Pulling an all-nighter in college to finish a last minute paper is normal. However, irregular sleeping habits and long-term sleep loss can have a major affect on one’s brain function and physical activity.
A study from the National Sleep Foundation titled “How Much Sleep Do You Really Need?” showed that lack of sleep can alter activity in some parts of the brain. This makes it harder to make decisions and control emotions.
“It’s about the quality of sleep,” said Bernadette Garcia, clinical sleep specialist for REM Sleep Labs in Corona, Calif. “If you sleep four to five hours but are not in a deep, uninterrupted sleep, the body is not going to be able to repair and you are going to feel like you didn’t sleep at all.”
It is vital to get enough quality sleep during the night. The amount of sleep is based on the individual’s needs, but it is recommended by the National Sleep Foundation to get at least eight hours of sleep every night.
Sleep also plays an important role in physical health, and sleep contributes to the healing of the heart and blood vessels. Lack of sleep can have long-term damages such as heart disease, kidney disease and diabetes.