The Dangers of Sleep Deprivation


The Dangers of Sleep Deprivation

sleep deprivation

What Is Sleep Deprivation?

Lack of sleep results in a reduction of emotional intelligence and critical thinking skills. There are two types of sleep deprivation: total and partial. Total deprivation causes your body to use more energy, which increases the metabolism and can cause weight loss. However, partial sleep deprivation shows to have the opposite effect. Partial deprivation leads to increased body mass, a.k.a. weight gain. Partial sleep deprivation is more common and more difficult to measure, as an adequate night’s sleep varies on a person-by-person basis.

Stages of Sleep Deprivation

After one night of no sleep, people will be irritable and perhaps clumsier, as well as tired. They may experience adrenaline, and they may also speed up due to the extra energy. After the second night, the person will start messing up on normal daily tasks, as their concentration will be impaired. After the third night, the person’s reality will become hazy, and they will begin to hallucinate. Lack of sleep increases the body’s levels of inflammation. Inflammation is linked to an increased risk of illnesses like heart disease and cancer. The stress hormone cortisol increases, and metabolism slows with partial deprivation. Furthermore, sleep deprived people display higher levels of risk taking behavior. Math and language skills suffer, as well as emotional recognition and control.

Affects on Attention

The capacity for sustained attention reduces after suffering from sleep debt. In short, your working memory shrinks. Scientists have broken down the working memory into two parts: verbal working memory and visual working memory. You are able to recall information you hear or read due to verbal working memory. On the other hand, visual working memory is limited in even well rested minds. When you are at your healthiest, your brain decides which objects to put into your visual working memory in order to produce the best outcome. Think of this as the cognitive process your brain goes through when taking a test. Total sleep deprivation hinders the cognitive function of visual working memory, while both total and partial deprivation hinder verbal memory. Your brain is not as equipped to ignore unimportant stimuli, and therefore gets cluttered.


Getting enough sleep is important to your weight, memory, and overall health. Speak with your doctor if you are having trouble getting enough sleep!

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