Chronic Sleep Deprivation
What are the consequences of sleep deprivation?
In the short term:
- Sleep deprivation induces significant reductions in performance and alertness. Reducing your night-time sleep by as little as one and a half hours for just one night could result in a reduction of daytime alertness by as much as 32%.
- Decreased alertness and excessive daytime sleepiness impair your memory and your cognitive ability - your ability to think and process information.
- Disruption of a bed partner's sleep due to a sleep disorder may cause significant problems for the relationship (for example, separate bedrooms, conflicts, moodiness, etc.).
- You may experience a poor quality of life. For example, you might be unable to participate in certain activities that require sustained attention, like going to the movies, seeing your child in a school play, or watching a favorite TV show.
- Excessive sleepiness also contributes to a greater than two-fold higher risk of sustaining an occupational injury.
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates conservatively that each year drowsy driving is responsible for at least 100,000 automobile crashes, 71,000 injuries, and 1,550 fatalities.
The good news for many of the disorders that cause sleep deprivation is that after risk assessment, education, and treatment, memory and cognitive deficits improve and the number of injuries decreases.