An Importance of Sleep for Our Body

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Sleep Deprivation

Sleep is a very important necessity in life. In today’s society many people are unaware of the importance of sleep and how a lack of sleep affects one’s body. Many researchers in the field have studied sleep deprivation or sleep debt. Sleep Debt is the lack of sleep that one person has accumulated and can be “paid back” by sleeping the same total amount of hours that one has lost (Dement and Vaughn 501). This paper will examine three areas in the field of sleep debt; the knowledge that people have about sleep debt, the causes of sleep debt, and the effects of sleep deprivation. Knowing this information and these little facts can help people avoid premature deaths, injuries, and save lives, as well as getting in better control of managing their sleep.

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The scientific knowledge about sleep debt, sleepiness, and sleep deprivation has been around for more than two decades and still people are not acquiring the proper knowledge about sleep. The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) explains in the article “America’s Sleep-Deprived Teens Nodding Off at School, Behind the Wheel”, that there is a significant gap between parents and teens concerning their children’s sleep habits (484). Many are unaware about sleep debt and do not truly know how not getting enough sleep could affect them. 90% of parents think their child is getting the proper amount of rest at least a few nights a week (483). Even college students were not aware of how sleep debt negatively affects them. Many are not aware that their needs to be a complete balance in order for one’s body to function properly. Every hour that is lost must be made up or it have many dangerous effects on a person’s body. Parents, students, everyone should know the warning signs and also change how they do things as well.

What causes one not to get enough sleep? There are many factors that can affect one’s sleep. The NSF explains how everyday pressures and nature still equal less sleep (484). Students may be getting up earlier than needed to get themselves ready for school. Even for adults, waking up early can mess up how much rest is needed to get through the day. Schedules can become packed not giving anytime for sleep or even to relax. Another factor that affects adolescents would be Caffeine and technology (485). 31% of students consume two or more caffeinated drinks per day (485). At this rate, students who drink two or more caffeinated drinks are likely to get a less amount of sleep on school nights. Another factor that the NSF states, “Technology may also be encroaching on a good night’s rest” (485). Most adolescents tend to go to bed wired up, instead of calming the body and brain down letting them know it is time to relax. Adolescents are not receiving the proper guidance, saying to put the electronics away and it is time for bed. Parents play a role in this as well. Some parents do not know the warning signs of their child not getting enough sleep. Even parents are not showing good habits to their children as well.

Irregular sleep patterns are common amongst teens and some adults. There are many factors that can affect one’s sleep when trying to sleep at night. In the article “How Sleep Debt Hurts College Students,” June J. Pilcher and Amy S. Walters discuss the research about sleep deprived college students and how sleep debt affected their performance on cognitive tasks, decreased concentration and effort put forth. However, they ranked themselves high in academic standing – showing they are unaware of how severe their sleep debt affects them in school (512). An example; if sleep debt continues to have a constant negative effect on anxiety, or tension, then sleep-deprived people will have more difficulty than non-deprived people (514). Daytime sleepiness decreased their ability to pay attention, and perform well on exams. Furthermore, student’s excessive lack of sleep can increase in mood states such as: tension/anxiety, depression/dejection, anger/hostility, vigor, fatigue, and confusion/bewilderment (518). According to William C. Dement and Christopher Vaughan in the article “Sleep Debt and the Mortgaged Mind” they address that driving under the influence of sleep debt can be dangerous. “A few hours of extra sleep does not alleviate the sleep debt accumulated over the preceding nights or weeks.” (503). Not enough sleep causes increased drowsiness, in adolescent drivers as well (523). This can be very dangerous; can cause death, Alertness decreases, and lack of sufficient performance skills (499-500). People need to learn to pay attention to their own sleep debt. (502).

In conclusion, sleep is one important need, added to all the others, to the human body. Sleep debt is at times misunderstood, because people don’t know what the importance of sleep is. Not maintaining a proper sleep schedule can result in being tired, moody, and given the ability to not do well cognitively. Driving under the influence of sleep debt is very dangerous and can result in a car accident. All these researchers explain what happens when one does not accumulate enough hours of sleep. The lower one’s sleep debt, the more their sense of well-being increases. One will become aware of the dangers that may lie ahead of one chooses to not give their body the proper amount of rest.

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