Next to eating and drinking water, sleep is among the top priority needs of the human body. In fact, and oddly enough, when it comes to basic needs sleep is higher up on the list of priorities even than obtaining food. Sleep deprivation can lead to a number of side effects. It is known that sleep deprivation shortens the life span, causes memory problems, lowers the temperature, causes immune problems and severely and negatively affects the mood of the individual. If a child is still growing, and does not get enough sleep, he or she is at a risk of not achieving its height potential because the growth hormones are revived during sleep. Also – and obviously – due to a lowered level of concentration and memory problems, a child will not be able to achieve its maximum academic potential.
Adults need about eight full hours of sleep a day while growing children normally need more.
There are various diseases and defects that may result as a consequence of the lack of sleep; among the most serious of which are heart diseases (because a constant lack of sleep causes heightened blood pressure). Sleep deprivation also may be the cause for the body storing more fat than it normally would; also it increases the stress level of the sleep depraved individual.
It is interesting to note that getting enough sleep even lowers the chances of getting certain types of cancer. Getting enough sleep will also allow the individual's CNS to access memory more smoothly and increase various types of concentration – and thus the person who gets enough sleep will do better on tests and such. Both verbal communication and the ability to do maths are affected by the level of sleep a person gets.
Not to mention that a person who does not get enough sleep is almost an equally dangerous driver as an intoxicated one. A sleepy driver normally has little bursts of sleep that last to about five to ten seconds, during which he puts himself and others at risk of accidents. To back it up with a statistic: "in the U.S., fatigue causes about 71,000 highway injuries. A lack of enough sleep results in 1,500 highway deaths annually."
If the individual becomes chronically sleepless, the consequences are, naturally, more severe. Traits such as: sluggishness, lack of concentration, forgetfulness and notably slow reaction will become more dominant as time passes. The person becomes grouchy, lethargic and he or she thus not only decreases their own enjoyment of life but also makes for an unpleasant company.
On the other hand, getting the right amount of sleep will help you achieve your maximum potential and operate your daily tasks as smoothly as you ever possibly could. It will increase your ability to work, learn, exercise as well as communicate both verbally and in written form – all of which are traits worthy of adjusting your bedtime to a allow you a proper, eight hours of sleep on a daily basis.
Ultimately, if you are a night owl, you may even consider resetting your alarm clock to a later hour in order not to miss out on any precious sleep.