Irregularities In Your Coordination
An inability to control ones gait can lead to clumsiness. After all, a gait pattern involves various different characteristics, such as kinetic and potential energy, velocity, external forces, and ground contact. You need to have these uniformly regulated in order to move well. When youre sleep-deprived, they become irregular, and youll be more likely to miss steps or trip over yourself.
Drunk Driving Causes Loss Of Coordination With Startling Impacts
Youve likely heard time and time again that drunk driving causes severe outcomes. Given these results, driving drowsily is just as dangerous! In fact, sleep-deprived driving is such an issue that the following statistics are true for the United States:
- Each day, 250,000 drivers fall asleep while driving.
- More than 100,000 automobile crashes have sleep-deprived driving as a factor annually.
- Approximately 80,000 injuries from road accidents occur with sleep-deprived driving as a factor annually.
- Approximately 6,550 deaths from road accidents occur with sleep-deprived driving as a factor annually.
- 54% of adult drivers admit to driving drowsily.
- 28% of adult drivers admit to falling asleep behind the wheel.
Polyphasic Sleep The Everyman Method
So how does one sleep only three hours at night and still get enough deep sleep?
Polyphasic Sleep is the idea of breaking your sleep into smaller chunks, or naps, to maximize your waking hours.
The hope is to drop light sleep and achieve deep sleep each time you close your eyes.
Polyphasic Sleep has many forms.
The most extreme one is the Uberman method. It consists of six 20-minute naps for two total hours of sleep a day.
A less extreme form and the one Ive chosen for myself is dubbed the Everyman method. It consists of one core sleep lasting between 34 hours, and three 20-minute naps throughout the day for a total of four to five hours.
I have chosen the Everyman method as it provides more flexibility. Also, to be honest the idea of never sleeping for more than 20 minutes intimidates me. Perhaps thatll be my next experiment.
So what are the benefits? Why should you deprive yourself of a glorious eight hours of sleep?
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Rethink Your Sleep Habits
Everyone has a bad night from time to time, but working on your sleep habits might help. Make sure you:
- Go to bed and wake up at a regular time, even on the weekends
- Make your last hour of the day relaxing by doing calming activities, like reading
- Only use your bed for sleeping or having sex
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol 5-6 hours before bedtime
- Make your bedroom comfortable, dark, and cool
- Donât take naps during the day
Try that for a couple of weeks, and your sleep should get better. If your insomnia is chronic — meaning youâre having trouble sleeping for more than 3 months — itâs time to skip the tips and talk to a doctor, Perlis says. Talk to your doctor to check on any medical reasons for your insomnia, get more sleep advice, and see if you should see a sleep specialist.
I Remember Specifically Thinking: Wow I Hadnt Slept This Well Since Middle School
People have a very poor sense of judgment on how much sleep they need, Veasey says. Until you give yourself extra sleep and you think: Im flying through the day, getting things done, Im more interested in people, Im less moody, I can focus better.
If you still feel lethargic after youve started getting more sleep, experts say that could be the sign of a more pressing health issue. But improving your sleep is one of those huge health decisions that can give you the biggest bang for your buck, Salas says. Its one of those things that crosses all medical aspects and domains.
Setting aside time to work out how much sleep your body needs and sticking to it could be one of the best investments you make. Being sharper on the job is great, but being alive is even better.
People who are sleep deprived are getting into car wrecks. Could you imagine brain surgeon whos sleep deprived? Salas says. Thats the difference between life and death.
Bryan Lufkin is BBC Capitals features writer. Follow him on Twitter @bryan_lufkin.
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Im Perfectly Fine On 4 Hours Of Sleep
We say: False.
While you may get through one or two days on short sleep without hurting yourself or others, its not a healthy habit to get into. A common misconception about sleep is that we just need it for daytime energy, and that a few strong cups of coffee in the morning can serve you just as well as a full nights rest. Thats wrong for two reasons:
- Your coffee will wear off, as will any other short-term fix you apply. But truly restorative sleep should keep you awake and alert all through the day. People think they know their sleep deprivation limit , but none of us can afford the risk of finding out when our limits been reached by way of an accident at work or on the road. Roughly 4% of drivers over age 18 have fallen asleep at the wheel in the past month.1
- Sleep gives us much more than just energy. It also enables your body to heal damaged cells, boost its immune system, recover from the days activities , and recharge your heart and cardiovascular system for tomorrow.
Differences In 6 Vs 8 Hours Of Sleep
Not surprisingly, test subjects who slept the recommended eight hours a night had the highest performance ratings. Those who slept six hours a night did fine until nearing the end of the study, around day 10, and those functioning on just four hours of sleep were noticeably worse each day.
The study found that the test subjects that slept four or six hours per night had a significant decrease in cognitive performance, functioning the same as if they had been deprived of sleep for two days. The difference between the four- and six-hour groups was that the performance of the four-hour group declined more quickly.
Even more interestingly, the test subjects that showed decreased cognitive performance after 10 days of sleeping six hours per night were seemingly unaware of the changes, based on their sleepiness ratings given.
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What Are The Consequences Of Sleep Fragmentation
Dividing your sleep into periods scattered throughout the day and night, especially on a chronic basis, may have significant cognitive effects. This may be due, in part, to a breakdown of the natural sleep architecture.
Sleep architecture is a description of the natural pattern of sleep stages that occur during a standard sleep period. It is represented by a hypnogram and can be assessed with a sleep study called a polysomnogram. Although it changes as we get older, most adults will cycle through the various sleep stages at regular intervals. If this is disrupted — either through sleep disorders such as sleep apnea or with behavioral choices such as sleeping in divided periods — there are clear effects.
One important consequence of sleep fragmentation is the resulting sleep deprivation. This may occur by slipping into and out of sleep, shortening the amount of time for deep, restorative sleep. The amount of total sleep may also be suboptimal.
Dividing your sleep between nighttime and a daytime nap appears to have the same effects on your mood, concentration, and cognitive abilities as if you were to chronically restrict your sleep. Wakefulness at night promotes these deficits as ill-timed sleep is simply not as restorative.
Therefore, if you find yourself making choices that are dividing your sleep between the day and night, you may want to follow guidelines to consolidate your sleep and improve your rest through better sleep habits.
Is It Possible To Only Need 5 Hours Of Sleep
Sometimes life calls and we dont get enough sleep. But five hours of sleep out of a 24-hour day isnt enough, especially in the long term. According to a 2018 study of more than 10,000 people, the bodys ability to function declines if sleep isnt in the seven- to eight-hour range.
Can you die from lack of sleep?
Its possible that given enough time, sleep deprivation can kill you. While no human being is known to have died from staying awake, animal research strongly suggests it could happen. After 32 days of total sleep deprivation, all the rats were dead. Curiously, researchers still do not agree on the cause of death.
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The Importance Of Sleep
The quality of your sleep at night directly affects your mental and physical health and how well you feel during the day. Sleep impacts your productivity, emotional balance, brain and heart health, immune function, creativity, vitality, and even your weight. No other activity delivers so many benefits with so little effort!
When youre scrambling to meet the demands of a busy schedule, though, or just finding it hard to sleep at night, getting by on less hours may seem like a good solution. But even minimal sleep loss can take a substantial toll on your mood, energy, mental sharpness, and ability to handle stress. And over the long-term, chronic sleep loss can wreak havoc on your mental and physical health.
Sleep isnt merely a time when your body shuts off. While you rest, your brain stays busy, overseeing biological maintenance that keeps your body running in top condition, preparing you for the day ahead. Without enough hours of restorative sleep, you wont be able to work, learn, create, and communicate at a level even close to your true potential. Regularly skimp on service and youre headed for a major mental and physical breakdown.
What Is Sleep Deprivation
Try telling a friend or colleague you werent able to sleep well last night. How did they respond? With a knowing nod? With their own sleepless story?
Unfortunately, these days, not getting enough sleep is nothing new. Commonly referred to by the term sleep deprivation, there is no exact measure for what constitutes a lack of sleep. Basically, someone is considered sleep deprived when they get less sleep than what they need to function normally.
Of course, sleep needs vary from person to person. Toddlers need 11 to 14 hours of sleep each night, pre-teens and teenagers need 9 to 10, and adults require 7 to 9 hours. The amount of sleep you need is also determined by factors like activity levels and genetics.
So rather than basing sleep deprivation on a specific number of hours or days, it is best to look out for these symptoms:
- Fatigue and sleepiness during the day
- Difficulty concentrating and recalling information
- Reduced coordination
- Increased appetite
- Feelings of irritability and anxiety
- Mood swings
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Sad Outcomes Of Driving Drowsy Or While Intoxicated
Driving under the influence of alcohol does not manifest in exactly the same way as driving drowsily. However, the results are similar enough that sleep-deprived driving should simply not be done. To compare them, consider:
- Drunk drivers are often overly confident and impulsive, causing risky and dangerous behavior. Drowsy drivers, on the other hand, are unable to respond appropriately and remain attentive on the road.
- Both drunk and drowsy drivers deal with worsened decision-making, alertness, and motor coordination-based reactions.
- Both drunk and drowsy driving result in approximately similar accident numbers.
It is worth noting that sleep deprivation in the case of dangerous driving doesnt have to be severe to cause issues. Sleeping six or seven hours a night just one hour short of the recommended minimum doubles your risk of an accident. That risk will double again at five hours or less, say studies.
Fine But I Dont Need 7+ Hours Of Sleep
We say: Its complicated.
Earlier this year, the National Sleep Foundation released its recommendation that everyone 18 and older get 7+ hours of sleep.2 Since then, several WUTS readers have commented that 7 hours is an unnecessarily high goal. The truth is: Not everyone needs 7 hours of sleep to maximize their next-day energy, productivity and body functions. Some adults may be just fine on 5 or 6,2 depending on the day and assuming that the sleep is uninterrupted.
But we still recommend getting 78 hours and seeing if you feel and operate better on that much sleep before determining that youre one of those people who requires less.
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No Driving Policy When Tired
While fans of the Everyman method do report an increase of energy, they have also been known to experience deeper feelings of exhaustion just before nap times. These sleepers may become so tired that they are slightly delirious and have trouble handling ordinary tasks before taking their 20-minute nap.
For this reason, it is very important that you do not operate a motor vehicle when you are feeling less than fully awake. Adhere to a strict policy that forbids you from driving when you are likely to experience these exhausted states to ensure your personal safety and the safety of others.
Bad Habits To Avoid When You Havent Slept
In addition to the above proactive strategies, there are several bad habits you should avoid when operating on little to no sleep. These bad habits include:
- Eating large meals. Eating a large meal, especially one full of carbohydrates, will make you drowsy. Instead, try eating several lights meals over the course of the dayand choose moderate portions of lean meats, eggs, nuts, and beans.
- Engaging in dangerous activities. This one may seem obvious, but when you are sleep deprived your mental and physical abilities dramatically decrease. This means you need to avoid driving, operating heavy machinery, or any other potentially hazardous activity when tired. A good rule of thumb is that your biological need for sleep will eventually prevail, and you dont want this to lead to an accident.
Remember that all of the above strategies for surviving on little to no sleep are only useful over the short termthere is no long-term strategies to effectively function on little or no sleep.
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Can Sleep Deprivation Disturb Motor Control And Coordination
Most people have been sleep-deprived at some point in their life! That feeling of dragging yourself to your feet like a zombie after too-little rest is one you can likely relate to. Youll notice just how little energy and coordination you have throughout the day and will be more irritable and less productive. Even all the fuel of caffeine doesnt make up for the sleep your body craves!
Approximately one-third of adults in America deal with sleep deprivation, and its getting steadily worse. More and more studies have shown just how damaging this trend is. Short-term impacts are immediately obvious, but long-term effects have become more understood over the years. Thats why most people are advised to avoid sleep deprivation. Unfortunately, not many of them listen to that advice!
Many people associate drowsiness with mental effects, but it can be pretty bad physically, too. In fact, youll likely be clumsier and much less coordinated! But is that just a coincidence, or is there science behind it? Can sleep deprivation disturb motor control and coordination?
Plan A Schedule That Works
No two reduced sleep schedules will look the same. You will need to find ways to plan your nap times around your work and social schedules. Dont feel too pressured to stick to a specific schedule if it cannot realistically fit into your day.
Some people have had success requesting a little down time around their lunch hours at work. Others prefer to have their core sleep earlier or later in the night depending on their general habits. Many longtime sleepers that do this caution that it may take a few weeks to fully adjust, so keep that in mind when determining whether or not your schedule needs to be revised.
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Getting Through The Day After Little To No Sleep
Whether you enjoy a power nap or dont sleep at all, youre still going to feel exhausted the next day. To make things a bit more bearable, heres our best advice for feeling energized after a night of little to no sleep.
- When your alarm goes off, get out of bed, turn on the lights, and open the curtains. Bright light, even if its artificial, will help wake you up.
- Real sunlight is even better. If you can, go outside and spend some time in the morning sunlight. For an extra energy boost, exercise. Even a brisk walk will activate your body and mind.
- Throughout the day, eat during your normal meal times to help your sleep schedule stay on track.
- Avoid overly sugary or fatty foods. Youll be craving them , but youll be less equipped than ever to recover from the sugar crash.
- Indulge in caffeine early in the morning. Dont overdo it, though, and cut yourself off in the early afternoon. You dont want to end up so wired that you experience another sleepless night.
- If youre absolutely exhausted, enjoy another power nap. You might even make it a coffee nap. Again, limit yourself to 30 minutes tops to avoid entering deep sleep.
Also, expect to feel less than great for the days following your all-nighter. The idea of catching up on sleep is a myth.