In the episode Night Terrors of The Star Trek: The Next Generation, the ship Enterprise and its crew go in search of missing science vessel USS Brattain in an uncharted binary star system and gets caught in a spatial phenomenon called The Tyken's Rift - a massive rupture in space into which energy is absorbed. The crew finds that they could escape the rift only by creating a tremendous explosion. Coincidentally, another telepathic alien species is also caught in the other side of the rift. Their telepathic messages cause the crew of the Enterprise to fail achieving REM (Rapid Eye Movement) Sleep. Consequentially, they become irritable and experience hallucinations. The two people who are unaffected - the ship's counsellor Deanna Troi and the second officer, Lt. Commander Data, an android - who work to escape the rift. Meanwhile, the episode beautifully explains the effects of sleep deprivation on one's psychology and physiology.
- The crew slowly starts to behave strangely and stops functioning normally
- They tend to quarrel and start internal fights
- They have difficulties in remembering and doing even the simplest of things
- They start hallucinating and go out of control.
The story finally ends on how they escaped the rift and got back to normalcy.
Sleep deprivation is one of the major reasons for people becoming chronically ill. People at a young age might not realise the effects immediately but it accumulates over the years and starts to show up as we age. The body could not take it any more that it weakens. As a result, there will be
- Anger / Irritability
- Heart Related Ailments
- Nervous issues
- Loss of appetite
- Heartburn / Acidity
- Hormonal issues
- And more
Millions of years of evolution made the human race a diurnal species, meaning the ones that are active during the day. It was mostly obeyed until the invention of electricity and light. That's when humans broke their circadian rhythm by allowing to be awake 24/7. These days, the smartphones also attribute to the loss of sleep because people endlessly stare at their phones for a very long time.
Organizations started working in multiple shifts putting people even in night shifts. As a result, the diurnal natural cycle went for a toss. Moreover, prolonged violations of the circadian rhythm also adversely affects the other two rhythms - ultradian rhythm (within a day) and infradian rhythm (more than a day) too.
In most people, the immediate indication or sign that the body is getting affected would be Heartburn / Acidity. Ignoring that and taking medication to suppress that will result in other side-effects over time.
Likewise, people lose their cognitive ability, find hard to focus/ concentrate or even remember the simplest of things. For example, you go to a grocery to buy some vegetables. Once there, you start thinking, "Why did I come here...? Ah, yes... Vegetables..."
It slowly starts to impair the productive work hours because people tend to become drowsy at unusual hours, say, like after eating lunch. It will be uncontrollable for them to stay awake then.
The effects are cumulative that, sometimes it goes to a point when you realize the problem and start to take remedial steps, it would already caused irreversible damage or condition to the body, say, a nervous system issue or a weaker heart etc.
The best way to avoid the effects and stay productive is get a good night sleep everyday. Let the whole system rejuvenate!
Sleep well and be productive!