A popular quote would say that “sleep is the cousin of death”. Many people are willing to sacrifice their allotted hours for sleep to do things they need to do, and sometimes to do things they don’t need to do. However, constantly doing this has a negative effect on your daily functioning.
Regardless of what your age, type of occupation, or level of fitness, lack of sleep can have multiple adverse effects in different aspects of human performance.
Some of these effects are very evident, while others are quite subtle. Here is a list of some of the ways poor sleep affect your performance.
It dulls decision making skills
Anyone who has tried to make choices when they lack sleep know this. Whether it’s a choice as trivial as picking up a meal you like from the menu or as critical as choosing your answer for that big test, it becomes much harder to decide correctly when you don’t have enough hours of sleep.
Other than dulling your brain’s normal function, it’s so difficult to process thoughts when you’re so exhausted. It’s no surprise why people who don’t have enough sleep are more prone to committing egregious errors.
Learning becomes more difficult
It’s most evidently seen in people doing poorly in academics, but lack of sleep can make learning in general a much more difficult experience.
There are many reasons to explain this. First, the exhaustion that comes with the immediate or chronic lack of sufficient sleep dulls your ability to absorb information and process them.
Second, the formation of both short and long-term memory is made difficult by lack of sleep. It has been discovered in studies that the brain tends to have altered activity when lacking in sleep, which possibly explains why it’s so difficult to learn when sleep-deprived.
It affects your physical performance
You cannot reach your peak physical condition when you are constantly lacking sleep. Being constantly deprived of sleep affects your physical performance in just about every way; you lose power, stamina, and coordination, just to name 3 measures of performance, and they all drop off at just about the same time.
With chronic lack of sleep, your performance can be severely compromised. To top all that, your risk of injury becomes exponentially increased.
You become more distractible
When you are lacking proper sleep, your risk of committing errors greatly increases. In fact, the more sleep-deprived you are, the higher the risk of you committing blunders become.
There is a reason why there are so many accidents that happen, especially when operating machinery of all sizes, when the operator is lacking sleep. Aside from the reasons aforementioned earlier, you become more prone to both internal and external distractions when you are deprived of rest.
It compromises your heart
The overall health of your heart becomes compromised when you are lacking in sleep. It becomes less capable of pumping blood adequately all over your body as fatigue brought about by sleep deficiency piles up.
Lastly, stress also increases the risk of atherosclerosis, which makes you further prone to heart attacks and strokes.
Your immune function becomes compromised
Your immunity is reliant in many factors, including the amount of sleep that you receive on a daily basis. If you constantly lack sleep, your immune system becomes compromised, which makes you more prone to getting infectious diseases.
There are less immune cells circulating in your body, and those that are present becomes less capable of combating infection. Also, erratic immune response makes you even sicker. Plus, the fact that your body is broken down from the inside due to exhaustion makes it more prone to entry by disease-causing entities.
You become more prone to breakdowns
Poor sleep can make you prone to all kinds of breakdowns; physical, mental, and emotional. Prolonged lack of sleep makes you more prone to disease, and will eventually make you sick if you don’t check it.
When deprived of sleep, your mental functions become compromised; you become more prone to lapses in judgment and even make grave mental errors. Lastly, lack of sleep can make you more prone to emotional outbursts, and can even make you more prone to developing a number of psychiatric problems. Lack of sleep can and will break you in one way or another.
Getting poor sleep will bring down your performance in more ways than one. Your body can only tolerate lack of sleep for too long before it starts breaking down right in front of your eyes.
As such, it’s important that you get enough sleep on a daily basis, regardless of what your schedule or status in life is. It is literally one of the keys to unlock the best version of yourself.