What is Sleep Deprivation?

Slumber Seacrets shared, “Work eight hours and sleep eight hours and make sure that they are not the same hours.”

Those are the famous words of the prominent oil magnate T. Boone Pickens.

We all know about the eight-hour sleeping rule, but getting a good night’s sleep is sometimes impossible. The next day, all we can think about is going back to bed in the evening and catching up on sleep. As a result of sleep deprivation, we are tired and unable to function properly.

But what is sleep deprivation exactly? And is a single sleepless night enough to make us sleep-deprived?

Sleep deprivation happens when a lack of sleep prevents us from being alert and fully awake during the day. Depending on how long it goes on, it can be both acute and chronic. As such, even one night of poor sleep is enough for the symptoms of exhaustion to kick in.

How Much Sleep Do We Need?

Not all people need the same amount of sleep to wake up refreshed the next morning. The recommended sleep time varies based on your age.

Here is how much sleep people of different ages need, according to the National Sleep Foundation:

  • Newborns: 14-17 hours
  • Infants: 12-15 hours
  • Toddlers: 11-14 hours
  • Preschoolers: 10-13 hours
  • Schoolchildren: 9-11 hours
  • Teenagers: 8-10 hours
  • Adults up to 64 years: 7-9 hours
  • Adults over 65 years: 7-8 hours

As you can see, adults need at least seven hours of sleep each night. Anything less than seven hours may result in unrefreshing sleep and thus lead to chronic sleep deprivation.

According to the CDC, sleep deprivation is surprisingly common in the United States.

At any given time, more than 30% of adults get less than the recommended seven hours of sleep per night. What’s more, in some states and counties, this problem affects almost 50% of adults. Factors like gender, age, and race don’t seem to play a major part in this problem.

But the situation is much more alarming with high school students.

According to these statistics, almost 70% of them are dealing with sleep deprivation on a regular basis. The problem seems to be more prevalent in females (71.3%) than in males (66.4%). Also, research shows that deprivation of sleep becomes more common as they reach 11th and 12th grade.


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