Sleep deprivation: How it affects our memory, mood, and overall performance

We all generally know that sleep is a significant factor in the well-being of our health. Yes, we know that as a fact. But we always ignore this fact and cut short our sleep time. There is not a single iota of doubt that modern-day life is so stressful. We are still anxious about our career, family demands. This anxiety keeps us awake at night. Sometimes to match those demands, we have to make space for those demands in our already tight-knit daily schedule.

So now, when we cannot cut short other duties, to meet those extra demands, we require additional time in our daily schedule. Now the question is, how can we get those extra minutes in our regular schedule? Thus automatically, we see sleeping time as a non-productive time. So to make that time productive, we cut short our daily sleep. Even because of our over-dependence on our smartphones or various video streaming sites like NETFLIX or Amazon Prime, we casually stay awake till late at night. Also, we cannot ignore the intoxicating mobile games like PUBG, which keeps us sleepless night after night.

What is memory? 

So before indulging in the fact how memory and sleep are interlinked, we need to know what we mean by making memories. First of all, to make something a memory, the information must be run through three functions.

Acquisition: an acquisition means when you are learning or experiencing something. If you pay attention to that information, then it will be acquired by you.

Consolidation: the information that you have acquired through learning or experience will be processed by your brain and will be consolidated or stick to your brain.

Recall: now if you can access that consolidated memory in future use, that means you can recall that acquired information.

Now the process of acquisition and recall occur when we are awake or when we are conscious. But researchers have found that the function of consolidating the information occurs when we are asleep. So it is a no brainer that less sleep means less time your brain will get to combine that information.

 

Memory and sleep: how are they interlinked? 

So the primary thing that we can deduce from these facts as mentioned earlier that sleep deprivation has become normal to our daily life. What we do not know is that these regular sleep deprivation negatively affect our memory. To put it in simple terms, researchers have found that sleep deprivation affects our learning ability. How so? It can be described by calling attention to two factors

Lack of focus and concentration: 

If a person is deprived of sleep, then he or she will lose his or her optimal power of focusing on a matter or attention. More the loss of attention power, more problems will be created in remembering things.

Lack of time in processing information in the brain:

On the other hand, when we are asleep, our brain consolidates our memories. That means all the data that we have acquired throughout the day are processed by the brain when we are sleeping. That is when our memory sticks to our brain. If you ignore our sleep, then our brain will not get enough time to consolidate our memory. That means more minds will be left behind or will not stick to our brains. Thus sleep deprivation, in turn, reduces our power of remembering something correctly.

Mood and sleep: how are they interlinked? 

We always feel fresh and enliven after a good night’s sound sleep. You are automatically in a good mood after sleep because you feel refreshed. So you might ask why do we think refreshed or always in a good spirit after a good night’s sleep. The cause of this factor is science. When we sleep, our brain regulates the flow of feel-good hormones like dopamine, epinephrine, and serotonin in our body. So the surge of these happy hormones means we will feel refreshed, comfortable, confident, and positive. So a sound sleep at night changes our outlook or perspective of the world. Also, these happy hormones relax our bodies and keep us away from anxiety or tension or at least fight them. So if you have sufficient time for REM sleep in the night, then it will positively affect your mood.

Performance and sleep: how are they interlinked? 

Decision-making power and judgment:

A one night’s lack of sleep hampers the analysis and decision making power of the subject. So this negatively affects the productivity and performance of the item in his workplace. They can no longer appropriately assess a situation. They become unable to plan suitably or choose the correct way of behavior.

Attention and concentration:

We have already discussed the lack of sleep toys with our focus and concentration. So lack of awareness and concentration automatically decreases our performance: be it in the workplace or study.

Reflexes:

Lack of sleep also toys with our reflexes. It can be so much dangerous if you work with heavy machinery or when you drive something. Apart from layman, for athletes or players, sleep deprivation can make their performance graph downward. Studies had shown that an athlete who took a short nap before their performance had performed better.

Immune system:

Sleep is a significant factor for our healthy immune system. Sleep helps in regulating our body temperature, feel-good hormones throughout our body. We are exposed to many germs and viruses throughout the day. But in sleep, our body fights with those infections. So it ensures our healthy immune system ward off those germs and infections we are exposed to throughout the day.

It also helps with appetite and digestion:

As we have already understood how a good night’s sleep regulates our body function properly, we can safely say that it regulates enzymes properly. Thus sleep in turn helps us in having proper digestion and appetite.

All these functions cumulatively help in improving our performance. The required duration of sleep varies from person to person or depends on their age. Yet researchers have shown that an adult is required seven to nine hours of sleep daily. So without wasting any time, make it a routine, and go to bed at the same time every night.

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