HomeHealthSnoring:  Sleep Deprivation Can Have Effects of Serious Consequence!

The Effects of Exhaustion and Sleep Deprivation

If you are similar to the average American, there is a high probability that you are unfamiliar with the effects of sleep deprivation. However, you rarely get the recommended amount of sleep each night and frequently wake up feeling tired and groggy. These two combinations of factors, unfortunately, can prove both unhealthy and dangerous. In fact, recent studies have shown that extreme exhaustion significantly alters the way the brain functions and can even cause side effects similar to those caused by alcohol!

In the next several paragraphs, you will learn about the previously mentioned studies. Then, in conclusion, you will receive a quick overview of the changes made in the medical field to combat sleep deprivation in young doctors!

Studying the Effects of Sleep Deprivation

A great deal of time, money, and energy has recently been invested in studying the effects of sleep deprivation. In February of 2000, UCSD School of Medicine and the Veterans Affairs Healthcare System, San Diego, published a study saying that, among many other differences, the temporal lobe, a brain region involved in language processing, was activated during verbal learning in rested subjects but not in sleep deprived subjects. Furthermore, a study published in September of 2000 in the British journal, "Occupational and Environmental Medicine", reported that people who drive after being awake for 17 to 19 hours performed worse than those with a blood alcohol level of .05 percent, which is the legal limit for drunk driving in most western European countries.

Take note that these studies are not just fluff, either. In fact, an additional study in the October 2004 edition of "The New England Journal of Medicine" reported that there is a 36% increased risk of serious medical errors when interns work a traditional (and sleep deprived) work schedule. In response to these three studies, the goal of most medical facilities is to now have their interns work a maximum of 63 hours a week, with no more than 16 continuous hours of scheduled work, as opposed to the traditional schedule, which consisted of 79 hours per week with up to 34 hours scheduled in a row.

Sleep deprivation may seem "normal" in our hectic society, but it is NOT a matter to be taken lightly! If you are living on very little sleep, please consider arranging your schedule so that you will be able to have more of the rest your body so desperately needs, for both your sake and the sake of those whom you come into contact with on a daily basis. Sweet dreams!

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