It is said that a third of our lives are spent asleep. The reason for this is not known even to the scientists. However, more evidence is being uncovered on the crucial role that sleep plays in the strengthening of memory and the facilitation of learning across all animal species. Homeless people or those living in temporary makeshift homes normally experience sleep problems. It might be due to the emotional distress caused by homelessness or due to the uncomfortable living conditions.
One major problem of sleep deprivation is the weakening of memory. This is according to the recording of Penelope Louis interview. During sleep, our memories are constantly evolving. The evolution of memory helps us to recombine information as events get reactivated in our brains while we are asleep. All these processes help us to strengthen our memories. Therefore, homeless people with sleep problems are highly susceptible to weakened memories. Pitcher & Huffcutt, (1996) argues that lack of sleep will affect their ability to carry out memory intensive tasks. Their concentration levels will also be weakened.
Sleep improves the brains capacity to store knowledge. This is very important in learning. Through sleep, the non-essential memory is cleared to create more storage capacity. When people are deprived of sleep, they tend to become forgetful. Learning something new therefore becomes difficult. For this reason it is important especially for school going children to get adequate sleep. Homeless children who lack enough sleep tend to perform poorly in school compared to those who have comfortable shelter.
The process of sleep makes our brains become clearer. When people are faced with a stressing issue, at times they normally sleep over it. When they get up, they tend to ponder over their issues with more ease. Lack of sleep hence reduces the ability to solve problems because the brains thinking capacity is diminished. This can cause stress that can interfere with their moods. They become easily irritable. Long term stress can eventually lead to depression.
In conclusion, a number of factors make individuals unable to obtain adequate sleep. It can be due to the brain being overactive, it can be due to sleeping at the wrong time of the day or still, it can be due to sleeping in a place that is not comfortable enough. The homeless and those living in temporary shelters are normally faced with the problem of uncomfortable sleeping conditions. Their shelters might either be too warm, or the sleeping surfaces might be uncomfortable. This causes insomnia. Some of the homeless people consume a lot of alcohol. Alcohol, even though it gets someone drowsy and sleepy, can cause episodes of sleep deprivation once the effect is gone. Addiction to alcohol can therefore lead to chronic sleep disorders to the addict.
Npr.org, (2016). NPR Media Player. Retrieved 17 February 2016, from http://www.npr.org/player/v2/mediaPlayer.html?action=1&t=1&islist=false&id=212276021&
Pbs.org, (2016). Sleep. Retrieved 17 February 2016, from http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/body/sleep.html
Pilcher, J. J., & Huffcutt, A. J. (1996). Effects of sleep deprivation on performance: a meta-analysis. Sleep: Journal of Sleep Research & Sleep Medicine.
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