Effects of Sleep Deprivation

Sleep is an important and inevitable activity, and humans need a minimum of eight to nine hours of sleep each night in order to stay healthy. However, in this fast-paced life and industrialized world, sleep has become more of a luxury than a necessity. Sleep can be defined as a state of unconsciousness during which a body rests naturally. Sleep is essential for regenerating the body cells, and lack of appropriate sleep could lead to numerous health problems, sometimes even death.

Sleep is an important natural phenomenon, the lack of which can lead to several serious problems of impaired psychological and physical activity. Appropriate hours of sleep are crucial to a healthy state of mind and body, and sleep deprivation could result in innumerable bodily troubles. The importance of sleep can be gauged by the numerous researches and studies focusing on the topic and the negative implications of sleep on individuals. Chiara Cirelli (2008), in his article “Is Sleep Essential,” affirms that the most immediate and unavoidable effect of sleep deprivation is cognitive impairment. Lack of sleep has the potential to adversely affect the overall performance of individuals, which has a direct negative impact on the academic performance of students, higher fatigue among all individuals, increased stress levels which ultimately lead to reduced mental agility. All this would automatically lead to impaired ability to function as the health of individuals suffers tremendously due to lack of sleep.

The increase in stress and fatigue reduces alertness among individuals, especially students, who are then likely to perform poorly at school. Gomes et al. (2002) affirm that lower academic results have a direct co-relation with less sleep duration. The rest which the brain gains through sleep makes it ready and prepared to accept, process, and produce information, and sleep-deprived individuals have reduced alertness with respect to its effect on the prefrontal cortex. With the reduced level of concentration, it is likely that the individual will not perform favorably.

Similarly, the American College Health Association in 2005 gathers that college students have “Consistently ranked sleep difficulties as the third most common impediment to academic performance.” Research by the scientists of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (2007) has found that sleep deprivation leads to an impairment of mental and physical performance and a reduced ability to perform mathematical calculations. There are innumerable studies that suggest that sleep is important for humans, and the lack of it can have serious repercussions. Thus we see that sleep deprivation has a direct negative impact on the life and health of individuals causing several psychological problems, including fatigue, stress, impairment of cognitive and emotional functions, and many other side effects, all of which can adversely hamper the academic and normal life of individuals.


Cirelli, C., (2008). “Is sleep essential?” Web.

Gomes, A. A., Tavares, J. and Azevedo, M. H., (2002). “Sleep-wake patterns and academic performance in university students.” Web.

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke [NINDS], (2007). “Brain basics: Understanding sleep.” Web.

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