by Lauren Ansell
The link below, Why those sleepless nights could increase your Alzheimer’s risk, documents the critical effects of sleep deprivation in September of 2018 by the Genetic Literacy Project. The Genetic Literacy Project “is to aid the public, media and policymakers in understanding the science and societal implications of human and agricultural genetic and biotechnology research and to promote science literacy.”
According to an email from Dr. Matchock, a lack of sleep can lead to “hypertension, a weakened immune system, high levels of the stress hormone cortisol, cancer, and finally an increased risk of accidents and a drop in reaction time and performance.” Robert Matchock is one of Penn State Altoona’s Associate Professor of Psychology. He has a doctorate from Penn State and found this article to be “a small sample size of only 20 human participants, but the results are intriguing.”
Sleeping causes conflicts in our lives through simple ways, like concentration while driving. Dr. Matchock said that “driving while sleep deprived is just as dangerous as driving while intoxicated!” Driving intoxicated is knowingly dangerous, therefore there are laws put into place to prevent drunk driving as much as possible.
Within the article, scientists collected beta amyloid levels for two nights: one night without sleep and another night where the subjects had a full night’s rest. Beta amyloid is a protein that is found in many Alzheimer’s brains, and seems to be a cause of this disease. After reading this article, Dr. Matchock said that a “lack of sleep has been associated with a variety of negative health issues, including hypertension, a weakened immune system, high levels of the stress hormone cortisol, cancer, and finally an increased risk of accidents and a drop in reaction time and performance.”
Sleepy people have a harder time driving, concentrating while learning, and maintaining their health. Like Dr. Matchock said, sleep deprivation can harm many aspects of a person’s health and “various types of learning and memory are impaired by even partial sleep deprivation.” Dr. Matchock said that “poor performance on college exams has also been linked to sleep deprivation.” The article and Penn State Altoona’s, Dr. Matchock, both support the theory that sleep deprivation can lead to more harm.