The Dangers of Sleep Deprivation
One thing all sleep disorders have in common is sleep deprivation. People vary in their sleep needs, but most adults require 6-10 hours each night.
Many scientists and even the hit show Mythbusters have done studies on the effects of sleep deprivation. Results reveal that being sleep deprived can have the same effect on you as if you were intoxicated. Sleep deprivation leads to as many as 100,000 vehicle accidents and 1,500 deaths each year.
Studies reveal sleep deprivation can lead to obesity, job accidents, medical errors, and chronic diseases. Cognitive functions decrease and memory is impaired when a person functions on less sleep. These warnings are important for people who do shift work because studies have shown an increase in accidents and errors during the night shifts. In fact, as one author pointed out, Chernobyl and Three Mile Island nuclear plant disasters, as well as the Exxon Valdez oil spill, were partly attributed to night shift errors.
Long term sleep deprivation has side effects that are even more grave. High blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, psychiatric disorders such as depression and other mood disorders, mental impairment, and fetal and childhood growth retardation are all consequences seen with untreated sleep disorders. Millions of people with sleep disorders are undiagnosed.