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sleep deprivation

Sleep may just be the most important thing we do all day.  In fact, lack of sleep can be directly related to physical changes that affect your reflexes, your mental focus and even your mood.  Since 97% of us require seven to eight hours of sleep each night, even small amounts of sleep deprivation can have a significant impact on our ability to function. And not getting enough sleep can put you at risk.  Here’s why…

Sleep Loss Puts You And Everyone Around You At Risk

Sleep deprivation can be directly linked to some of the worst disasters in recent history.  Think, Exxon Valdez, Three Mile Island and Chernobyl.  But sleep loss is responsible for everyday public health hazards like car accidents, too.  In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that fatigue is a cause in 100,000 auto crashes and 1,550 crash-related deaths a year in the U.S.

Lack of sleep is also a work hazard to you and those around you.  Sleep deprivation leads to more on-the-job-injuries and equipment operating errors.   It also accounts for an annual increase in sick days for workers.

Sleep Loss Makes You Dumber

Sleep deprivation inhibits your ability to concentrate, reason and problem solve, making learning and retaining knowledge harder.  Sleep is a critical component in the body’s ability to store and retrieve information, and make use of that information.

Sleep Loss Can Make You Sick

Long tern sleep loss leads to disease risk.  Studies of the long-term sleep habits of those who were consistently sleep deprived found high instances of Diabetes, heart failure, high blood pressure and obesity.  Studies have not yet determined if correcting sleep loss will lessen the disease risk over time.

Sleep Loss Lowers Your Libido

Lack of energy, sleepiness and stress caused by sleep loss can sap your sex drive.  But researchers are now finding that lack of sleep may also reek havok with your sex hormones as well.  An article published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism suggest that men who are sleep deprived may have lower testosterone levels.

Sleep Loss Makes You Older, Quicker

Lack of sleep causes your body to release more cortisol, a stress hormone.  When excess cortisol is released over long periods, it can lead to skin thinning, causing wrinkles.  Sleep deprivation also causes the body to produce less human growth hormone, which the body uses to repair tissue as we sleep.  Less HGH in turn causes muscle wasting and bone loss.

Sleep Loss Makes You Depressed

Insomnia is often listed as the first symptom of depression.  And, in a 2007 study of 10,000 people, those who reported insomnia were 5 times more likely to also report depression.  In fact, sleep loss and depression may actually feed on each other.  In a 2005 poll by Sleep In America, people who reported depression also reported sleeping less than six hours per night.

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Sebrina Smith

Sebrina Zerkus Smith is a Southern Gal that has been scratching the writer’s itch for nearly 30 years. Her career began in Washington, D.C., in 1987, fresh out of collage and full of ideals. While plying her trade by day on congressional reps and senators, at night she burned the candle writing features for local newspapers and national magazines. She quickly realized that her southern upbringing gave her a unique and humorous voice that resonated with her readers. Eventually, she moved to Los Angeles where she pursued her dream of becoming a novelist and screenwriter. She paid her bills by working as a freelance writer for major marketing projects from studios such as CBS, NBC and Disney. Realizing that the future of writing lay with the internet, she was bitten by the blogging bug back in the 90’s, back before it was even called “blogging.” Then it was still just writing and trying to make a living. Through those early blogging years, Sebrina found passion and purpose. Over the past 10 years she has written articles for clients such as LightCues.com, MatterMore.com, Greenopolis, MacAddict, Yahoo, CNN and more. Today, Sebrina writes about a variety of topics including the Southern Experience, sustainability, clean water, food, gardening, sleep and her obsession with pugs. She is a regular paid contributor to WildOats.com as well as other entities. She now lives in Houston with her husband Jeff and their pug Newton. She hopes one day to complete her opus, Living Is Easy With Eyes Closed.