Lack Of Sleep Can Affect A Lot More That Fatigue According To A New Study


There's a new study out that says lack of sleep affects you more than just feeling sleepy! Probably now news to anyone but it's a gentle reminder that sleep is important for you to function on a regular basis!

According to a study by scientists from Michigan State University, sleep deprivation causes distraction and memory problems — or more specifically, it has a significant impact on our ability to recover from distraction, as Forbes reports. That might be problematic enough if you're working in an office, for example, and you lose your focus after the phone rings. But what if you're a surgeon, or you operate heavy machinery, and your distraction could cost a life?

The study, published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, looked at the ability of its subjects to complete a task accurately after being distracted mid-way through. According to Forbes, over 230 participants were asked to complete a multiple-step task at night, in a lab. "They were occasionally interrupted from their work, after which they had to recall where they were and resume the correct order from that point on," Forbes says.

Study author Kimberly Fenn told Forbes, "If you look at mistakes and accidents in surgery, public transportation and even operating nuclear power plants, lack of sleep is one of the primary reasons for human error," adding, "There are many people in critical professions who are sleep-deprived. Research has found that nearly one-quarter of the people with procedure-heavy jobs have fallen asleep on the job."

More frightening psychological impacts of sleep deprivation? Another study by Kimberly Fenn, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that those deprived of sleep for 24 hours were 4.5 times more likely to sign a false confession, compared to those who'd slept for eight hours the night before. And a 2014 study, published in Psychological Science, found that lack of sleep could "increase the risk of developing false memories."

Add all this to the well-documented physical impacts of sleep deprivation, including heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes? You might start to prioritise your sleep a little more.

Making sleep a priority is always easier said then done because every person is different and has different priorities including kids and newborns who depend on them and so forth. But in the long run, making sure you get sleep will help prevent bigger health risks from occurring. 

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