Failure to get a good night’s sleep can significantly alter your abilities to be productive, handle stress, and live an uncluttered life. I’m currently experiencing this phenomenon first hand since my son started teething. I have never in my life been this tired for such a continued amount of time, and I’m envious of parents whose children are seemingly unaffected by the teething process.
Actually, I’m envious of anyone who gets sleep, irrespective of if they have children. I may even be thinking mean thoughts about all of you and your well-rested state of being right now …
Where was I?
Oh yes, sleep deprivation.
We’ve talked in the past about how it is important to keep a sleep journal to determine the number of sleep hours you need to function at your best. Too little sleep and too much sleep can influence your behavior, so it’s best to know how much sleep you need. If you don’t know how to interpret the data you collect in your sleep journal, I recommend checking out the article “How Much Sleep Do We Really Need?” by the National Sleep Foundation.
Missing out on sleep affects motor skills, cognitive abilities, and other brain functions. Also, and this is the part that is most disturbing to me, being suddenly woken up (say, like by a crying baby) can have the same effects as sleep deprivation. A study by researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder found that sleep inertia (being jarred awake) is the same as being deprived of sleep for 24 hours.
From an article about the study on Medical News Today:
The study showed test subjects had diminished short-term memory, counting skills and cognitive abilities during the groggy period upon awakening known as sleep inertia, said CU-Boulder Assistant Professor Kenneth Wright, lead study author. The new study has implications for medical, safety and transportation workers who are often called upon to perform critical tasks immediately after waking, since cognitive deficiencies following 24 hours of sleep deprivation have previously been shown to be comparable to the effects of alcohol intoxication, he said.
In addition to tracking your sleep patterns, you might also want to try different methods of waking up. A blaring alarm clock might not be the safest way to wake you up from your beautiful, relaxing, glorious night of sleep.