While research is still short on how chronic sleep deprivation, as opposed to one night of sleep deprivation, would affect these signals, the study’s results are otherwise clear: Getting enough shut-eye makes it much easier to pay attention than if you're totally sleep deprived. Dr. Raj Dasgupta, MD, a fellow of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and assistant professor of clinical medicine at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, says the results and need for the study makes sense, especially for teenagers looking for answers.
“It shouldn’t be that surprising when you look at where society is going in terms of how we’re treating sleep,” he told Teen Vogue. “Some of the phrases we’re hearing and telling kids, like, ‘I can sleep when I’m dead,’ ‘the early bird gets the worm,’ and a new one, ‘sleep is a poor substitute for caffeine' — these set a poor precedent. If you look at the timeline, since the 1960s, our national total sleep time is going down and down.”
Dr. Dasgupta says a lack of sleep, called a sleep debt, can lead to tons of problems, including poor metabolism and insulin resistance. Insulin resistance can lead to serious problems, like diabetes, but Dr. Dasgupta points out that not getting enough Zzs can also mess with things like acne and even a lowered immune system.