Recently, The New York Times and The Huffington Post published articles about the effects of sleep deprivation. The New York Times article describes how the symptoms of chronic sleep deficit can sometimes disguise itself as symptoms of A.D.H.D. It is an eye opening article worthy of a mandate for change in sleep habits for adults and children alike. Certainly, not all children and adults diagnosed with A.D.H.D are chronically sleep deprived. However, the relationship between the increase in A.D.H.D diagnoses and the increase in sleep deficit cannot be ignored.
The Huffington Post article discusses results from a survey of 1,000 people (18 + older), conducted by an internal research team. The survey included questions about stress triggers and how stressful moments are managed. Although this survey may not necessarily be clinically or scientifically robust, the results are sound. The most common stress trigger is getting too little sleep.
Some people process sleep deprivation by being more lethargic and unmotivated and others may become hyper and unfocused. No matter how you process sleep deprivation, it is having a profound negative affect on how we function. For better or worse, there are a lot of factors that compete with sleep. Furthermore, sleep is complicated. Kids need delta sleep, which is the deep sleep they have needed since birth for growth and development. Delta sleep is also important in adulthood for rejuvenation. Research shows we are getting less sleep than we used to. Not everyone can afford to get more sleep at night. However, making better lifestyle choices during the day, including: limiting screen time, practicing mindfulness, eating healthy and getting exercise can help families move forward in the battle against sleep deprivation.