How Lack of Sleep Can Impact Performance
Sleep can hurt the quality of your decision-making, worklife, emotional health, and self-protection.
Based on recent research, experts agree that not getting enough sleep can hinder the ability to complete on-the-job tasks, make it difficult to communicate with loved ones, and result in disorders such as anxiety.
How does sleepiness affect cognitive performance?
Here are three ways that lack of sleep negatively impacts the mind, as outlined by Camille Peri in WebMD:
1. Sleep deprivation hurts our focus and decision-making. Researchers who study lack of sleep note that it reduces the ability to focus. Poor focus leads to misunderstanding. It’s difficult to think critically and develop sophisticated solutions.
Without proper sleep, we tend to make unsound decisions. It’s just not as easy to understand the various options since our cognitive performance is generally reduced.
2. Sleep deprivation makes us forgetful. “Sleep embeds the things that we have learned and experienced over the course of the day into our short-term memory,” explains Dr. Avelino Verceles, a sleep medicine specialist at the University of Maryland.
Memory becomes more integrated into our minds throughout the sleep cycle.
If you aren’t getting enough sleep, it’s likely that your memory will become inconsistent both because the integration isn’t completing and because your attention span is impaired.
“If you’re not able to concentrate on what’s at hand, it’s not going to make it into your short-term memory and then long-term memory,” comments Dr. Allison T. Siebern, a sleep researcher at Stanford University.
3. Sleep deprivation reduces comprehension. When you are getting under six hours of sleep nightly, it will make it challenging to learn new material. The lack of concentration hinders the assimilation of ideas, as does the forgetfulness. Kids often exhibit the behaviors commonly associated with attention deficit disorder simply due to lack of sleep; after all, a 2005 survey revealed that more than four out of five teachers (82%) believe that ADD/ADHD is overdiagnosed.
It’s not just about sleep
You really don’t want to neglect sleep. It endangers lives. Conservative statistics from the NHTSA put the number of accidents each year caused by driver sleepiness at 100,000.
However, sleep isn’t everything. If you are having difficulty with cognitive performance, such as the symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), you could benefit from functional neurology. Reactivate your nervous system today!