Definition - What does Sleep Deprivation mean?
Sleep deprivation is a deficiency of adequate sleep needed to regulate normal and healthy biological, physiological, and psychological functions and processes. For many people, sleep is unconsciously or intentionally neglected due to busy lifestyles encompassing personal and professional obligations and priorities. However, according to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), individuals who fail to receive the suggested amount of sleep corresponding to their age group are susceptible to health risks including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, and obesity. Additionally, individuals with sleep deprivation will often have compromised performance at their workplace.
WorkplaceTesting explains Sleep Deprivation
Although it is common for people to experience occasional sleepless nights, persistent sleep deprivation can lead to accumulated sleep debt. The disproportion between the recommended eight hours rest and an ongoing sleep-deprived schedule causes the body to compensate the difference with episodes of microsleep. Because sleep is an essential homeostatic mechanism, microsleep can happen as an involuntary impulse while an individual remains conscious or awake.
Common symptoms associated with sleep deprivation include chronic fatigue, cognitive impairments, depression, erratic behavior, irritability, memory absorption and/or retention issues, and weight gain. For employers, a sleep-deprived workforce can result in decreased morale, economic hurdles, technical oversights, and ultimately checked labor production. Workplace accidents and/or incidents can escalate where injuries become frequent, jeopardizing employee health and safety.
Sleep deprivation can be remedied automatically by individuals changing their sleep habits, using relaxation exercises, and eliminating stimulants before bed (i.e. caffeine, electronics). Many people can also benefit from medication and/or cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to focus on positive introspection, or nurturing healthy emotions and thoughts.