have lower abilities than people who gets enough sleep and what is more interesting sleep deprivation has affect on our body similar to affect that can cause alcoholic intoxication. For example, a person that has been wake for 17-18 hours has same abilities like person with a blood alcohol level of .05.Beside this affect on the motor skills people with sleep deprivation have higher level of stress, anxiety and depression which have their own risks to our health and abilities.
Behavior-children with less sleep than necessary show risk for daytime behavioral problems.
Health-there is strong links between amounts of sleep and increased accident and injuries and physical complaints. When talking about adolescents they are more likely to start using alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine. Generally people with lack of sleep are often response for fall-asleep automobile crashes. Lack of sleep increase risk of hypertension, diabetes, obesity, depression, heart attack, stroke and many other physical and physiological symptoms.
Mood-people with no required amount of sleep explained that they feel increased feeling of happiness and decreased feelings related with depression.
Sleep deprivation as torture
Sleep deprivation is considered to be torture. It is used like the way of interrogation, mostly prisoners. Prisoners are kept awake for several days and after total sleep deprivation they are allowed to sleep. Right after they allowed to fall asleep they are awakened and questioned. People who experienced this said that this desire for sleep is more powerful than desire for food or water. It leads to total energy lost and at the end to death.
Sleep deprivation as a treatment for depression
About 60% of patients that suffer from depression after some kind of sleep deprivation show immediately recovery with getting back at old condition after having sleep. This relapsation can be controlled by combination of sleep deprivation and antidepresive medications which suppress REM sleep.
Lack of sleep and school
Lack of sleep is common among the students because they have to go to school or on lectures in the early morning and they get less sleep than they normally would do. According to studies average student gets 7 hours of sleep instead of desirable 9, 2 hours. That lack of sleep make students less concentrated, their cognitive abilities are lower and all that leads to decreased academic achievement.
Sleep impact on learning
We need to get a quality sleep, which includes Rapid Eye Movement phase and Non Rapid Eye Movement phase, if we want to be able to learn things. Sleep directly affects cerebral changes which are responsible for learning and memory. And learning could be defined as a way of forming memory. Also studies have shown that person shows knowledge only when had more than six hours of sleep. It is explained that brain needs time to arrange new information into the right places, and without this required time information are not properly encoded into memory circuit. You could ask why we need more than six hours and not five or four? That is why our sleep has different phases and for learning and forming memories we need first, as well as last phase. The first two hours of sleep is deep sleep or slow wave sleep. In this phase memories from short time storage-hippocampus are transferred to long time storage-into the cortex, and those memories become long-term memories. After this phase, memories are transferred and our brain needs approximately two more hours to distribute these memories to different locations and networks. If we stop this process at this phase our memories will not be preserved properly.
The last two hours of night sleep that we need are spent in Rapid Eye Movement phase, the phase when we dream. This is moment when brain shuts off connection with hippocampus and it goes over and over stored memories. Repeat them until they are learned properly. It is more than obvious that we need six or more hours of sleep to learn things, and if you don’t have these six necessary hours your learning that you have done during the day is useless.
Going-to-bad-late impact on academic achievement
Studies have shown that students who go to bad late and gets up in the morning late or even those with eveningness orientation have poorer academic achievement. It is not easy to explain that but there are some of factors that could be reasons of poorer academic achievement. Those students who are going to bad late are more likely to miss the morning classes, or if they are present on morning classes they have troubles to concentrate. In most universities those important test are mostly in the morning and students who are going to bed late are not yet at their best, because this is not a good day time according to their individual circadian rhythm characteristics so they can not give the best of themselves and soon they become sleepy. Also students with this kind of habits have sleep-wake schedules irregular, because they get up much later on weekends which can also have affect on their abilities. Also it is said that students with no enough sleep are less creative, more neurotic, and psychologically maladjusted and they are tend to worry more and all these reasons can make your academic achievement poorer. In a conclusion we must say that going to bad late is not main thing that can affect your academic achievement, but it is strongly suggested that academic achievement is related to sleep and wake patterns.
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