There's no two ways about it. Sleep is a natural part of every person's life. So let's take a few minutes today as we celebrate the Festival of Sleep.
You probably already know that most of us, at some times in our lives, try to get by on as little sleep as possible, even though as adults we need approximately 8 hours of sleep every night. (Adolescents and children need at a minimum, 9 hours of sleep nightly.)
What we all need to remember however, is that sleep is something our bodies need to do; it is not an option. Sleep is important for our minds and bodies to function normally, and in fact, sleep appears to be necessary for our survival. According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), a person's health and wellbeing is dependent upon the activity of sleeping. We have come to understand that sleep is just as important to our bodies as diet and exercise.
The more we try and "burn the candle at both ends," and deprive our bodies of adequate amounts of sleep, the faster we add to our "sleep debt." If we accumulate a large amount of "sleep debt," then our ability to function during the daytime will be greatly compromised. Even one hour less of sleep every night, for several nights, can have a powerful negative effect on your mood, thought processes, decision making, and relationships, during your routine daily activities.
The end result of the accumulation of "sleep debt," is sleepiness at inappropriate times, creating potentially dangerous situations. According to the Department of Transportation (DOT), one to four percent of all highway crashes are due to sleepiness, especially in rural areas and four percent of these crashes are fatal.
There are numerous causes and consequences of sleep deprivation both in children/adolescents, and adults. I urge you to take some time and check out some of the resources at the end of this article. Sleepiness in adults, children and adolescents is a problem that has some very serious consequences. Drowsy driving and workplace accidents are serious consequences for adults. In children, it effects school performance, increases the risk of accidents and injuries while participating in playground activities, and their relationships with other children.
The MayoClinic.com Sleep Center