We’re all guilty of staying up a little later than we should on nights we have to get up early; I do it on a near-constant basis. Sleep is just as important to people as food and water, but everybody experiences sleep deprivation at some point or another. Sleep deprivation can come from not getting enough sleep or sleeping well enough. Some causes are obviously not going to bed at a decent time, being sick, changing work patterns, sleep disorders, medication, your sleep environment, not properly preparing for bed (i.e. drinking coffee and eating right before), and hilariously, children.
According to Better Health Victoria, “A sleepy fatigued person is accident prone, judgement impaired, and more likely to make mistakes and bad decisions.” Apparently, staying awake for 24 hours is similar to having a enough alcoholic drinks to be driving illegally (not that I condone ANY drinking and driving). Reaction time and hand-eye coordination drops when you don’t get enough sleep. Your memory sucks, you don’t want to do anything, you can’t focus on anything, and general ‘Oops’ moments can occur.
Not only do adults suffer from these problems with road accidents and work injuries, but children may have problems at school and become irritable or depressed. On the other hand, some sleep deprived children may act hyperactive, so it depends on your child.
So how much sleep? Children should be looking at 10 hours (I wish I could sleep like a baby…). Teens are also in the 10 hour range that will decrease to around 8 by the time they reach adulthood. Again, this all depends on each individual person; some people can function on 6 hours while others need 10.
Recap: get more good sleep = have less accidents. If you find yourself getting tired during the day, adjust your bedtime accordingly. Avoid food and drinks before bed, including water so you avoid getting up in the middle of the night. Try to keep distractions that will keep you awake out of the room and practice relaxation techniques. If you think you have a sleep disorder, seek help.
Info: Better Health Victoria: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/ConditionsAndTreatments/sleep-deprivation