Surprising Effects of Sleep Deprivation You May Not Know About

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Surprising Effects of Sleep Deprivation You May Not Know About


We all need sleep, and a lot of it, no matter what type of environment we may be in on any given day.  Managing a sleep schedule during a survival situation is just as important as attending to the other challenges that will come our way.  Let’s take a look at a few examples of what happens to the body and mind when we deprive ourselves of sleep, even for a short period of time. 

Loss of Concentration and Emotional Control

One of the biggest impacts of sleep deprivation during a survival situation is that we can lose our edge, literally.  It only takes one or two nights of little rest to throw the system that regulates concentration and emotions off-kilter.  Keep in mind that during a crisis, our ability to think our way through the situation at hand is one of the most important things to have at our disposal.  Emotional control is also essential during a crisis, and losing our emotions contributes to errors in judgment or perception which can make problems worse than they need to be.


Studies have shown that people who are sleep deprived for as little as one night can literally fall asleep while being awake at the same time.  This happens when the brain shuts down into a temporary sleep state that can last from around 10-30 seconds.  However, the eyes remain open and the individual appears to be fully-awake, even if they are literally asleep.  Imagine having one of these blackouts at the worst possible time and how it can impact your safety and security.  Think about what would happen if someone you’re with during a crisis also experienced a similar episode.  These are a lot more common that we think, and the biggest risk is that they often occur unnoticed.


Many of us have been so sleep-deprived that we kind of slide in and out of lucidity and dream states.  While these generally last for a couple of seconds, this deep-grogginess can influence almost every aspect of our behavior and ability to cope with daily life.  Hallucinations can also lead us to make poor decisions based on the misinformation that our brains are processing. 

Lack of Motivation

One of the biggest threats to safety that is caused by sleep deprivation is a lack of motivation.  Malaise, depression, a sense of being overwhelmed with even the basic thoughts or tasks are just a few examples of how being tired causes us focus solely on shutting down and getting sleep.  Again, all of us need to be at the top of our game during emergencies.  Trying to work through this natural defense mechanism that is attempting to get our bodies to rest during a crisis is one obstacle that nobody wants to face.

These are just a few examples of a very long list of problems that are caused by sleep deprivation.  Keep in mind that people have different levels of tolerance and resistance to the effects of sleep deprivation.  Some cope very well whereas others get frazzled very easily.  While it is true that survival situations do cause us to go into an adrenaline-rush that is designed to protect us, these rushes don’t last forever and we all crash at some point. 

Make sure that you establish ways to ensure that you and everyone else is able to get enough sleep, even when faced with some of the most difficult challenges you will encounter.