36

In the past month, I've been really busy with the university and stuff, and I don't sleep as much as I used to. I usually sleep 4-5 hours a night.

I haven't been doing that extensively ( I always kept a good sleeping routine), but can the lack of sleep affect my health on the long term ?

27

In short, and according to the WGBH Educational Foundation and the Harvard Medical School Division of Sleep Medicine:

  • Lack of sleep can, in the short term, "affect judgment, mood, ability to learn and retain information, and may increase the risk of serious accidents and injury"

  • In the long term, it may "lead to a host of health problems including obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even early mortality". (We are speaking about an actual sleep deprivation here)

They have published a complete set of articles about that, the entry point is here.

16

I would also add that if you're consistently getting 4-5 hours of sleep (instead of about 8) then it's counterproductive for studying. Aside from affecting your ability to concentrate, there's also the effect on memory, especially memory consolidation for instance.

As a grad student, I know that it's a constant challenge balancing sleep and studying, but I would still urge you to consider this.

See a review here for example

Rasch, Björn and Jan Born. About Sleep's Role in Memory. Physiol Rev. 2013 Apr; 93(2): 681–766. doi: 10.1152/physrev.00032.2012

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