A 2016 study conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that approximately 35% of Americans are getting less than seven hours of sleep per night. This means that more than one third of Americans go about their days without the 7-9 hours of rest recommended by the National Sleep Foundation.A significant amount of American adults live in a constant state of fatigue and are at a higher risk of a number of terrible side-effects.
#1: Health Issues
Sleep is the time that the human body needs to repair itself. Being at complete rest for 7-9 hours per night is crucial for our body’s natural restoration. Habitual sleep deprivation often leads to the development of chronic and potentially deadly health conditions. Long time sufferers of persistent fatigue may develop or experience any number of potentially deadly ailments. Health risks can include high blood pressure, stroke, obesity, heart attack, and even heart failure.
#2: Erratic Emotions
Persistent fatigue and sleep deprivation also has a significant impact on one’s emotional well-being. Without the proper amount of sleep, it is hard for people to regulate their emotions, maintain perspective, and calm themselves. People who don’t spend enough time at total rest tend to become irritable and emotionally erratic. Emotional instability may impact a person’s friendships, romantic relationships, and their professional life.
#3: Memory Loss
Getting the proper amount of sleep is crucial to memory formation. While the body is at rest, the human brain processes information that is captured throughout the day and transforms it into memories. Without proper sleep each night, your brain isn’t able to properly sort through all of your experiences, and your memory may be effected.
#4. Impaired Motor Skills that Contribute to Car Accidents
Another scary side-effect of persistent fatigue is impaired motor skills. When tired drivers get behind the wheel, they experience slowed reaction times to stimulus constantly coming at them. For instance, cars changing lanes or kids running into the street. The time it takes drowsy drivers to react by stomping on the brakes or turning the wheel to avoid an accident is delayed. Bottom line: if you don’t get the recommended amount of sleep, you are more likely to drive drowsy and increase your chances of getting into an accident.
While fatigue can be related to the number of hours of sleep a person gets per night, it could also be a symptom of an underlying sleep condition that affects the quality of sleep you’re getting. Persistent fatigue could be an indicator that you are suffering from a sleep-related disorder, such as sleep apnea. Such disorders could be deadly if left undiagnosed or untreated. A sleep study with a sleep health practitioner can help you determine if your fatigue is caused by a sleep disorder.