What Is Sleep Deprivation?

Although scientists have a better understanding than ever of why humans need sleep, along with all mammals, reptiles and birds,  the exact reasons are still somewhat unclear. What is  known is that when a person abstains from sleep for a significant amount of time, many of their body’s functions and faculties begin to become impaired. Anyone who’s skipped a night’s sleep or only caught a couple of hours before rising for work knows the effects of sleep deprivation all too well. Just a few are:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Feelings of extreme physical fatigue
  • Difficulty remembering simple details and facts
  • Decreased hand-eye coordination
  • Compromised decision making abilities
  • Slower reaction times

And the effects of extreme sleep deprivation are even more severe:

  • Feelings of depression
  • Extreme feelings of anxiety and irritability
  • Slurred speech
  • Hypertension—a.k.a. high blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Physical tremors

These lists of negative effects are not given to worry you, though, but rather to emphasize how crucial it is that we all sleep for the right number of hours each night, untroubled by interruptions and insomnia.

So let’s continue by looking at exactly what the sleep we get each night, or fail to get, comprises of and learn about the different stages of sleep including REM sleep or ‘Rapid Eye Movement‘.

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