- Sleep deprivation refers to less than seven-hour sleep per night, which can lead to immediate and long-term physical and mental health problems.
- Some of the health issues caused because of sleep deprivation include Memory issues, Trouble with thinking and concentration, accidents, mood change, weakened immunity, and poor balance.
Sleep deprivation refers to less than seven hour sleep per night for adult and teenagers. It is more prevalent problem in modern America and even more teenagers are suffering from lack of sleep.
Not getting enough sleep can lead to immediate and long-term physical and mental health problems. The lack of sleep directly affects how a person thinks and feels as well as also leads to various chronic conditions.
The term sleep deprivation is often used to describe factors that reduce quality and/or quantity of sleep and keep a person from waking up refreshed. Some of the health issues caused because of sleep deprivation include Memory issues, Trouble with thinking and concentration, accidents, mood change, wakened immunity, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and weight gain.
Types of Sleep Deprivation
- Acute sleep deprivation refers to insufficient sleep for short period of time, usually for days or less.
- Chronic sleep deprivation also refers as insufficient sleep syndrome is defined as decrease in sleep that continues for three months or longer.
- Chronic sleep deficiency or insufficient sleep refers to sleep deprivation because of sleep fragmentation or other disruptions.
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Causes of Sleep Deprivation
Our body needs sleep to heal and restore its chemical balance and also helps memory retention. A study in 2010, reveled that lack of sleep at night increases the risk of early death. Some of the noticeable signs of sleep deprivation are:
- Excessive sleepiness
- Frequent yawning
- daytime fatigue
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Chronic sleep deprivation can affect your body’s internal systems such as:
- Central nervous system
As nervous system is the main information highway, lack of sleep can affect how your body usually send and processes information. Sufficient sleep, forms neurons (nerve cells) in the brain that help in retaining new information. It makes you to concentrate or learn new things easily and fasten the signal your body sends to brain which enhance coordination and decrease risk of accidents.
Chronic sleep deprivation affects mental and emotional state in a negative way, which may cause hallucinations and mood swings. Other psychological risks include anxiety, depression, impulsive behavior, suicidal thoughts and paranoia.
- Immune system
While sleeping your immune system produces infection fighting substances such as cytokines and antibodies that fights with invaders such as viruses and bacteria. But, Sleep deprivation prevents immune system from producing infection fighting substance which makes your body more prone to illness.
- Respiratory system
Sleep and the respiratory system goes both ways as breathing disorder like obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can interrupt sleep and reduce sleep quality, this can cause sleep deprivation. It mat further leaves you more vulnerable to respiratory infections such as flue and cold.
- Digestive System
As sleep affects the two hormones, ghrelin and leptin that control feeling of hunger and fullness, so lack of sleep can affect these hormones making you overweight and obese. Lack of sleep can make you feel too tired to exercise and causes body to release less insulin that helps to reduce blood glucose level, after eating. The disruption can lead to obesity and diabetes mellitus.
- Cardiovascular system
Lack of sleep affect your heart and blood vessels and also affect your blood pressure and sugar level an inflammation levels. Lack of sleep affects blood vessels and heart, increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke.
- Endocrine system
Hormones production depends on the sleep, as you need minimum three hour uninterrupted sleep for testosterone production. Interrupted sleep may also affect growth hormone production that helps the body repair cells and tissues and build muscles.
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Treatment for sleep deprivation
The most basic treatment for sleep deprivation is to get sufficient sleep, typically 7 to 9 hours every night. As sleep deprivation can make it difficult to get quality sleep in night, you may also take help of doctor or a sleep specialist.
Some of them are:
- Obstructive sleep apnea
- Circadian rhythm disorders
- Restless leg syndrome
To treat these conditions, doctor may order a sleep study, which is traditionally conducted at a formal sleep center. However, you can now measure your sleep quality at home too.
- desist from caffeine past noon or at least a few hours prior to bedtime
- waking up at the same time every morning
- spending an hour before bed doing relaxing activities, such as meditating, reading, or taking a bath
- desist from using electronic devices right before bed
- reducing alcohol intake
- limiting daytime naps
- going to bed at the same time each night
- sticking to your bedtime schedule during weekends and holidays
- avoiding heavy meals in dinner
- exercising regularly, but not in the evening hours close to bedtime
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If you continue to face problem while sleeping and are fighting with day time fatigue, contact to your doctor or sleep specialist, they will test and treat your underlying health conditions that might be affecting your quality and quantity of sleep.