To many of us, lengthy and good quality sleep isn't a priority. There are just too many things to do in a day to spend too much time sleeping. However, did you know sleep deprivation has more negative effects than how rested or how you feel the next day? It has effects on everything from mental clarity to long-term neurological health. Below are five effects of sleep deprivation on mental health.
1. Lack of Concentration
The National Sleep Foundation in the US acknowledges that lack of sleep leads to an inability to focus, which leads to poor performance in school or work. It also makes us more forgetful, that's because brain cell connections are developed during sleep. It’s during this time that memories are made because the brain stores them as long-term information but without enough sleep, your memory suffers because brain cell connections aren't given enough time to develop.
2. Worsened Motor Performance
Occupational and environmental medicine published a study in the year 2000 on the effects of sleep deprivation on motor performance. The researchers from the University of New South Wales found 17 to 19 hours without sleep leads to a drop in motor performance comparable with people who were intoxicated with alcohol.
3. Increased Risk of Depression
According to an article published by Harvard Health publishing, mental health and sleep are strongly linked. People who have insomnia and other sleep disorders are at a higher risk for depression, anxiety and other similar conditions. Additionally, research has shown that treating sleep disorder often improves the accompanying mental health issue.
4. Slower Reaction Time
In 2011, researchers from Stanford University's Sleep Disorders Clinic and research laboratory led a study on how sleep affects the performance of basketball players. Obviously, optimal sleep allowed the players to exert more energy but what was more interesting however was those who slept longer and better showed improved reaction time and mental well-being.
5. Increased Risk of Alzheimer's Disease
According to a study led by researchers from the Washington University School of Medicine, lack of good quality sleep puts you at risk of Alzheimer's disease. Although the researchers are yet to fully explain why that is, they found that the answer partially lies with tau; brain proteins that damage brain cells when present in elevated levels.
These effects of sleep deprivation on mental health should be enough to show you just how important it is to get a good sleep. Sleep is your superpower. But remember it’s also one of the sacrifices to make in order to become rich. A recommended read after this one.
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