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Be Smarter with Sleep. How your Perfomance is affected by your sleeping habits

Posted Sep 11 2008 8:00pm
I cannot tell you how many times I have crammed for a test, all night- then awoken the next ready to write this test. Yeah Right. I wish I had been smarter about getting the right amount of sleep especially before a major test !

Every person needs a certain amount of sleep- and this number varies across the board. If a person who needs eight hours of sleep per night only gets six, their "performance" throughout the day will be affected. Just a simple two hours of sleep loss can be put into perspective the performance affected:

  • Decreased alertness
  • Decresed attention span
  • Reaction time slows down
  • Poorer judgement
  • Reduced awareness of the environment and situation
  • Reduced decision-making skills
  • Poorer memory
  • Reduced concentration
  • Increased likelihood of mentally ‘stalling’ or fixating on one thought
  • Increased likelihood of moodiness and bad temper
  • Reduced work efficiency
  • Loss of motivation
  • Errors of omission (making a mistake by forgetting to do something)
  • Errors of commission (making a mistake by doing something, but choosing the wrong option)
  • Microsleep (brief periods of involuntary sleeping that range from a few seconds to a few minutes in duration).

A tired person is more accident prone, judgement impaired and more likely to make mistakes and poor decisions. Staying awake for 24 hours leads to a reduced hand-to-eye coordination that is similar to having a blood alcohol content of 0.1. This is one of the reasons why a lack of sleep leads to road accidents and work injuries. Sleep deprivation can also affect a child’s school performance, and could be linked to increased risk of emotional problems such as depression. So when you put your "thinking cap" on, realize how important last night's sleep is.

Approximately 200,000 automobile crashes occur each year because of drivers' excessive sleepiness. Excessive daytime somnolence also produces impaired learning and cognition[4,5] and has been implicated in the occurrence of major catastrophes, such as the Three Mile Island Meltdown (1979), the erroneous launch of the Challenger space shuttle (1986), and the grounding of the Exxon Valdez (1989).From MedScape
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