It seems like it’s been years since I’ve had two nights in a row with a good eight hours of sleep. Apparently, this is a common problem for many of us, so I assumed there would be plenty of information to be found on this topic and I wasn’t disappointed. One of the articles I came across was this one from Wikipedia on Sleep Deprivation.
This article details many different symptoms known or at least thought to be caused by a chronic lack of a sufficient amount of sleep. This list contains some that we would normally suspect, like daytime sleepiness and irritability, but what about ADHD-like symptoms, memory loss, and psychosis? A cause of diabetes? This list is frankly alarming.
How many of you deal with symptoms like some of those on these lists? How about aching joints and having trouble concentrating? The article cites a statistic saying that “tens of millions of adults are affected each year.” I don’t doubt this at all, but I would suspect that in the United States and other Western countries the numbers are even higher than this.
Here’s an article discussing just how much sleep you really need. There’s a chart in the article that says an adult should get between 7 and 9 hours sleep each night. I have to admit that’s quite a bit more than I’ve been getting for some time.
There is also a discussion of the basal sleep need (that 7-9 hours for adults) versus the sleep debt accumulated by not getting enough sleep. It says that this sleep debt can cause you to still have sleep deprivation symptoms even after you’ve started getting enough sleep again.
I suspect that many of us feel overwhelmed, exhausted, stressed, and even depressed because of a number of factors. While many of these factors can be out of our immediate control, sleep deprivation could be one that we can do something about. With so many symptoms that can affect our daily lives and productivity, it pays to make sleep a priority in our lives and not just something that happens after everything else is done.