After a long day of research and analytics, it can be almost impossible to switch your brain off and get to sleep. Because of the high-demanding nature of the scientific field, flipping that switch and getting the proper amount of sleep at night may be hard, but it is important. Sleep deprivation, or basically not getting enough sleep, can have some seriously negative consequences to you and your work. You have a job that requires concentration and high cognitive function. Without enough sleep, you won’t be able to perform as well.
Signs of sleep deprivation
Sleep deprivation can influence many parts of your life. For example, sleep deprivation can cause changes in your mood. The most common signs are irritability, lack of motivation, anxiety and symptoms of depression.
It is also dangerous for your health and causes an increased risk of medical disorders. The most common being high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes and even heart attacks.
There are many symptoms related to performance when you are sleep deprived. Some of these are a lack of concentration and being easily distracted. It also causes fatigue, restlessness, a lack of coordination, increased errors (which you can’t afford) and forgetfulness.
The effects of sleep deprivation on cognitive function
In 2000, there was a study on sleep deprivation by the University of California in San Diego. They monitored subjects that were sleep deprived by testing verbal skills. They used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) technology to monitor their subjects. The study indicated that your cognitive function is reduced when you don’t get enough sleep. This means that your brain needs to work harder to get the same results as when you’ve gotten a sufficient eight hours.
The study also found that things like memory can be affected by sleep deprivation.
Some other serious effects like double vision and hallucinations can happen with continued lack of sleep. But even the most minor cases of insomnia can cause serious fatigue and a decrease in general cognitive abilities.
Sleep Deprivation and mental illness
In 2007 the Chicago Medical institute found that sleep deprivation can cause serious mental illnesses such as psychosis and bipolar disorder. The brain is unable to put emotional events into perspective and gets dysregulated. This prevents you from having controlled and suitable responses to emotional events. The last thing you need when dealing with constantly changing variables is not being able to control your own reactions.
It should be clear to you that a lack of sleep can have a serious effect on your quality of life. Make getting enough sleep a priority. This is often difficult with publications due and deadlines to meet, meaning you often work late into the night. Try to manage a healthy work-life balance and block out enough time for you to get and stay asleep. It might be difficult, but aren’t you used to coming up with solutions to difficult problems?