Sleep deprivation is a contemporary society has become an issue that has raised serious discussions everywhere.


• What happens to the brain when a person sleeps
• Negative impacts of sleep deprivation.
• Positive impacts of healthy sleeping.
Sleep deprivation is a contemporary society has become an issue that has raised serious discussions everywhere. Actually, many human beings have been reported developing serious complications due to lack of enough sleep. Sleep deprivation affects all ages. It is recommended that one should sleep at least for seven to eight hours. This paper will give the meaning of sleep deprivation, explain what happens to the brain when a person sleeps, describe the negative impacts of sleep deprivation and give the positive effects of sleeping. However, the paper will further give a few advantages of sleeping for few hours.
Sleep deprivation refers to the level of quality, quantity and chronicity of sleep. Chronicity here refers to the number of nights with poor, limited or no sleep at all. Therefore, sleep deprivation has in general poor quality, quantity and chronicity of sleep (Salim and Shyamsunder pg. 25).
What happens to the brain when a person sleeps?
Sleeping involves four stages:
I. Stage one
This is transition from wakefulness to light sleep. Here, predominant brain waves slow from four to seven cycles per second. This is the theta pattern.
II. Stage two.
The brain’s electricity activity is irregular. There is intermingling of intermediate-size brain waves. A K-complex pattern is formed.
III. Stage three and four
These are the deep sleep stages.
Few brain processing centers stay active (Epstein and Mardon pg. 14)
Other activities include;

a. Improvement of cognition
When an individual sleeps, the sleep allows for neural growth in the brain. However sleep deprivation prevents the addition of new neurons to the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is a region on the brain responsible for cognition and anxiety regulation. Therefore, this may actually be the reason why sleep weakens our ability to learn. In addition to this, there are increased chances of one being moody (Comer and Gould pg. 179).
b. Locking in memories
In the process of slow wave of sleep, there is replay of patterns of activities that occur from leaning multiple times in the neurons found in the hypothalamus. This replay basically serves in strengthening connections and consolidating memories. As a result, one retains what he or she has been learning (Comer and Gould pg. 179).
c. Metabolism improvement
Sleep aids the brain in regulating metabolism. However, sleep deprivation improves raises the level of peptide ghrelin and lowers peptide leptin. Alterations in the level of these two neurons brings changes that take place in the hypothalamus (Comer and Gould pg. 179).
Negative impacts of sleep deprivation
i. Effects on mood.
People who have limited sleep at night and feel sleepy during the day have less positive feelings. Such feelings include; un-satisfaction, lack of peace and general body weakness. Such people are more likely to have negative moods like; anger, pessimism, stress and fatigue. This interferes with an individual’s activities. One becomes impatient or easily irritated in the day’s activity. The ability to communicate effectively with others also gets affected. Poor communication strategy is sometimes employed leading to a preference of misunderstanding and even quarrels. Worst of it, it becomes a big problem to control the negative moods. This causes excess euphoria, immature or inappropriate behavior, being empathic, maintaining the lid based on emotional outbursts, having insight into one’s own performance and being more susceptible to arguments as well as suggestions (Moorcroft pg. 295).
ii. Changes in brain functionality
The brain activity of people who have a sleepless one night can be noticeable. There happens to be changes in brain activity for instance when doing arithmetic calculations. Some sections of the brain become active while others remain dormant. Many of the effects of insufficient sleep are as a result of less than fully functioning of the prefrontal cortex (Dekker pg. 1).
iii. Effect on performance
Insufficient sleep has negative effect on long, dull, monotonous psychomotor duties and time of reaction. In addition to this, there crops short term memory and other aspects of visual as well as auditory memory. Insufficient sleep can substantially increase the errors of omission and commission as well as reduced time on the task itself. Factually, sleepy people are susceptible to making mistakes as compared to their counterparts. Lack of enough sleep results to reduced attention thus little concentration and consequently minimal brain absorption of what is being taught. During exam time, the outcome is thus poor performance (Moorcroft pg. 295).
iv. Insomnia
This is the chronic effect in attaining enough sleep. It basically occurs in three patterns.
a. Initially there is difficulty in falling asleep
b. Then there comes difficulty in remaining asleep
c. Lastly, there is persistently early morning awakenings
Difficulty in falling asleep is quite common among the young people. On the other hand, problem in remaining asleep and early awakenings are prevalent among the middle aged as well as the elderly. Insomnia may actually sound like a minor problem to those who have not experienced. The fact is that it is an unpleasant disorder (Weiten pg. 147).
v. Safety issues
Drivers with insufficient sleep are quite prone to motor accidents. The brain cannot fully concentrate on the road. Despite the fact that there are no distractions, the brain is not in its normal functioning. The hypothalamus is not working efficiently. There is no uniform distribution of sensory neurons. With respect to this, the brain can divert from concentration on the road resulting to an accident.
vi. Immunity and inflammation.
There are reports that depict sleep deprivation as having the ability to decrease febrile response to endotoxin as well as antibody titers to the vaccination of influenza. On top of that, it can also alter cytokines, interleukin-6, and tumor necrosis factor-alpha leukocyte levels. It can as well alter the activity of natural killer cells. Finally, there are reduced granulocytes and lymphocytes in response to antigens.
vii. Endocrine function and metabolism
Sleep deprivation can generate a rise in sympathetic activation, evening levels of cortisol as well as ghrelin. Sleep deprivation blocks the sleep-dependent secretion of growth hormone and prolactin. There is also decrease in glucose tolerance. In other words, insulin resistance may also develop. Thyroxin and leptin levels may as well reduce due to insufficient sleep. Leptin levels when reduced together with increased ghrelin trigger high appetites. Additionally, this can lead to wait gain and obesity. Furthermore, insufficient sleep can increase metabolic rates. There is likelihood of occurrence of hypothermia.
viii. Cardiovascular disorders.
A rise in cardiovascular morbidity has actually been described in sleep deprived individuals.
ix. Neurologic function. Total sleep deprivation leads to a fall in cerebral glucose metabolism. There is a likelihood of development of ptosis, nystagmus, speech, slurring, hyperactive gag reflexes and tremors. There is sluggish of cornea reflexes. Deep tendon reflexes can become hyperactive as well. There is also an increase in pain sensitivity.
x. Cognition and performance.
In this case, sleep deprivation results in the following; diminished attention, alertness, vigor, cognition, concentration, learning, memory, execution function, reaction time and motivation. There is an increased level of fatigue too (Lee-Chiong pg. 930).
xi. Suicide feelings
Insufficient sleep has been linked to a number of suicide cases according to investigations regarding suicidal ideation, suicidal intentions, suicidal attempts and completed suicide cases. It is worth noting that sleep insufficiency is a common topic in psychiatric disorders. Understanding complaints of suicide attempts among patients of such psychiatric problems may increase the potential to really intercede against patients vulnerable to suicide. In fact, most associations have reported cases pertaining to suicide linked with sleep deprivation but less is known regarding whether it will lead to future suicidal cases.
xii. Anxiety and depression.
This generally emanates from an individual becoming moody. The incidence can thus incorporate anxiety and an individual can be depressed at large (.
Positive impacts of healthy sleeping:
I. Keeping of an individual’s figure.
Lack of enough sleep can lead to weight gain by slowing an individual’s metabolism. Actually, plenty of sleep might prevent weight gain.

II. Better concentration
A good quality and quantity sleep keeps one refresh after waking up..Therefore, one can concentrate better on various activities. These is based on the restoration theory (WGBH pg. 1)
III. Great mood
About two thirds of people blame lack of sleep in the moment they feel irritable. Lack of enough sleep has negative impacts on judgment of an individual (Gibbons pg.1)
IV. Ability to make better informed decisions
After an individual wakes up refreshed, he or she can make better, well informed decisions on particular issues as opposed to a tired and anxious individual with sleep deprivation.
V. Longer life
Little sleep may render a person short lifespan although it is not clear whether it is the short sleep or some other illness that is responsible.
VI. You will be a winner
Getting extra sleep can improve athletic performance. Five swimmers were monitored as part of study in the year 2008. They prolonged there sleep by ten hours a day in a period of seven to eight weeks. At the end of the study, they were recorded to swim faster and they had greater reactivity.
VII. You are less prone to illness.
Lack of enough sleep suppresses immune system which makes an individual vulnerable to disease contraction. Quality sleep incorporates strong immunity thus less prevalence to disease contraction.
VIII. Better sex
An individual who has rested well will have better sex compared to a badly rested , according to researchers. The 2010 sleep in America poll discovered that 20-30 percent of both male and female genders felt that their family life had been affected by their sleepiness.
IX. Better memory
An individual with a great sleep remembers things much clearly.
During sleep the brain goes through the day’s activities in the process of memory formation.
X. One looks more attractive.
Regular quality sleep makes you look more attractive and lively according to the 2010 study published in the British Medical Journal (Ballinger pg. 1)
XI. Healthy sleeping has a positive impact for rebuilding of cognitive and behavioral activities especially on psych emotional status. Quality sleep restores an individual’s search activity. During a quality and quantity sleep, hormonal neuroendocrine system changes take place which restores an individual’s brain to normality.
XII. Quality and quantity sleep restores the cardiovascular system. The cardiovascular system is adapted to fatigue-restoration system. This is only achieved during a healthy sleep. Restoration of the cardiovascular system depends on overall heart rate control ( Robert et. al pg. 103).
On the other hand, judgments have been posted to state that short term sleep lacks significant detrimental health effects. It is commonly known that sleeping for less hours and working for long hours can improve an individual’s economic status. In addition, sleeping for quite a long time can as well result to laziness.
In general, some scholars argue that a short term sleep has some desirable effects. For instance, it allows recuperation of your wake-active neurons. They are up to a high excitability state (Erichsen pg. 20).
In conclusion, it is evident that sleep deprivation has fatal effects to an individual’s health. From the above, it can be seen that the benefits of quality and quantity sleeping far outweigh the benefits of short time sleep which in fact can generally be summarized into one point, which is more time for work. And even if that will be the case, people nowadays work smart to achieve objectives. This does not necessarily require long working hours. An intelligent person designs a working schedule in which he can carry out a number of tasks in which much can be done in the little time possible. Such schedules include having a timetable, having a to-do list, multitasking and planning. Hence, sleep deprivation is dangerous to an individual’s health and should be avoided seriously.

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