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How does sleep dictate our behavior?

  • 17 November 2017
  • By Shveta Bhagat

Like we have all experienced, sleep can either make or spoil our day. It holds such a strong grip on us. Infact any research on health you come across, will always find mention of the importance of sleep and its co-relation to well being. Sleep is key to feeling balanced and even sound behavior.

Studies have shown even partial sleep deprivation can cause irritability, anxiety and depression. It can ruin productivity, relations and slow down any scope for progress. Sleep is equally important for every age group. Infact kids need sufficient sleep in their growing years for developing their cognitive abilities. As we become adults and take on responsibilities, our mind turns into a monkey but all the same we need sleep to cope with life. It is not for nothing that books and videos have been made in the pursuit of helping people sleep better.

Research shows how less sleep can also make one more emotional and even increase the chances of dementia and Alzheimer’s in old age.

Brain imaging reveals how sleep deprivation can lead to irrational emotional behavior. The amygdala, an area deep in the brain which is our emotional control centre becomes atleast 60% more active, making one hyper emotional if not well rested.

A classic example of reckless behavior presented by someone whose sleep deprived is the gamblers syndrome. Apparently avid gamblers run low on sleep and make hasty moves and reckless choices in a state of sleeplessness that finally gets them in a trap. Emotions run high in a gamblers den and they take maximum risk when their brain is not actively working and is infact tired.

Another part of the brain that suffers from sleep deprivation is the hippocampus. This is a region that stores new memories. Now if someone is running short of sleep, their ability to memories anything new is that much harder. So for students or those trying to acquire new information it becomes even more pertinent to get a good night’s sleep.

Sleep deprivation has also been shown to affect parts of the brain related to reasoning and analyzing The parts of brain that ensure the same include- the prefrontal cortex (which governs executive functions), the amygdala (which regulates emotion), and the striatum (which regulates impulse control).

It is important for parents to instill the importance of sleep in a kid and fix a routine for sleep time and rise, for proper sleep health. Good sleep is one of the great things you could wish upon your child for a happy disposition and as an important skill to get through life.

Nothing like starting your day on a good mood to end it with an eagerness to reunite with your bed ready to drift into sleep most willingly after a productive day. Like all good habits, sleep too can be taught to kids for their benefit and long lasting bliss. If everybody is more relaxed, the chances of a happier community are that much higher. So, for a healthy environment sleep well!


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