How Lack of Sleep Effects Young Adults
Many people feel that sleep is a part of our lives that can be given up on to meet the burdens of a busy schedule. However, lack of sleep increases the risk of accidents, irritability and symptoms of depression as well as impairing memory and cognitive function.
When a young adult is growing up they are faced with the commitments of an adult but the carefree attitude of a child. Because most teens feel this way it is hard for them to balance out an academic plan, social life and a working position. With the demands of growing up at a quite young age it is hard to get the sleep that is needed to help your brain fully develop into an adult brain. Teenagers’ sleep more because; their minds and bodies are going through so many changes into forming into an adult. Not only does puberty affect the bodies but it also affects the brain in an enormous way. Todd Maddox, a psychology professor at the Institute for Neuroscience at the University of Texas in Austin, attempts to comprehend what precisely is going wrong in the impaired brain during a sleep deprived teenager, “The brain regions that are impaired when you are sleep deprived are the same ones that are impaired with normal aging or as a result of diseases like Parkinson 's and Alzheimer 's." (Forbes 2011)
The temporal lobe which is a brain region involved in language processing, was stimulated during verbal learning in relaxed subjects but not in sleep-deprived subjects. The parietal lobe, not activated in rested subjects during the verbal exercise, was more active when the subjects were deprived of sleep. Although memory performance was less efficient with sleep deprivation, greater activity in the parietal region was associated with better short term memory. (Wikipedia 2011)
Fewer than nine hours of sleep every single night puts young adults at risk for developmental and emotional complications. Sleep deprivation may be the reason for behavioral issues calamities and even psychopathology, reports The American Psychological Association.
Sleep helps brain chemistry grow larger, which improves mood and social communication. Nine to ten hours of continuous sleep helps the growing brain adjust to the chemical effects of: developmental and emotional growth, life changes, and peer and social difficulties. Healthy sleeping patterns balance hormonal alterations in the endocrine system. The extra sleep also decreases the amounts frustration levels that are often the cause of behavioral problems.
Sleep deprivation can harmfully affect the brain and cognitive function. A 2000 study, by the UCSD School of Medicine and the Veterans Affairs Healthcare System in San Diego, used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) technology to monitor activity in the brains of sleep-deprived subjects performing simple verbal learning tasks. The study showed that regions of the brain 's prefrontal cortex displayed more activity in sleepier subjects. Depending on the task at hand, the brain would sometimes attempt to compensate for the adverse effects caused by sleep deprivation. (Daily Science 2009)
This normal developmental reaction is impaired by lack of sleep. Every day teenagers are watching and learning how to adapt to behaviors in their world and the adult world. With all of these impressions, opportunities for mistakes, and pressure to make mature choices; lack of sleep creates failure. Teenagers reach their peak of tiredness is during the early morning hours and right after lunch. Both of these times many students have been reported to have been groggy or sleeping in class, when they are tired they are commonly unmotivated during class time and there is little if any concentration on the subject at hand. And as the obvious connection to a poor attention in school would be weak grades and test scores. In August 2001, researchers at the University of Minnesota reported the results of a study of more than 7,000 high-school students whose school district had switched in 1997 from a 7:15 a.m. start time to an 8:40 a.m. start time. Related with students whose schools kept earlier start times, students with later starts reported: getting more sleep on school nights, being less sleepy during the day, getting slightly higher grades and experiencing fewer depressive feelings and behaviors. (Siri Carpenter 2001)
Because the adolescent minds are not fully refreshed to start a new day it is showing on their grade performance. A study in 1998 done by psychologists Amy R. Wolfson, PhD, of the College of the Holy Cross, and Mary A. Carskadon, PhD, of Brown University Medical School, surveyed over 3,000 high school students and noticed that the students who were receiving lower grades in school were getting on average 25 minutes less sleep than the students who were getting higher grades in their classes.
Adolescents sleep less than they did as children, decreasing from an average of 10 hours a night during middle childhood to fewer than 7.5 hours by age of 16. According to Wolfson and Carskadon 's 1998 study; 26 percent of high school students routinely sleep less than 6.5 hours on school nights, and only 15 percent sleep 8.5 hours or more. The same study showed that to make up for lost sleep, most teenagers’ sleep an extra couple of hours on weekend mornings, a habit that can lead to poor quality sleep and sleep disorders. (Siri Carpenter 2001.)
"There 's a real need for longitudinal studies to follow through later childhood and adulthood," says psychologist Avi Sadeh, PhD, a sleep researcher at Tel Aviv University. Although research has sufficiently established that sleep problems affect young people 's cognitive skills, behavior and temperament in the short term, he says, "It 's not at all clear to what extent these effects are long-lasting."(Science Daily 2011)
Daily stress has a great effect on wreaking the immune system; however, making time to sleep can correct the hormonal imbalances caused by everyday stress. For teenagers, stress is inevitable, but without providing the brain with time to "sleep on it," the long-term effects of stress can take their toll on adolescents. Truancy, increased sick days, moodiness and risk-taking behavior can be signs that the maturing teenager is not renewing their brains with sufficient sleep. Lack of enthusiasm and depression can arise from long-term sleep deprivation, which in teenage years can occur with only several weeks of poor sleeping patterns. (eHow 2011) With finals coming up quickly I have noticed that in myself I have been staying up later then I usually do just to “cram” an extra hour or two in studding for these tests and quizzes that are coming up I have felt the anxiety that lurking behind this week of dread. This might not be the best thing for me to do because sleep needs to happen in order to create memories; you need sleep to keep them inside your brain and thoughts. (Schacter, Gilbert & Wegner 2011)
Sleep deprivation may be linked to serious diseases, such as heart disease and mental illnesses including psychosis and bipolar disorder. The connection between sleep deprivation and psychosis was further documented in 2007 through a study at Harvard Medical School and the University of California at Berkeley. The study revealed, using MRI scans, that sleep deprivation causes the brain to become incapable of putting an emotional event into the proper perspective and incapable of making a controlled, suitable response to the event.
Without sleep our brains don’t function as well as they should and would be if you had the time that you really need for your body to be fully rejuvenated and ready to get any job done.
Forbes.com (2011) How lack of sleep fries the brain. October 2011.
Siri Carpenter. (2001) Sleep deprivation may be undermining teen health. October 2001, Vol 32, No. 9
Science Daily (Oct. 9, 2011) If You Don 't Snooze, Do You Lose? Wake-Sleep Patterns Affect Brain Synapses during Adolescent. October 2011, Science Daily.
Daniel L. Schacter, Daniel T. Gilbert and Daniel M. Wegner (2011) Introducing Psychology. Chapter 8-Consciocness page 247. eHow (2011) the Effects of Lack of Sleep in Teenagers 2011
References: Forbes.com (2011) How lack of sleep fries the brain. October 2011. Siri Carpenter. (2001) Sleep deprivation may be undermining teen health. October 2001, Vol 32, No. 9 Science Daily (Oct. 9, 2011) If You Don 't Snooze, Do You Lose? Wake-Sleep Patterns Affect Brain Synapses during Adolescent. October 2011, Science Daily. Daniel L. Schacter, Daniel T. Gilbert and Daniel M. Wegner (2011) Introducing Psychology. Chapter 8-Consciocness page 247. eHow (2011) the Effects of Lack of Sleep in Teenagers 2011