We’ve all had those nights where we just couldn’t get to sleep. In the morning, you’re still tired and you question if you ever really even got any sleep the night before. If you’re not getting enough sleep you can feel pretty terrible as a result. Lack of sleep symptoms can range from being tired to body aches and more serious issues. If you’re going through periods where you suffer from lack of sleep that’s known as sleep deprivation.
If you’re unfamiliar with the term, but think you suffer from lack of sleep symptoms, you should keep reading! We’re about to answer plenty of important questions about sleep deprivation. What is sleep deprivation? What causes sleep deprivation? Are there any treatments for the sleep deprived? We’re about to discuss that and more!
What is Sleep Deprivation?
The simplest definition of sleep deprivation is just lack of sufficient sleep. For whatever reason you have, be it social factors or a medical reason, you will likely experience sleep deprivation symptoms if your body isn’t getting enough sleep. About 20% of adults or one in five, fail to get the right amount of sleep at night, leaving them at risk for sleep deprivation.
In the additional sections, you’ll learn all about causes and available sleep deprivation treatments. For now, you should know that children and teenagers should be receiving at least 9 hours of sleep each night, though some children need more sleep. As for adults, it is recommended that you get at least 8 hours of sleep per night.
Sleep Deprivation Symptoms
Naturally, the biggest symptom you’re likely to notice with sleep deprivation is excessive sleepiness. This will last the entire day for most people. In the morning and afternoon, when you should feel rested, you will deal with daytime sleepiness instead. If you’ve ever fell asleep sitting up or in public, you’re dealing with sleep deprivation. This can be dangerous for many because if you’re driving or working during the day and are not at your best and most awake you run the risk of increased probability of having or causing an accident.
Other symptoms you might notice include:
- Mood changes: Irritability, Anxiety
- Lack of Motivation
- Inability to Concentrate
- Health Issues: High Blood Pressure, Heart Problems
- Weight Gain
Naturally, not all of these symptoms occur in everyone dealing with sleep deprivation. It really depends on the person and the severity of the trouble they are having.
Sleep Deprived Risk Groups
Sleep deprivation can affect males and females of any age. In terms of risk groups, sleep deprivation is often linked to either social factors of health-related sleeping issues. For example, people working set shifts at work or overtime hours might finding sleeping on a specific schedule that allows them enough sleep to be challenging. Caregivers with large families or those caring for people with health problems, while also working, might not find enough time for sleep, also.
For some, medications for other health concerns may cause insomnia and limit the amount of sleep that you receive. Other medical reasons why someone might be sleep deprived include restless leg syndrome, periodic limb movements, and environmental sleep disorder, to name a few.
Causes of Sleep Deprivation
No one sets out to not get enough sleep. However, life can get busy and before you know it, you’re tired all the time and sleep deprivation has set in. If this is something you think you’re dealing with it’s likely what is known as behaviorally induced insufficient sleep syndrome. This is also known as hypersomnia. Generally, someone will need to get insufficient sleep nightly for three months for this to get to this level.
As simple as it sounds, the cause of sleep deprivation is just not getting enough sleep. It doesn’t really matter why you’re not getting the sleep. That’s something that you will need to treat, on its own so that you can remove the symptoms of sleep deprivation you’re experiencing.
Sleep Deprivation Treatments
In the long term, the only real sleep deprivation treatments that will work will be to get more sleep. You aren’t going to find a substitute for your mind or body that sleep can provide. The benefits are innumerable and necessary.
However, if you are looking for a short-term solution or a way to make it through the day, there are some things you can try. Caffeine has been known to help some people. As a stimulant, caffeine is widely used and it will help to increase alertness in most people. Of course, you’ll want to ease up on the caffeine at night, as it can make it hard to sleep.
Power naps and longer afternoon naps have also been known to help. These will remove some of the issues you have with drowsiness and focus. Ultimately, it’s best to get all your sleep in a nightly chunk, but if you didn’t and need a rest, it’s best to follow the needs of your body and succumb to an afternoon nap to refresh yourself.
Sleep deprivation isn’t the end of the world. On the bright side, it is easily treated and usually, with some proper scheduling, is something you can avoid. If you notice you’re not 100% in the morning, see if you can spend a little more time in bed, getting the sleep that your body is telling you that it needs.