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Monday, 25 June 2012

Sleep Deprivation

As I turned on the television to watch the news, I was flabbergasted to hear that a teenager driving his younger sister to school was found dead in a fatal car accident. The reports showed that the teenager could not concentrate behind the wheels due to sleeplessness. It is the basic necessity of life from which majority of the people is “starving”. Sleep deprivation is not only a problem for adults but also for children which results poor academic performance, road accidents and poor emotional and physical health. It severely affects people of all ages especially children, both physically and mentally. 

Sleep deprivation is particularly a problem for children. In studies of elementary aged children, nearly 40% had some type of sleep problem, 15% exhibited bedtime resistance and 10% had daytime sleepiness. Lack of sleep adversely affects children’s academic performance. In a 1998 survey of more than 3,000 high-school students it was found that students who reported that they were getting C's, D's and even F's in school obtained about 25 minutes less sleep and went to bed about 40 minutes later than students who reported they were getting A's and B's. Unfortunately, we take pride in being able to get by on little sleep. Lack of sleep and drowsiness may also lead to an increase in number of road accidents.

Avoid over scheduling kids. Overscheduled kids tend to be sleep deprived kids. According to University of Minnesota’s Dr. Kyla Wahlstrom, motivated students can sacrifice sleep to maintain high GPA's, but may pay for success with higher levels of depression and stress. Teens with extracurricular overload are significantly more likely to be involved in a fall-asleep car crash. And high schooled with part-time jobs both sleep less and have lower grades.

Teenagers are the ones who are the most sleep deprived. "Almost all teenagers, as they reach puberty, become walking zombies because they are getting far too little sleep," comments sleep expert James B. Maas. An insomniac driver is the most vulnerable to an accident. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, for example, drowsiness and fatigue cause more than 100,000 traffic accidents each year--and young drivers are at the wheel in more than half of these crashes. Insufficient sleep has also been associated with lower social skills and bad health.

Common sleep disorders such as nightmares, restless leg syndrome, and frequent night waking can have a negative impact on children’s development—from using drugs at 14 to having clinical-level anxiety as adults. Research by University of Michigan’s Dr. Ronald Chervin suggests as many as 25 percent of kids diagnosed with ADHD have an underlying sleep disorder causing their symptoms. If treated for their sleep disorder, the ADHD symptoms may diminish. Despite the risks posed by sleep disturbances, the number of children treated for them is minimal. Parents should consult a qualified sleep specialist in addition to their pediatrician who may not have expertise in sleep problems.

A person who loses one night’s sleep will generally be irritable and clumsy during the next day and will become tired easily. Irritation leads to anger and frustration, which are the two most abhorred emotions of a person. Long term consequences of sleeplessness could be high blood pressure, heart attack, mental impairment, and surprisingly obesity. 

Sleep deprivation is one of the major problems of modern era. Both, children and adults are not getting enough sleep which has caused an increase in the number of road accidents. General, poor health of people is the result of little sleep. Academic performance of students also suffers greatly due to insomnia. Therefore, if high productivity, efficiency, mental sharpness and physical fitness is your goal then, stop depriving yourself and get a good night’s sleep.


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