Sleep Deprivation: A Serious Problem in Modern Society

Sleep deprivation has become a serious problem in modern society. With all the demands on our time every day, we may put a good night’s rest at the bottom of our priority list.[0] But this can have serious consequences for our physical and mental health.[1] It’s important to get enough sleep, and the right kind of sleep, on a regular schedule so that you feel rested when you wake up.

The amount of sleep needed depends on age. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) recommends that adults sleep at least 7 hours on a regular basis. Teens typically need 8-10 hours, and older adults (65 years and older) between 7-8 hours.[2] However, good quality sleep is also essential.

Sleep deprivation has a number of negative effects on our bodies. It affects the prefrontal cortex, which handles reasoning, and the amygdala, which deals with emotion.[3] It can also make it harder for a person to form new memories, which can affect learning. Poor sleep can also increase risk for mental health disorders, such as depression, anxiety, and even suicidal ideation.[4]

By establishing good sleep habits, it is possible to avoid or recover from sleep deprivation. Create a calming bedtime routine, avoid large meals, caffeine, and alcohol before bedtime, and limit your nap to 20-30 minutes.[5] It is recommended to get at least 20-30 minutes of exercise each day, at least 5-6 hours prior to bedtime.[6] Have some caffeine (within reason).[1] Doing these things can help you get a good night’s sleep.[6] If you still have trouble getting enough sleep, contact your health care provider to identify and treat any underlying causes.[5]

0. “What Happens When You Don’t Get Enough Sleep?” health.clevelandclinic.org, 20 Jan. 2023, https://health.clevelandclinic.org/happens-body-dont-get-enough-sleep/

1. “Sleep Deprivation: Symptoms, Causes, and Effects” www.helpguide.org, 20 Jan. 2023, https://www.helpguide.org/articles/sleep/sleep-deprivation.htm

2. “Sleep Deprivation: What It Is, Symptoms, Treatment & Stages” my.clevelandclinic.org, 20 Jan. 2023, https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/23970-sleep-deprivation

3. “Emotional Effects of Lack of Sleep – GoodRx” www.goodrx.com, 20 Jan. 2023, https://www.goodrx.com/well-being/sleep/emotional-effects-lack-of-sleep-deprivation

4. “How Sleep Deprivation Impacts Mental Health” www.columbiapsychiatry.org, 20 Jan. 2023, https://www.columbiapsychiatry.org/news/how-sleep-deprivation-affects-your-mental-health

5. “Sleep tips: 6 steps to better sleep – Mayo Clinic” www.mayoclinic.org, 20 Jan. 2023, https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/sleep/art-20048379

6. “Sleep Deprivation | Cedars-Sinai” www.cedars-sinai.org, 20 Jan. 2023, https://www.cedars-sinai.org/health-library/diseases-and-conditions/s/sleep-deprivation.html