Effects of sleep loss

Sleep loss results in significant performance impairment. Some aspects of our performance are affected more than others, as are our abilities to understand and react to the world around us. When we have had less sleep than we need, we struggle with problem solving, concentration, focusing our attention, performing simple calculations, processing and remembering information. Sleep-deprived people are also poor communicators, irritable and find it more difficult to control their emotions. If the situation continues, sleep-deprivation can lead to reduced morale, increased sickness rates and lower job satisfaction. All of us differ slightly in the time of day at which we will perform best in demanding mental or physical tasks, a large faction of this depends on whether we are a ‘morning’ or ‘evening’ type (also known as ‘larks’ or ‘owls’). Morning types have been demonstrated to be less suited to the nightshift than evening types, but they perform better on a morning shift. For most people, we perform best in the middle of the day, and least well in the early morning or late evening.