We all know we have basic needs to survive. Those are our basic human needs according to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Pyramid. Abraham Harold Maslow was an American psychologist who believed that people could be motivated based off of what they need. Thus he designed his infamous pyramid of needs. The belief is once a need is fulfilled the person will then look to fulfill another need higher up the pyramid until they reach self-actualization at the top of the pyramid. At the bottom of the pyramid are our most basic needs: food, water, warmth, and rest. If we can’t achieve these four things, then we can’t fulfill our safety, love, esteem, and self-actualization needs.
It makes sense then that when we can’t get sleep, we become cranky. For some of us, being called “cranky” is a nicer word for what we really turn into. Let’s face it, without rest, we’re exhausted. We become too tired to eat, drink, or even care about the world around us. Sleep is one of the most important aspects of our physiological needs. Without rest we can’t think or act properly. It’s kind of a big deal.
Without sleep you can literally die. This is not overreacting, or being dramatic. You can actually die from lack of sleep. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NIH), while we sleep our bodies are recovering and healing themselves. Lacking the accurate amount of sleep can actually increase your chances of having other diseases like obesity, heart diseases, kidney disease, and high blood pressure. Catching the right amount sleep helps keeps your body in balance and helps it control insulin levels.
Sleep not only physically affects you, it mentally affects you as well. We’ve all been so sleep deprived that we can’t even think about doing simple mathematic equations or remember our friend’s names correctly. When you suffer from lack of sleep, your performance suffers as well. Your reaction time slows down, which makes driving dangerous. According to NIH, you can also suffer from micro-sleep. These are moments when you briefly fall asleep for small amounts of time. This is similar to zoning out. An example would be if you ever drove somewhere but couldn’t recall the drive?
Getting sleep is a requirement for us to survive. However, sometimes it seems like we just can’t sleep. Not being able to sleep could be linked to another underlying medical condition, so you should always consult your doctor first. If you’re looking for a short-term solution to gain some sleep, you can try going to your local drug store and buying some sleeping aids. Sleep deprivation can escalate into serious problems that harm you and those around you. You wouldn’t want to end up in jail because you snapped at a police officer while in a sleep deprived state. Focus on your needs and fulfill the bottom level of your own Maslow pyramid.