The Real Effects Of Sleep Deprivation

embedPhoto: Courtesy of FAB.com.
For most of us, sleep is a precious commodity that's often hard to come by. But, when it comes to being productive, there's no substitute for a good night's rest — coffee and the snooze button can only go so far. The cloudy, hungover feeling that comes from getting anything less than the eight six hours we're used to is seriously unpleasant and keeps us from performing at our peak.
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However, it's not just our work that suffers when our sleep schedule is interrupted. The Atlantic has compiled a comprehensive look into just how important it is to get the recommended six to eight hours every night (Hint: It's really important). Evidence suggests that lack of sleep can cause a wide array of chronic health problems, from hypertension, weight gain, and diabetes, to bipolar disorder and psychosis. Because of sleep's important role in the regulation of hormones like dopamine, epinephrine, and serotonin, sleep loss can wreak havoc on your emotional well-being — often resulting in symptoms that resemble those of manic depression.
Serious impacts to cognitive function like concentration and memory, as well as the immune system, have also been reported in patients who have been deprived of sleep for long periods of time, as well as those who get between four and six hours of sleep for days on end. Recent headlines support research suggesting sleep deprivation can kill you.
So, how can we help ourselves get a full night's rest? Studies show that it could be as simple as turning off our electronics after 10 p.m. or turning down our thermostats. Working out and meditating have both proven effective for sleep issues, and, of course, a doctor can prescribe medications to help. Looks like we've found our official new year's resolution: brushing up on our sleep game. (The Atlantic)
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