Sleep deprivation not only affects your mental state, it will affect your gait, including making it harder to keep your balance and more likely to run into objects. This means that the way you walk isn’t something that your body will automatically do without some cognitive assistance. We perceive our surroundings, and that is what informs our speed and movements. For example, if you are listening to music, you are more likely to adopt a gait that is in time with what you hear. This is the brain accounting for what you hear and implementing it in your walk.
You need about 8 hours of sleep a night.
The amount of sleep you need depends on your age:
- Adults are recommended to have at least seven hours of sleep.
- Teens should get between eight and 10 hours.
- Children should get between nine and 12 hours.
A recent study conducted on Brazilian college students who got only six hours of sleep a night for two full weeks and were then given a test on a treadmill. Half of the participants pull all-nighters the day before the test. This group was less able to keep step with a metronome. Students who worked to reduce the deficit by getting extra sleep on the weekends tended to perform better. However, trying to make up for missed sleep is not recommended as getting more or less sleep than usual by 90 minutes increases the risk of serious health problems, including heart diseases.
There are some professions that make it difficult to maintain a more regular sleep schedule. For shift workers, those in the military, or medical professionals, getting sleep compensation can help to improve gait, as well as other bodily functions. Since sleep deprivation is inevitable for some professions, sleep compensation is recommended instead of completely doing without sleep.
Exercise is the most recommended method of improving sleep. Avoiding caffeine (especially coffee) after 3 pm will help get the stimulant out of your system, as well as avoiding alcohol within a few hours of bedtime. Having a comfortable bed and pillows, turning off all screens an hour or two before sleep, and calming down (taking a shower, listening to music, or meditating can help) will help you to sleep better. Establishing good sleeping habits will help to improve your gait, as well as the other functions.
To read all of the details and recommendations, you can read the full article at Your Sleep Can Affect How You Walk, A New Study Says.