The young girl nods off in the middle of her history lecture as she struggles to keep her eyes open after pulling a 12 hour shift at work and staying up late to finish a class project. The father downs his fourth cup of coffee as he sits at his desk, trying to shake the sleepy haze that clouds his mind. The mother zones out as she stands at the kitchen sink washing dishes. The young boy fights off sleep as he drives to his early morning class after pulling a late-night shift at the drive-through restaurant. These are not at all uncommon situations, and there are many more just like them. Whether from a personal experience, observing someone else, or hearing a friend talk about it, most people have had some sort of encounter with the effects of long-term sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation is a term most are familiar with, some more so than others, but the real mystery is in how it impacts our lives; the issue of sleep deprivation boils down to whether or not sleep deprivation is harmful, what leads to sleep deprivation, and what steps can be taken to prevent its occurrence.
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