What Are The Signs of Sleep Deprivation?
Sleep deprivation is pretty much what it sounds like, it means you have simply not had enough sleep although that in and of itself is a bit of an oversimplification. Sleep deprivation is a very varied condition and it can affect people differently.
Sleep deprivation is usually caused by other sleep conditions like insomnia or sleep apnea and is medically not classed as a disease itself. It is classed as a symptom of other conditions/ diseases although there is some argument over whether this description is still accurate today.
Sleep deprivation is also something many people voluntarily subject themselves to as well often without realising the dangers involved. Younger people from teenagers to mid-twenties often report poor sleeping patterns and will usually not get enough sleep every night.
Activities like staying up late watching TV, browsing the internet, playing video games and going on night’s out all cause people to not get enough sleep which can cause acute sleep deprivation. This can usually be fixed relatively easily as most young people will eventually be overcome by a need to sleep.
Some people have also purposely subjected themselves to sleep deprivation in order to get internet fame or break world records. Finally, one last common cause for sleep deprivation is mental health conditions which can cause people to become too worried to sleep.
Depression and anxiety are usually the most common but many different disorders and conditions can cause sleep deprivation. So, sleep deprivation can happen to almost anyone and in the majority of cases for one reason or another many people inflict this problem on themselves sometimes with even realising it.
The Symptoms of Sleep Deprivation
Because sleep deprivation is so varied the symptoms and signs to watch out for are quite varied. And remember sleep deprivation effects everyone differently and in acute cases you might only show a few symptoms that you could easily end up ignoring or think are unrelated to the amount of sleep you’ve had.
The main symptom and one I’ am sure you can guess is a feeling of tiredness throughout the day. In acute cases, you might be able to shake this off after a few hours but in more chronic cases of sleep deprivation, this will be a feeling that persists throughout the day.
Below I’ve outlined some of the other main symptoms to watch out for when it comes to sleep deprivation. So, if you think you might not be getting enough sleep check out the list and see how many apply to you.
Excessive Yawning – We don’t always yawn because we are tired but it is still a sign of sleep deprivation.
Moodiness – The majority of us are not going to be in a positive mood if we are sleep deprived.
Difficulty Focusing – One of the more potentially dangerous symptoms of sleep deprivation, if you haven’t had enough sleep it can make tasks like driving or operating machinery very dangerous.
Clumsiness – This ties into the above symptom, if you don’t get enough sleep then expect your balance to suffer.
Fatigue – In some cases, this might only be a short-term issue but it can also last throughout the day.
Increased Appetite – This is one many people don’t know about but being sleep deprived actually causes an increase in your appetite as your body will want to take in more energy. Cravings for carbohydrates are very common.
Lack of Motivation
When you’re sleep deprived you will not really feel like doing anything and won’t be able to work to your best. This lack of motivation can also cause a reduced sex drive as well.
So, that’s a look at some of the main symptoms of sleep deprivation. In acute short-term cases let’s say you just had a bad night’s sleep and have to get up early for work you’ll likely be able to manage the symptoms yourself throughout the day. And after a while, they might not even really be an issue anymore.
But if you’re unlucky enough to be suffering from a more long-term case of sleep deprivation then you could potentially be seeing all the above symptoms and of course trying to manage them is going to be incredibly difficult if not downright impossible. Let’s now look at the dangers of sleep deprivation and the possible ways to combat it.
Beating Sleep Deprivation
Whether it’s part of a lager sleep condition or simply the result of some bad judgment the night before sleep deprivation can potentially be very dangerous. You are more likely to make a mistake and depending on your general day to day activity one mistake is all it might take for something fatal to happen.
Driving accidents, for example, are often caused because of a lack of focus or poor judgement which is a result of sleep deprivation. A lack of sleep can also increase the risk of things like respiratory disease and weaken the immune system. We all know how important getting enough sleep is, don’t we?
So, being deprived of that even if only for a short-time can bring about some very dangerous end results. Thankfully in the majority of cases fixing the problems caused by sleep deprivation is usually relatively simple and straightforward.
If your sleep deprivation is being caused because of poor judgement on your part for example, are you staying up too late when you really know you shouldn’t? Then you will need to break any bad habits and ensure you get your 7 – 8 hours in bed every night. Get a sleeping routine worked out and stick to it as much as you possibly can.
If your sleep deprivation is being caused by another condition like anxiety, stress or insomnia then you will need to get those conditions worked out first. If your sleep deprivation is more extreme and you don’t really know how to fix the problem yourself you can pursue behavioural and cognitive treatments.
Medicine can also be prescribed to help in more extreme cases but it is rare, as medicine can cause dependency problems which can make sleep deprivation more difficult to deal with in the long-run.