Research shows that one in three of us don’t get enough sleep on a regular basis, and chronic sleep-deprivation is hard on our health and our brain. In fact, anyone who gets 6-hours of sleep or less has the same thinking skills as someone that’s stayed awake for 48 hours.
So, how can you tell if you’re sleep-deprived?
First: You find it hard to concentrate and make decisions. A tired brain conserves brainpower, which means, it can barely handle one thing at a time. So you’ll lack the focus to see the entire situation, or the big picture, and how things affect it. That’s why a lack of sleep is associated with making risky decisions. For example, you may decide you have enough time to drive across the train tracks before the train comes. But your response time and accuracy is reduced, and you may not think things through and realize you’re better off waiting for the train to pass.
Another sign you’re sleep-deprived: Weird things make you cry. If sappy TV commercials bring you to tears more easily, blame it on a lack of sleep, it can leave us unable to properly control our emotions.That’s because a tired brain taps into negative memories and emotions more readily. Plus, we never really grow out of the response we have as babies, where being tired makes us cranky and weepy.
The final way to tell you’re sleep-deprived: You can’t remember what you learned. Sleep is what consolidates memories. It’s when the things we learn throughout the day get fixed in our minds. So without sleep, memories won’t stick and you’ll forget what you learned. That’s why we always tell students, staying up all night cramming for a test isn’t worth it. You’re better off studying then sleeping, so you can retain what you learned.