Research essay( Psychological effects of lack of sleep)

Research QuestionsWhat are the psychological effects of lack of sleep?Requirement:- write Abstract section for reasearch essay (should be one page)-Review the paper- should be in APA format- make grammar correction/ any other correction

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Running head: LACK OF SLEEP
Psychological effects of lack of sleep
The lack of sleep otherwise known as sleep deprivation refers to a condition where a
person lacks enough sleep. This condition is either last for a short time (acute) or extended
duration (chronic). In either case, a person gets much less sleep than they need to maintain
alertness. Symptoms of sleep deprivation include irritability, yawning, poor concentration,
craving carbohydrates, lower sex drive, and moodiness. Lack of sleep could be triggered by
many reasons like work commitments, binge watching TV, and social media. Besides selfinduced reasons, lack of sleep can also be caused by medical conditions like hormonal
imbalances and chronic ailments. The severity of sleep deprivation varies from one person to the
next and also due to age. For instance, older people can withstand bouts of sleep deprivation
much more than young children (Cross, 2018). According to the National Sleep Foundation
(NHS), the recommended sleep durations for different age sets are illustrated below:
Age group
Sleep duration per day
Newborns (0- 3 months)
14- 17 hours
Infants (4- 11 months)
12- 15 hours
Toddlers (1- 2 years)
11- 14 hours
Preschoolers (3- 5 years)
10- 13 hours
School-age children (6- 13 years)
9- 11 hours
Teenagers (14- 17 years)
8- 10 hours
Adults (18- 64 years)
7- 9 hours
Older adults (65 and above)
7- 8 hours
Psychological Effects of Lack of Sleep
As expected, the lack of enough sleeping time breeds numerous problems on the victim
and these effects can wreak havoc on a person’s life. Once again, the damaging effects of lack of
enough sleep vary from mild effects like headaches and moodiness to more profound ones like
mania. The most profound psychological effects of sleep deprivation are discussed below:
Microsleeps (MSs) are brief unintentional episodes of lost attention that are characterized by
extended closing of eyes, staring blankly at something or someone, and head nodding.
Scientifically, MSs are defined as a shift in electroencephalography (EEG) whereby the waking
alpha wave is replaced by theta wave. This mostly happens when a person who is deprived of
sleep is attempting to stay awake while doing monotonous tasks like driving, reading a book, or
watching television (Poudel et al., 2014). While these episodes only last about 60 seconds, they
can have detrimental effects on a person especially if they are behind the wheel or operating
machinery. Unfortunately, people who alternate between wakefulness and sleep may not even
realise it until something bad happens such as a car accident or a plane crash. MSs are hamper
decision making abilities and the ability to act fast to avert a bad incidence from occurring.
Social stress
Stress is an inevitable part of life at work, in social settings, and even at home. Emotional
regulation is a highly intense process where people evaluate their feelings and try to understand
from different angles (Ludden, 2017). This helps them overcome any unpleasantness and equips
them with tools to cope when faced with a similar problem in future. However, such thoughtful
processes are out of reach for sleep deprived individuals and therefore, social conflict becomes
commonplace. More conflict yields more stress which compounds the problem further and this
affects the person’s ability to maintain relationships or hold down a job.
Short-term memory loss
Working memory or short term memory is responsible for conspicuous perceptions and linguistic
reasoning. Different types of information are stored in different systems to make accessibility
easier. The central executive allocates information to the subsystems that comprise working
memory and is responsible for cognitive tasks like solving problems. The phonological loop
stores data of written or spoken material such as phone numbers, while the visuospatial
sketchpad processes data in visual format (Baddeley, 1986). The functioning of all these
subsystems is heavily dependent on proper rest within a 24-hour cycle. Failure to get enough
sleep is directly associated with decreased working memory which makes even the simplest tasks
difficult to perform. For example, remembering to take prescriptions when required.
Long-term memory loss
Similar to what happens to short term memory when we don’t get enough sleep, the long term
memory is negatively impacted. Continued lack of sleep inhibits the brains ability to consolidate
memories such that they are easily retrievable whenever we demand them in future. Since the
brain organizes memories and thoughts when we are in sleep mode, deprivation of sleep means
the brain is unable to perform effectively. In the long run, the person will have trouble recounting
events in their past as they were not properly stored in the memory system. Moreover, learning
becomes difficult as the brain doesn’t have time to process all information gathered during the
waking hours. Therefore, students who knowingly don’t get enough sleep find it difficult to
remember concepts learnt in class and this can causes undue stress on their emotional wellbeing.
Personal perception
Good interactions with others rely on our ability to read their emotional facial expressions.
People who don’t get enough sleep have difficulty judging the facial expressions of others
whether these expressions depict happy or sad moods. Moreso, lack of enough sleep makes a
person prone to being overly judgmental and succumbing to biased thinking. For instance, the
person may assume that a shabbily dressed passenger on a train is a drug addict or criminal.
While this could turn out as true, a sleep deprived person is more likely to pass judgment based
merely on stereotypes. Unfortunately, the inability to read people’s emotions and applying biased
thinking could affect one’s relationships with coworkers and even reduce productivity levels.
Degradation of brain cells
It is estimated that about 40 million Americans do not get enough sleep and this is mainly
attributed to work pressure and demands. Researchers from Uppsala University in Sweden
derived that lack of sleep can augment levels of molecules neuron-specific enolase (NSE) and
S100 calcium-binding protein B (S-100B). When these molecules flood the blood circulation
system, they signify damage to brain tissue or a problem in the brain-blood carrier, or both
scenarios. Christian Benedict- the lead author of this groundbreaking study- surmised that lack of
enough sleep in men trigger neurodegenerative processes (Benedict et al., 2014).
Ruining relationships
Sleeping well has a positive impact on our social relationships. This could be romantic
relationships with partners, relationships with children, and close family members. When one
partner is unable to sleep well, they are likely to be cranky the next day and when this occurs
often, it may cause a strain in the marriage or relationship. The same applies to parent-children
relationships especially in cases where a mother is nurturing young children. Lack of enough
sleep causes irritability and parents may be more inclined to mete out punishment when children
act out. Sleep disturbance among couples is a commonality after welcoming a newborn and this
can leave parents susceptible to mood and cognition fluctuations (Medina et al., 2009). Parents,
especially new mothers, are advised to seek help so they can get a solid shut eye per day.
When sleep deprivation is severe, the victim may experience mania which is characterized by
paranoia, hallucination, psychosis, increased aggression, and episodes of high energy. Mania or
manic syndrome is understood as a state of hyperactivity and is often viewed as mirroring
depression. The manic mood can either be irritable or euphoric leading to actions that regular
people would consider dangerous or insane (Behrman, 2002). The victim is likely to experience
racing thoughts, increase in goal-oriented activity, and sometimes an inflated sense of selfesteem. Even though mania has been reported to enhance productivity, the downside is not a
pretty site to witness. Risky behavior and heightened distractibility are some of the negative
outcomes of mania that have adverse effects on the victim’s life.
Adopting bad habits
Mounting sleep debt affects a person’s ability to reason and control their actions. Therefore, he
or she becomes prone to repeating the same actions when faced with similar situations. For
example, if a stressful day at work leads you to the bar, this can easily become a habit even when
the stress is manageable.
Besides the above effects, there is a host of other psychological effects associated with
lack of sleep such as hand tremor, obesity, temper tantrums, developing false memory, violent
behaviour, confusion, etc. Ultimately, sleep is a crucial part of emotional and physical wellbeing
and should be prioritized as opposed to being viewed as time wasting. Getting enough sleep
triggers a recovery process that ensures optimal functioning during subsequent wakefulness
(Vyazovskiy & Delogu, 2014). People experiencing sleep disturbances should seek professional
assistance to negate the dire psychological effects of sleep deprivation. Also, understanding the
counterproductive nature of sleep deprivation is essential in promoting change of attitudes.
Baddeley, A. D. (1986). Working memory. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Behrman, Andy (2002). Electroboy: A Memoir of Mania. Random House Trade Paperbacks.
pp. Preface: Flying High. ISBN 978-0-8129-6708-1.
Benedict C, Cedernaes J, Giedraitis V et al. (2014). Acute Sleep Deprivation Increases Serum
Levels of Neuron-Specific Enolase (NSE) and S100 Calcium-Binding Protein B (S100B) in Healthy Young Men. Sleep.
Cross, K. (2018). What’s to know about sleep deprivation? Healthline Media UK Ltd. Retrieved
April 21, 2018 from
Ludden, D. (2017). How Lack of Sleep Affects Your Social Life. Psychology Today. Retrieved
April 21, 2018 from
Medina, A.M., Lederhos C.L., Lillis T.A. (2009). Sleep disruption and decline in marital
satisfaction across the transition to parenthood. Fam Syst Health. doi: 10.1037/a0015762.
Poudel, G.R., Innes, C. R. H., Bones, P.J.. Watts, R., Jones, R. D. (2014). “Losing the struggle to
stay awake: divergent thalamic and cortical activity during microsleeps”. Human Brain
Mapping. doi:10.1002/hbm.22178.
Vyazovskiy, V.V. & Delogu, A. (2014). NREM and REM Sleep: Complementary Roles in
Recovery after Wakefulness. The Neuroscientist, Vol. 20(3) 203-219, DOI:

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