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Sleep Deprivation – How It Affects You, Society, And Economy
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Sleep plays a major role in keeping us healthy, alert, and fully functional. In some cases, sleep is more important than food, because without proper sleep, the food that is eaten fails to nourish our bodies. A large percent of the urban population suffers from sleep deprivation. A person who goes without 7 or more hours of sleep every night is called sleep deprived. Chronic sleep deprivation can affect people of any age, although it is more common adults and the elderly.
Children need 9 or more hours of sleep every night, while teens need close to 9 hours. Adults need 7 to 8 hours of sleep. The amount of sleep you need doesn’t depend on how sleepy you feel. If you do not get your required quota of sleep every night, you are going to feel sleepy and fatigued during the day and develop other health issues in time if you are sleep deprived all the time.
Sleep, more than anything else, affects not only our health, but also the society and the economy. Sleep deprivation has turned into an epidemic with hectic work life schedules and busy lifestyles robbing people of their precious sleep. Nearly 40 percent of children, 90 percent of teens, 70 percent of college going young adults, and 35 percent of working adults don’t get the required amount of sleep every night. In fact, sleep hardly features on anybody’s list of priorities. For most people sleep is a waste of time. Staying awake and getting some more work done seems better. But sleep deprivation has far reaching effects on our health, as well as the society and the economy.
Most sleep deprived professions in the US
You’d be surprised to learn that your occupation can be a major source of sleep deprivation. In every country there are certain professions that require people to work harder than others. The demands of such professions often cut short the time that should be devoted to sleep.
In a survey conducted by mattress company Sleepy’s, the following were found to be most sleep deprived occupations in the US.
In the same study, the most well rested professions were found to be forest loggers, hairstylists, and sales representatives among others. This goes on to show that those with a fixed work hour are better rested than those with erratic schedules.
Causes of sleep deprivation
The reasons why people may not get enough are varied. What holds true for one person may not be so for others. Just because someone stays up late or fails to get to bed early doesn’t mean they have an unhealthy lifestyle. It may well mean that they suffer from certain conditions that make getting sleep hard. Or there may be people to take care of at home, resulting in poor sleep quality.
Several health conditions are often responsible for poor sleep quality. These include heart problems, kidney disorders, breathing problems, and thyroid issues.
Sleep disorders also form a significant cause of sleep deprivation. Reasons include insomnia, sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, and narcolepsy.
Erratic work schedules affect our sleep quality more than we can imagine. Staying up late for work or waking up in the wee hours to go to work result in chronic sleep deprivation over time.
For some people, sleeping late is a personal choice. Watching movies or TV shows till late in the night or finishing pending work is the way of life.
Certain medications interfere with sleep by affecting the production of melatonin the sleep hormone. Beta blockers and blood thinners are some of the medications affecting sleep.
The sleeping environment is often responsible for disturbed sleep. Ambient noise, lights, temperature, and uncomfortable bed, all contribute to sleep deprivation.
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