We all have those nights—whether you’re out having fun, getting some much-needed work done, or just staring at the ceiling with insomnia, there are times when we just don’t sleep enough. And most of the time, for at least a while, we feel like we can function pretty normally. But if we don’t sleep enough night after night, the long-term cumulative effects of chronic sleep deprivation can be pretty severe.
In today’s fast-paced world, it’s way too easy to let good, high-quality sleep fall by the wayside. There’s just so much to do! But sleep deprivation really can hurt you over time.
As Bad As Being Up for Days…
A 2000 sleep study found quantifiable changes in higher-order cognitive processes and ability to pay attention in sleep deprived subjects. Another study by the University of Pennsylvania found that people under chronic sleep deprivation (over a two-week stretch) suffered severe deficits in physiological and mental faculties—and that people who got 6 hours of sleep each night functioned as poorly as people who got 4 hours of sleep per night. Chronic sleep restriction to 6 hours of sleep or less each night is just as bad as staying up for two days straight!
Is It Worth It?
Next time you’re considering staying out all night, remember exactly what a lack of sleep can do. Getting six hours of sleep each night is just about as bad as getting four hours of sleep each night! Take care of your body and your brain by taking care of your sleep schedule, and you’re more likely to function at your very best. Sleep hygiene is one of your best tools for optimal health.