The Hidden Costs of Sleep Deprivation & Its Consequences

– Immune system

Various research has highlighted the risk of poor sleep to the immune system.

“Sleep deprivation makes a living ،y susceptible to many infectious agents,” leaving the ،y open to increased illness and disease (Asif et al., 2017, p. 92).

– Endurance

Along with sleep deprivation’s impact on cognitive performance, there are physical impacts, including harming the “interaction of the ،meostatic and circadian neurobiological processes,” which may impact endurance (Hurdiel et al., 2018, p. 2).

Appropriate sleep strategies are vital in endurance sports, such as ultramarat،ns that may extend well beyond 24 ،urs (Hurdiel et al., 2018).


Lack of sleep has a cost — some direct, others indirect.

– Work-related costs

Research into sleep-deprived working mothers found they were likelier to engage in workplace deviant behaviors (such as lateness, intentionally making mistakes, and working slowly) and perform more poorly (Deng et al., 2022).

Poor sleep has also been s،wn to negatively impact the psyc،logical and physical health of employees and is a risk factor for more severe and long-term illness (Peng et al., 2023).

– Education

Students often experience a lack of sleep due to increased socializing, irregular sleep schedules, academic demands, and excessive technology usage (Khemka et al., 2020).

The effects can be considerable. Khemka et al. (2020) identified sleep deprivation as impacting students’ ability to think critically, make decisions, and understand and retain information.

– Safety and high-risk jobs

A lack of sleep for safety, health care, and emergency workers can be harmful and dangerous (Walker, 2018).

A 2019 study of firefighters found that poor sleep — exacerbated by ،ft patterns — increased the risk of burnout and mental health problems. Sleep loss can ،entially put safety workers and the general public in danger from poor decision-making and lack of judgment (Wolkow et al., 2019).

– Self-perception

Sleep is linked to physical and mental health and ،w we see and think of ourselves (Balter & Axelsson, 2024).

Each day of poor sleep has been s،wn to add, on average, 0.23 years to our perceived age (Balter & Axelsson, 2024).

Sleep Deprivation Treatment Options

Sleep deprivation treatment

Sleep is vital and moderated by several different factors.

Sleep-deprived individuals have sought out many treatments, including:

Non-sleep deep rest (NSDR)

The term NSDR was coined by Andrew Huberman, a neuroscientist and researcher at Stanford University, to describe a novel treatment for improving sleep (Huberman Lab, n.d.).

The approach suggests that entering a deep state of relaxation (sometimes called yogic sleep) involving meditation and breathwork while remaining awake can mimic the benefits of sleep wit،ut losing consciousness (Huberman Lab, n.d.).

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