Many people are unaware of how essential it is to get a good night’s sleep on a regular basis. When work or school deadlines arise, many consider staying up late or “pulling an all-nighter” an efficient way to get everything done. However, studies show that this is the worst thing you can do—skimping on sleep can cause concentration problems, drowsiness, and irritable moods that affect the way your work is delivered the next day. For example, a student may decide to drink coffee and stay up all night to “cram” for a test. While this approach may offer more hours for studying, the detrimental effects of sleep deprivation will likely impair her performance on the test the next day.
Sleep is such an important part of our lives that its effects show up quickly when we don’t get enough of it. Getting too little sleep for just one night can:
Some people might say that it’s a fair trade-off to skimp on sleep now and then, saying that a day or two of tiredness and crankiness is worth the extra time they earned. But while returning to a regular sleeping pattern can restore the negative short-term effects of one night of poor sleep, the long-term consequences of regular sleep deprivation that arise under the surface are much more dangerous. Long-term effects of poor sleep include:
The consequences of poor sleep extend far beyond personal health—they can also affect our interactions with others. At the 2013 Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP) annual meeting, scientists from UC Berkeley presented new research suggesting that inadequate sleep can impair our ability to appreciate our partners and loved ones , which can lead to stress and tension in the relationship. The SPSP reports that less sleep means fewer feelings of gratitude and higher levels of selfishness, both of which can make a partner feel unacknowledged and underappreciated.
On a broader scale, poor sleep can have costly and often tragic consequences for society.