What is Sleep Deprivation? Sleep deprivation is a common concern among those who regularly have trouble sleeping, and those who have occasional trouble sleeping. While sleep deprivation comes in several different forms based on how long the episode has been occurring and how severe the symptoms are, all types can be detrimental to your long term health and well-being. For those who suffer from partial sleep deprivation, problems typically become apparent after not getting 100% of the sleep that the body needs. While you may not be at your best the day after not getting enough sleep, you’ll still be able to functional relatively normally. For long-term sufferers of partial sleep deprivation and those who get less sleep than they need for several months or even years at a time, the results can be deadly. Over the years, studies looking at sleep deprivation have found that in the long run, people who reported long periods of substantial sleep deprivation actually had shorter life spans than those who regularly got 7-8 hours of sleep each night. It has also been suggested that those who don’t get enough sleep on a regular basis tend to make less, get promoted at work less often, and face a higher risk of developing life threatening diseases. All Healthy Lifestyles Include Getting Enough Sleep Everyone knows what it’s like to not get enough sleep. Aside from feeling groggy, however, the long term effects of not getting enough sleep should make poor sleepers think twice about their sleeping habits. Getting enough sleep is just as important as eating well and participating in activities designed to improve your fitness, so always be aware of how much sleep you are getting and start working on ways to get more when you notice you are slipping. Getting enough sleep in order to prevent developing a “sleep debt” over time, where the effects of not getting enough sleep over a long period build up and lead to potential short term and long term health risks, is also important. When it comes to preventing a sleep debt from developing, the key is consistency. Being consistent about what time you go to bed and what time you wake up is important, although it’s ok to stay up later or get up a little late here or there. The trick is to make sure you get enough sleep the next day to make up for it. Benefits of Regular Sleep The good news about sleep deprivation is that over time, you can retrain your body to get the regular, quality sleep that it needs. Many individuals find that once they have gotten into a healthy lifestyle that involves getting regular sleep, the health effects they felt from their built up sleep debt sleep fall away. Instead, they are often left with some very important benefits, such as improved memory, more energy and an overall increased feeling of alertness. Getting enough sleep and avoiding the harmful effects of long term sleep deprivation will also lead to better overall health, and an increased enjoyment of life.