In one of the project that focused on researching the topic, John Soh presented his speech on sleep deprivation. It was laden with interesting facts and effects of sleep, or the lack of it. His presentation impressed the audience with his dry humor and tongue-in-cheek suspense inducing comments.
It’ll be interesting to share with you his research and you can read on further details following the links of the source.
The sleep deficit problem
More and more people are deprived of proper and adequate sleep.
About 30 percent of Australians will experience sleep disorders during their lives, from insomnia to sleep apnoea.
Nearly 75% of American adults are experiencing some form of sleeping problem at least several nights a week.
Asia, or even Singapore is not spared as well. Many sleep clinics have been appearing in the country to treat the increasing number of sleepless people. The sleep clinic in SGH opened in Jan 2002, where it only had 37 patients. But in September the same year, the number rose to 180!
While exercise and movement are essential for stimulating circulation and the elimination of toxins, rest and sleep provide an opportunity for the body to cleanse, repair, and rejuvenate on a deep cellular level.
Effects of sleep deprivation
· Any amount of sleep deprivation will diminish mental performance:
People who suffer from sleep deprivation are experience reduced concentration. You are more likely to make mistakes and have a slower reaction time.
“one complete night of sleep deprivation is as impairing in simulated driving tests as a legally intoxicating blood alcohol level”
– Dr Mark Mahowald, professor of neurology, university of Minnesota medical school
For example, in a prospective, randomized study looking at the effects of sleep deprivation in residency training, interns working a “traditional schedule” made 36% more serious medical errors compared with interns under an “intervention schedule” that included more sleep. Another study demonstrated that traditional-schedule interns had more than twice the rate of attentional failures when compared with the intervention-schedule interns (Langdrigan, Lockley, New England Journal of Medicine)
· Increased risk of health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease
· Causes us to grow old faster and develop age-related illnesses
“metabolic and endocrine changes resulting from a significant sleep debt mimic many of the hallmarks of aging. We suspect that chronic sleep loss may not only hasten the onset but could also increase the severity of age-related ailments such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and memory loss”
– Dr Eve Van Cauter, professor of medicine at the University of Chicago
(American Diabetes Association General Meeting, 2001)
Benefits of having adequate sleep
What is adequate? For adults, 7-9 hrs
· Health benefits
Much of the body’s healing work takes place while you sleep. Without the need to attend to all of the functions of daily life, your immune system and organs of detoxification can focus attention on cleansing and restoration. This is the time when your body does major housecleaning, taking care of wastes that have accumulated during the day and repairing cellular damage.
Lower blood pressure
Reduce risk of cardiovascular problems and other serious diseases
Look and feel better and more radiant
Lose weight with less effort
Much research has been done => all point to the same conclusion
Sleep more to improve health!
· Mental benefits
Evidence for a beneficial role of sleep in cognition is rapidly emerging in the cognitive and neuroscience literature. These studies isolate sleep’s benefit by comparing a sleep period with a non-sleep-deprived wake period. The paradigm is as simple as it is insightful: control participants train on a cognitive task in the morning and are tested 12 hours later; they are compared with a group that trains at night, sleeps, and is tested 12 hours later.
There are two groups of participants: the wake-control group and the sleep-experimental group. The wake-control participants engage in a motor-learning task at 10 am, where they practice a particular set of sequences on a keyboard. The last few trials of the training session are taken as a marker of their best performance (speed and accuracy). Next, they are tested on the same task at 10 pm (12 hours later). The sleep-experimental participants learn the task at 10 pm, sleep overnight, and are tested at 10 am on the following morning. The sleep group shows significantly greater improvement in performance, from training to testing, when compared with the wake controls. This experimental paradigm has been successfully employed to show the benefit of sleep for several forms of neural processing, including insight formation, novel-language perception, visual discrimination, and motor skills.
The loss of benefits due to the lack of sleep includes missing sleep-dependent cognitive processing such as memory consolidation and insight formation.