The average adult needs about seven hours of uninterrupted sleep each night. Those who don't get enough quality rest are likely to experience a decline in mental function, and in some cases, chronic insomnia could lead to various levels of dementia. Let's take a closer look at some of the other negative effects of not getting enough rest.
You Could Fall Victim to Microsleeping
Microsleeping may be one of the most dangerous effects of insomnia, sleep apnea or other conditions that make it difficult to complete a full sleep cycle. This is because you will actually fall asleep for up to 10 seconds without even realizing it. While this may not seem like a problem, that is enough time for a vehicle moving at 55 miles per hour to travel roughly 200 yards. It is also enough time to drop a heavy object, fall down stairs or otherwise put yourself in a position to get seriously hurt.
You Might Feel Like You're Drunk
A person who stays awake for more than 20 consecutive hours will experience the same level of impairment as someone who has a blood alcohol level of .10%. This means that you will have trouble processing information or making rational decisions. It may also make it harder to regulate your emotions, which could lead to an outburst at work or in front of your kids.
Poor Sleep Could Hinder Your Ability to Learn New Things
Sleep allows your brain to consolidate memories and store important information for recall at a later date. This can make it easier to remember how to operate a complicated piece of machinery or remember the steps involved in making a customer's favorite drink. However, if you don't get enough rest, your brain won't be able to do its job, which means that you will have a harder time doing yours.
You May Fail to Learn From Your Mistakes
In addition to increasing the likelihood of making mistakes, poor sleep quality can make it harder to learn from your errors. Therefore, you may put yourself in danger of getting hurt or killed each time that you drive a car, operate a forklift or engage in other risky tasks.
You Might Not Even Question Your Poor Decisions
Those who are suffering from sleep deprivation are more likely to engage in risky behavior. This is because they lack the emotional stability necessary to consider that their actions may result in negative consequences. Instead, they just assume that whatever they choose to do will result in a positive outcome.
You Don't Want to Overcompensate
Research suggests that too much sleep can have a negative influence on your overall cognitive state. As a general rule, you don't want to stay in bed for more than nine hours a night. This is a good rule to follow even if you haven't been sleeping well over a period of several days, weeks or months. Instead of sleeping longer, sleep smarter. Mattress technology has come along way since the standard spring inserts of the past. Today you can find a hybrid mattress that mixes new spring technology with memory foam for proper support and comfort.
If you are struggling to calibrate your sleep schedule, it may be a good idea to consult with your doctor. In some cases, this may be a symptom of a serious health issue that might be managed with medication or lifestyle changes.
Your Sleep Needs Will Likely Change as You Age
Statistically speaking, teenagers are at the greatest risk of mental decline if they don't get enough sleep. However, as you get older, it becomes easier for your mind and body to deal with the challenges that come from a lack of adequate rest.
If you find it difficult to sleep at night, it is important to find a solution to this problem right away. In some cases, falling asleep at a reasonable hour may be as simple as getting a new mattress, wearing a mask or turning down the thermostat at night. Turning off your computer, phone or other devices may also make it easier to clear your mind when you're ready to drift off for the night.