Sleep deprivation hinders cognitive functions

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sleepingI would like to ask you a question?  What is your typical sleeping schedule?  I asked the same question to many of my friends and I got almost the same answer.  Usually, they ended up sleeping less on the weekdays and slept more on the weekend to charge their batteries.  The corporate life has, especially life in big cities like New York has become so busy that the sleeping schedule is mostly disturbed. Many people are deprived of sleep and a living under what is called as sleep deprivation. 

 

I read an article on sleep deprivation and found that you can not get rid of sleep debit by simply sleeping late on Saturday or Sunday.  There have been many studies on sleep deprivation, let us take a closer look at the main observations:

 

What is the recommended duration of sleep?

The recommended amount of sleep per day varies with age. Children should sleep more, between 9 hrs to 11 hrs. and adults should take minimum 8 hours of sleep. The graph represents the average time of sleep in adults.

 

sleep-graph

 

cognitiveWhat are the main studies and results on sleep deprivation?

Walter Reed Army Institute of Research:  A study was conducted by this institute in 2003, in which, cognitive effects of a week of poor sleep were studied.  These sleep deprived groups were asked to sleep for at least eight hours a night for three days in a row.  It was found that the sleep deprivation did not fully recover or reverse the decline in performance.  The performance was measured by reaction times and other psychomotor tasks, especially for groups who were forced to sleep only three or five hours a night.



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Karolinska Institute in Stockholm:  A study was conducted by this institute in 2008, in which, study groups slept for four hours a night over five days and then slept eight hours a night over the following week.  The group did not report sleepiness, but scientist found that signs of sleep deprived behavior were still present as the study group exhibited slight cognitive impairments a week later.  

 

brainIs there a way to fully recover your body?

Well, the simplest way is to get sufficient sleep every night.  But, if you know ahead that you will have a busy week, then according to another study conducted by Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, people who slept 10 hours a night a week before the “hectic” week, recovered much faster.  I am still wondering, how can you store the energy a week ahead that you are in better shape by oversleep ahead of hectic days.  Though it does not seem intuitive, I think it’s worth a try.

 

If you are having regular sleep disorder than you can use some tips to deal with insomnia.  But, if you are sleep deprived because of your hectic schedule, you might need many extra nights of sleep.  I found the results of the studies are interesting, especially that cognitive and physiological consequences of poor sleep take much longer time to heal than anticipated.  I look at it as borrowing money from bank, where you end up paying more because of the interest.  On the other hand, if you have saved enough money, you may be able to comfortably use it when you need it. 

 

Healthy Sleeping!!

 

 

4 Responses

  1. I’ve used the method of sleeping more the week prior to a very busy week multiple times. It works great. I even have enough energy at the end of the day to go to the gym.
    Coffee also helps, but the crash sometimes sucks.

  2. Great method. Works for me and my mom!

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