Sleep Deprivation and Its Effects

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Running header: Sleep deprivation
University of Buffalo (SIM)
Sleep Deprivation and its Effects
Focusing on Effects on: Health, Performance and Cognitive Functions

Tan Jing Wen Marius
Tan Li Xuan Rayna
Tan Mei Yu
Teo Zi Wei Cheryl 16 Nov 2012
This paper is on the effects of sleep deprivation. The central research question of this paper is: What are the effects, according to recent literature, of sleep deprivation on someone’s health, performance and cognitive functions.

Sleep is the natural recurring state of the absence of consciousness. Sleep assists in growth and regeneration of immune, nervous, skeletal and muscular system. In short, sleep is an important factor to the health and well-being of a person. Performance errors, illnesses and traffic accidents are some of the events that have been related to the lack of sleep. Considering the importance of sleep, how does the sleep deprivation affect someone’s health, performance and cognitive functions?

Review of Literature
A total of 6 psychology journals on sleep deprivation and its effects were reviewed before the development of this paper. Swanson, Arnedt, Rosekind, Belenky, Balkin, Drake (2008) studies found that sleep deprivation affects one’s alertness as well as moods (increased anti-socialness);  Geroge C. Wagner (2011) results showed that sleep deprivation affects alertness as well as performance; Gilbert, Weaver (2010) found that the lack of sleep resulted in poorer examination results; Javier Roca (2011) found that sleep deprivation reduces one’s response time and as such, sensitivity is affected; Killgore,W.D.S (2010) found out that sleep deprivation reduces one’s cognitive functioning and thus the ability to recall, alertness and sensitivity is reduced; Orzeł-Gryglewska studies showed that sleep deprivation negatively affects one’s health as well as eating habits.

A simple questionnaire of 10 questions was drawn up after the review of literature. Ten healthy young adults who have or were experiencing sleep deprivation participated in an interview to find out how the lack of sleep affected their health, performance and cognitive functions.  Each of the participants was asked to respond to the questions to the best of their ability.

Majority of the participants felt that the lack of sleep affected their health, performance and cognitive functions. Some of the answers were as such: ·         “It harms my health and my organs. I think that there will be liver failure, or so my mother sings. But physically my skin would look tired, dull and acne, dark eye circles as well as eye bags would start to surface.” ·         “I tend to notice minute things that really irritates. People chatting may appear to sound like annoying blabber of nonsense. A bus stopping while I am on it could irritate me simply from the little jerks which makes me pissed at the driver. Clicking of pens in class sound like people hammering nails into a wall.” ·         “I suffer from lapses in memory, forgetting to take important items. I am unable to stay focused to complete my tasks.”

100% of the participants felt that the lack of sleep affected their concentration in class with the incapability to pay attention to the lecturer speaking citing issues of wanting to fall asleep and presenteeism. Participants were unable to understand and internalize the material due to the lack of concentration. A study done showed similar reports of the difficulty to concentration at work with about 29% of the participants falling asleep at work or having extreme sleepiness. (Swanson, et al, 2008)

50% of participants reported an increased in sensitivity. Participants stated that they would become more sensitive especially towards something that irritates them for example the sound of clicking of pens in class may sound like people hammering nails into a wall. The remaining 50% stated...
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