Jet lagged? Suffering from insomnia? Unwell and unable to sleep night after night? Watch out! Your work performance and social life may be affected too.
A study on sleep habits in the United Kingdom has reported rather concerning statistics. The 1.3 million people who reported lack of sleep (less than six hours a night) were 12% more susceptible to premature death. In fact, the effects of staying up for 24 hours is said to be similar to blood laced with 0.1 percent alcohol. This is the reason why lack of sleep often leads to accidents and injuries at the workplace, road accidents, depression and emotional difficulties that affects social life.
The word used for such a state is sleep deprivation. It includes both voluntary and involuntary sleeplessness, disturbing the circadian rhythm - the 24-hour cycle in the physiological process of all living beings. What’s more, sleep deprivation affects not just adults but also school-aged children leading to poor performance in school and social situations that in turn have the capacity to lead to depression, low self-esteem or obesity if left unchecked. Read below to learn how sleep deprivation disrupts work and social life:
Lack of sleep can mislead the brain to misread facial expressions, interpreting them as threatening. As a result, sleep-deprived individuals tend to withdraw from conversations and become irritable. Extreme sleep deprivation can discourage affected individuals to avoid social interactions altogether.
Studies showed that men are more impaired than women in their sleep-deprived state. They performed lesser in verbal skills, interactions and visuoconstructive activities than women, eventually isolating themselves more in social situations.
Increased Emotional Reactivity
Impaired sleep leads to emotional disturbance. Individuals are quick to judge, short-tempered and react more aggressively in negative situations. This is because sleep enhances amygdala activity that triggers negative responses such as anger.
Lack of anger management can create potentially dangerous situations at work. Display of hostile, volatile temperament can encourage people to distance themselves from the person. They may exhibit a negative attitude in most situations and converse in flat, monotones that can put off colleagues and friends around them, so they lose connection and support in their professional and personal relationships. They can exhibit an inability to process emotional information, are unable to empathize, leading to conflict in relationships. At work, this affects crucial abilities such as teamwork, trust and cooperation.
Lack of Focus
Impaired sleep habits and fatigue lead to lack of focus affecting sound judgement, decision-making skills, problem-solving abilities and unethical behaviour. Studies show that sleep-deprived individuals are more likely to cheat, steal, speak rudely or reduce to violent behaviour in work settings because of lack of self-control. With impaired cognitive skills, they are more inhibited, forget faster, have reduced thinking, judging skills. Those who sleep for over six hours are more likely to behave responsibly.
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The last thing you need is to have friends and colleagues distance themselves from you because of your lack of sleep. The easiest way to get over this state is to upgrade your mattress.
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