What can the consequences of sleep loss for adults and children be?
Chronic sleep deprivation in adults has been well documented in a number of studies. What we know is that sleep loss leads to a bad mood, concentration problems, vision problems, longer reaction time, micro-sleep during the day which can affect daily activities or even cause risk (e.g. when driving), memory lapses, schematic thinking leading to making bad decisions, and emotional disturbances, e.g. troubled interpersonal relations or increased aggression. Sleep deprivation can often cause negative changes to our immune system, increase the risk of obesity, diabetes or heart diseases. After 20–25 hours without sleep, the decreased general performance is comparable to a blood alcohol level of 0.10%. The consequences of chronic sleep deprivation or light sleep for a few days in a row accumulate and have similar effects to a single sleeplessness period lasting for several dozen hours.
More and more studies also show that interrupted or insufficient sleep can have serious, far-reaching consequences (partly similar to the effects in adults) for babies: a negative influence on their cognitive development (e.g. learning, memory consolidation), mood regulation (e.g. chronic irritability, poor emotional regulation), attention and behaviour (e.g. aggression, hyperactivity, poor impulse control), health (metabolism and immunity, accidental injuries) and general well-being.