The Effects of Chronic Sleep Deprivation

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Sleep is a behavior universal to all people, yet it remains largely a mystery. Chronic sleep deprivation has become rampant throughout western society, for a number of reasons. The aim of this research is to investigate the effects of sleep deprivation, with major objectives being to identify what sleep is, and the reasons for sleep. An emphasis is also placed on the effect, symptoms, causes and ways to combat sleep deprivation. These areas are of particular interest to those seeking to investigate sleep deprivation, or individuals who suffer from sleep deprivation by investigating the symptoms, causes and strategies to combat sleep deprivation.

The information collated in this report was collected from a variety of secondary sources including websites, books, documentaries, statistics and academic journals. A report format was selected to ensure that information concerning the guiding questions were successfully answered. While surveys were conducted information collected was discredited due to the reliability of the information collected.

Definition of sleep

Sleep is a state when the body’s senses and motor activity are disrupted resulting in total or partial unconsciousness (Nordqvist, 2010). As a result all all voluntary muscles are rendered inactive (Nordqvist, 2010). It is a period when the body produces new bone and tissue, resulting in the growth and repair of the body (Nordqvist, 2010). Typically sleep is defined in humans based on brain wave activity patterns and other physiological changes (Harvard Medical Institute, 2007).

Sleep occurs in a series of recurring stages (Smith et al, 2013). These stages can be separated into NREM sleep, and REM sleep (Smith et al, 2013). NREM (non rapid eye movement)...

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...ns behind the process. Reliable sources indicate that sleep deprived individuals display a greater difficulty in performing everyday tasks compared to well rested individuals. The study also reveals that sleep deprivation is linked to obesity, depression, anxiety and the suppression of the immune system. The research conducted suggests that sleep deprivation can be recognised in adults by mood fluctuations, and difficulty in concentration, while children will tend to become emotionally explosive. The findings also detail simple lifestyle alterations available to combat sleep deprivation.

It should be noted that the findings of this report are limited by the current knowledge available. As such public awareness of sleep deprivation and the science of sleep must be raised so that sleeping disorders such as sleep deprivation may be completely understood and treated.
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