Sleep Deprivation And Depression Essay

1635 words - 7 pages

Sleep Deprivation and Depression
In such a busy and competitive society as the U.S., most of us think that sleep is waste of time. We believe that minimize sleeping time can prevent us from falling behind because the world is still changing or someone is working so hard when we are sleeping.  In our pursuit of success or happiness, sleeping time probably is thing that we sacrifice the most. As we overemphasize the importance of being successful, we ignore or even forgot the importance of good sleep. Sleep deprivation, which simply means not having enough sleep, can bring up dire consequences (Dement & Vaughan, 2009). It can not only cause instant danger while driving but also be slow ...view middle of the document...

 We rarely connect depression to poor sleep on account of that it is a gradual process that usually develops under our awareness. First, sleep deprivation can disorient our focus with ease. We should be familiar with the following feelings when we lack of sleep, even though just a few hours: drowsiness, headache, fatigue, clumsiness and excessive emotionalism. All of these are mental distractions that will greatly disrupt us when we try to concentrate. In fact, whether we admit it or not, sleep is human’s fundamental need, “a basic drive of nature, like hunger” (Dement & Vaughan, 2009). The more you lack of it, the more you will demand for it; there is no way to get rid of it because inadequate sleep produces mental distractions. Even though we try to ignore it, we just cannot think of anything else. I believe that most of us have the experience of dozing off in class. Even though we try so hard to stay awake and take notes, we always fall asleep involuntarily. And after we become conscious, we find that the notes we just take is illegible.  This is how sleep deprivation hinders our work by depleting our energy and distracting our attention.
Nevertheless, the critical problem lies in that few of us recognize the extent to which sleep deprivation hurt our brain’s ability to function. We feel disappointed and depressed when we cannot perform as usual, but we never think it is normal since we are sleep deprived. In addition, even though we notice the negative effects of sleep loss, that we attempt to overcome them by paying more attention and putting more effort is of no use (Pilcher & Walters, 2009).In fact, the perceived increase in effort makes us over-estimate our performance while the increased effort is unproductive and we will still do badly. In the experiment conducted by sleep researcher June Pilcher, “ sleep-deprived participants performed significantly worse than the nondeprived participants on the cognitive tasks” while “ the sleep-deprived participants rated their estimated performance significantly higher than the nondeprived participants did” (Pilcher & Walters, 2009, abstract).The difference between self-estimated performance and the actual performance will make us frustrated and stressed. Subsequently, we become highly susceptible to depression duo to these negative mood states. As the anxiety level increases, the quality of sleep and performance will be impaired accordingly and thus everything become more challenging for us.  If we keep not performing as what we expect, without knowing the real cause, we begin to doubt ourselves and misjudge our abilities (Kirkey, 2009). Gradually, we will lose self-confidence and we may be probably stepping into the early stage of depression.
Of course, a pessimistic emotion is not the single contributor to depression. It can be also set off by a physical factor, which is the imbalance of brain chemicals. The way we respond to circumstances with thoughts of...

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