Getting better sleep is something everyone should focus on, but far too many people take it for granted. You might even brag about how little sleep you get, but this it the very last thing you should be bragging about.
Sleep is an integral part of your health and wellness. It gives you more energy, helps you stay focused throughout the day, makes you a happier and more balanced person.
When you neglect your sleep, you continue having less energy, less concentration, lower productivity, and eventually develop mental and physical effects of sleep deprivation like headaches, digestive issues, brain fog, and increased anxiety and depression.
Sleep is critical to the maintenance of an individual’s health. Lack of proper rest can lead to a variety of problems impacting a stricken individual’s physical and mental well-being over the long and short-term.
The problems with not getting enough sleep are long and complicated, but they all start with the effects sleep deprivation has on your mind and body.
From worsening health problems and affecting your energy level throughout the day, to increasing feelings of anxiety and stress, it is imperative that you learn how it affects you and what you can do about it.
How Is Sleep Deprivation Defined?
Sleep deprivation is defined by not only lacking appropriate rest but not receiving the necessary total sleep that occurs when someone reaches a complete state of rest.
Neglected sleep is hard to quantify. The average person needs roughly eight hours of sleep per night. However, sleep requirements can vary with age and be dependent upon several other factors such as the individual in question’s health, life circumstances and general health.
Keep in mind sleep deprivation and insomnia can include having trouble falling asleep, as well as staying asleep. Even if you fall asleep quickly, waking up every hour or so is not normal, and is keeping you from a deep sleep that your body and mind needs for proper rest.
Continue reading if you want to know more about sleep deprivation, how to recognize the signs, and learn about the potential side effects.
- The Causes of Sleep Deprivation
Deprived sleep could be precipitated by numerous physical, medical and environmental factors. Before looking at the effects of sleep deprivation, it is important to have a good understanding of why this could be happening.
Keep in mind there are many potential causes for sleep deprivation, from anxiety and depression, to various health conditions.
Other causes could simply be habits or lifestyle choices that are very easy to fix.
Here are some of the most common causes for sleep deprivation.
Underlying Health Problems
Several medical maladies might cause sleep disruptions due to the symptoms they produce. The good news is that if any of these medical conditions sound familiar to you, you know that treating the medical condition might in return help to treat the sleep issues you are having.
Common conditions include:
Sleep Apnea – With sleep apnea, you experience breathing disturbances at night, which often shock your body awake. This can happen whether you are fully aware of it or not.
Acid Reflux – You might have discomfort at night as soon as you lay down, which is when acid reflux symptoms worsen. Luckily, treatments are readily available.
Hormonal Disorders – Many people experience sleep issues when they are dealing with hormonal disorders or hormonal imbalances. A simple blood test from your doctor can help you get diagnosed for these.
Stress can take various forms and be precipitated by a variety of environmental, professional and personal causes. Everyone deals with a certain amount of stress, so while you can’t always avoid it entirely, you should at least be able to reduce it. Try to find the cause of your stress first – whether it is from personal relationships, work, or home life.
Once you have narrowed down the main sources of your stress, you can try to eliminate them, or at least learn how to manage them better. This might mean finding enough time for self-care, avoiding certain toxic people leading to your stress, or working on healthier daily habits to overcome it.
Certain medications contain ingredients that might enhance states of wakefulness because they contain stimulant drugs or produce sleep-disrupting side effects. It is a good idea to consider what medications you are currently taking and determine if they might be affecting your sleep.
Some medications might include:
Cold or flu medications
If you take any of these regularly, talk to your doctor about possible alternatives.
Certain Foods and Beverages
Some foods contain stimulating substances like caffeine such as coffee, tea, soda and chocolate. Stimulants, especially if ingested in the evening or prior to said individual’s regular bedtime, sleep deprivation could result.
Remember it is not just caffeinated coffee or soft drinks that might keep you from sleeping at night. It could be something as simple as chocolate for dessert, which is a known stimulant.
A Poor Diet
Poor eating habits or the consumption of non-nutritious foods could elicit fluctuations in an individual’s blood sugar. Blood sugar variations, especially when they occur during the evening or during someone’s regular sleeping hours could cause periods of hunger that interrupt rest cycles.
Signs and Symptoms of Sleep Deprivation
Repeated incidents of deprived sleep could manifest in acute symptoms such as yawning, tiredness, reduced reflexes, concentration difficulties, mood swings and memory problems. That said, the condition could also result in potentially more serious physical and mental medical issues.
2. Physical Effects of Sleep Deprivation
A continual lack of adequate rest could have an adverse impact on many bodily systems and ultimately result in a wide range of physical conditions.
Sleep deprivation doesn’t just cause fatigue and low energy during the day, though you should definitely consider these common effects. It can actually be detrimental to your health and require any number of treatments – sometimes even hospitalization.
Here are some of the most common physical effects of being deprived of proper sleep:
Weakened Immune System
To start with, sleep deprivation could be weakening your immune system. Your body’s entire system needs to work together to battle different illnesses, and this includes getting enough rest. Without it, you are potentially putting your immune system in jeopardy.
Why is this a problem? Because with a weakened immune system, you then run a higher risk of illnesses like a cold and flu, infections, and viruses.
Heart and Blood Pressure Issues
Your cardiovascular system can also be affected by not sleeping properly. Your blood and heart vessels need proper rest to keep functioning normally, so when you deny this basic bodily system enough sleep, you are increasing cardiovascular issues.
While it might not cause high blood pressure and heart problems on its own, it can exacerbate current cardiovascular issues and raise your risk for a number of related complications.
Hormonal imbalances might not seem like a big problem, but they can eventually lead to more serious issues down the line. You might struggle with thyroid diseases, diabetes, or other endocrine diseases all because you are denying your body enough sleep
3. Is Sleep Deprivation all about insomnia?
Sleep deprivation occurs while both you or some outside condition takes away the OPPORTUNITY to sleep.
Insomnia occurs if you have lots of possibility to sleep, however you can’t.
Insomnia refers back to the incapacity to sleep adequately, both in period or quality, regardless of the possibility to sleep. On the opposite hand, sleep deprivation refers to curtailed sleep period because of an externally imposed limit of the possibility to sleep.