By Jana Kaplan
You're groggy, dizzy even. You can't see straight and you sure as hell can't keep your eyes (or your mind) focused on the screen in front of you. And you're pretty sure your boss has noticed. You want to assure her that you're not drunk and you got enough sleep. In fact, you got more than enough. Could that be the problem?
The Rumor: Sleeping too much is just as bad as not sleeping enough
We've all heard how important it is to get enough rest, even though most of us don't...
The amount of sleep a person needs also increases if he or she has been deprived of sleep in previous days. Getting too little sleep creates a "sleep debt," which is much like being overdrawn at a bank. Eventually, your body will demand that the debt be repaid. We don't seem to adapt to getting less sleep than we need, while we may get used to a sleep-depriving schedule, our judgment, reaction time, and other functions are still impaired.
A weakening of your immune system, increasing your chance of becoming sick
Increase in perception of pain
The Dangers of Sleep Deprivation
Many studies make it clear that sleep deprivation is dangerous. Sleep-deprived people who are tested by using a driving simulator or by performing a hand-eye coordination task perform as badly as or worse than those who are intoxicated.
Sleep deprivation also magnifies alcohol's effects on the body, so a fatigued person who drinks will become much more impaired than someone who is well rested.
Driver fatigue is responsible for an estimated 100,000 motor vehicle accidents and 1,550 deaths each year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Since drowsiness is the brain's last step before falling asleep, driving while drowsy can -- and often does -- lead to disaster. Caffeine and other stimulants cannot overcome the effects of severe sleep deprivation.
The National Sleep Foundation says you are probably too drowsy to drive safely if you: