Sleep deprivation, as the term suggests, refers to a person's inability to fall asleep when his body needs to. As a result, a person doesn't get enough sleep. It can be acute, which means a person fails to get into his normal sleep pattern for one or two days at the most, or chronic, which means the sleep deprivation problem has been existing for a long time.
Chronic sleep deprivation can adversely affect the brain and cognitive function. Worse, it can lead to death. That's the reason why most people who suffer from it take natural sleep supplements
to help them overcome the problem.
Can death really come with sleep deprivation? This is a common question which may bug the insomniacs and those who have problems sleeping. A perusal of the existing scientific studies which used mice as test animals showed that they started dying in less than two weeks since the animals were forcefully deprived of sleep. Death from sleep deprivation is a reality for the test animals. How real can this get as far as humans are concerned?
There are no records of human death from sleep deprivation per se. There are, however, records of people staying alive even after years of no sleep due to certain medical conditions. Deaths have been associated to sleeplessness as an indirect effect on neurobehavioral characteristics, which, in turn influence cognitive and psychosocial abilities. These indicate a wide array of possible short term manifestations to long term complications. It is for this reason that neurologists often prescribe natural sleep aids to their patients who suffer from sleep deprivation.
Some short term effects include reduction in the ability to mentally process information (cognitive ability), memory and focus. Loss of one and a half hours of sleep is enough to reduce daytime alertness by about 32 percent. What is scary is how lack of sleep doubles the risk of sustaining work related and vehicular accidents which could be fatal.
Meanwhile, long term effects include diseases which may have deathly consequences like hypertension and stroke; heart disease and heart failure, and obesity which is associated with many medical complications. Over and above these are the life changing circumstances such as mental impairment and psychiatric disorders which may start as simple altered temperaments to depression. So if you think you're suffering from this, it would be a good idea to consult with your doctor so he can prescribe you a sleep medicine
to help you.
Proofs that death from sleep deprivation is possible are the staggering data from the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration due to 'drowsy driving'. The reports claimed about 100,000 wrecks, 71,000 injuries and 1,550 fatalities each year. Shift workers are equally as susceptible especially if using machines or driving after work. Words have it that sleep deprivation is also used in interrogation process in the law enforcement. This is based on the belief that sleep deprivation can weaken cognitive skills thus give away truths unknowingly.
Can death from sleep deprivation real? Maybe not, but it's better to be safe than sorry. It's one of those sleep disorders
that can affect your life significantly. Hence, you need to do something about it before the matter gets out of hand.