Despite many past experiments that tried to prove that chronic sleep loss was safe, sleep deprivation can pose serious risks to your life. American record holder Randy Gardner, intentionally went without sleep for 264.5 hours, or 11 days and 24 minutes, in which he suffered hallucinations, moodiness, paranoia, and many other psychological effects.
Though you may not push your lack of sleep to those extremes, here are some of the psychological effects of sleep deprivation:
Sleepy brains work much harder: Sleep deprivation makes your brain less effective, causing energy to be constantly pumped into your prefrontal cortex to overcome negative effects.
Short-term memory is diminished: The task of remembering a telephone number will seem impossible, so just imagine trying to pay bills or complete a work assignment.
Long-term memory is gone: Sleep solidifies memories, giving them meaning, order, and a permanent residence in your mind. Poor sleep interrupts the process and makes it harder to learn new skills.
Attention span is non-existent: One of the greatest things about humans is our ability to maintain focus during distractions, distinguish sounds in a crowd, and concentrate on completing tasks. When you are sleep-deprived, your human super powers of attention aren’t all that you’d like them to be.
Planning isn’t easy: Sleep deprivation easily gets you stuck in loops of activity and long periods of indecisiveness. Research shows that your ability to decide when to start and stop tasks is challenged without sleep.
Automated habits take over: Since you can’t make new decisions, your habits will drive you, good or bad.
It’s open season for risky business: Sleep people consistently take risks even when it doesn’t seem like a good idea. Your ability to come up with new strategy is gone.
Brain cells are dying: Studies have found that 25% of specific brain cells die due to chronic sleep. Also, sleep deprivation causes the loss of white matter in your brain.
Welcome mania: Consistent sleep loss is bound to lead you to experience mania, as sleep deprivation has been linked to mental illness. Symptoms may include paranoia, high energy levels, hallucinations, psychosis, and more.
Car accident risk increases: Sleep loss can sneak on you as it builds up over time. Most sleep deprived people who drive, don’t realize how dangerous it is. Some studies show that sleepy driving may be worse than driving drunk.
Get a head start on keeping your brain healthy and strong by getting 7-9 hours of sleep every night. By making sleep your new best friend, you are on your way to better productivity, higher levels of optimism, a smaller waistline and keeping your doctor away. More sleep will help make you a success!