Sleep deprivation is very common in today’s modern culture. Everyday, people seem to work too much but only have half of the time to complete it in. As a result, they either tend to be awake on longer periods or spend little time on sleep.
Sleep deprivation is an overall lack of necessary amount of sleep, which can compromise health as well as safety. There are several causes of sleep deprivation. It can be from the stresses of everyday life, trading sleep for more work or play or physical or mental health conditions.
It is yet very important to realize that sleep deprivation is commonly due to unrecognized sleep disorders. After a typical night’s sleep, you may not feel restored and refreshed and be sleepy during the day, but completely unaware that you experience issues with sleep. Sleep deprivation and unawareness of this problem cost a price, especially if remain undiagnosed for a long time.
Signs You May Be Sleep Deprived
When you are tired, your body shows you plenty of signals. However, some people are used to sleep for less hours that they remain unaware how impaired they really are. Lack of sleep is not something you can pay off in a weekend. It may take weeks of building up proper sleeping habits.
If you experience the following, you may need to prioritize sleep:
- Yawning often
- Dozing off when not active
- Groggy feeling after waking up
- Grogginess all day long
- Difficulty concentrating and mood changes
Consequences of Sleep Deprivation
Sleep deprivation has serious effects on health, both in short and long term. It is detrimental that it does not just impact one aspect of health. It impacts many. Among them are the three major risks to your physical and mental well-being:
Slow Reaction Time
When you are sleep-deprived, you do not react as fast as you normally do. If you are on the road, driving your car, you are at higher risk of accidents. This also goes the same with other dangerous activities such as working with power tools. A study found that sleepiness while driving is as nearly as dangerous as drunk driving.
Poor Cognitive Function
Lack of sleep affects your ability to think clearly. You will find it difficult to retain memories, process information and make decisions. If there is an important event coming such as exams or presentation, a good night’s sleep is needed.
When you are sleep-deprived, your emotions are likely to be kicked into high gear. It puts you into high risk of arguing with the people around you and you may blow things out of proportion.
Increased Risk of Chronic Diseases
Studies found that sleep loss affects your immune system, increasing risk of numerous health conditions such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease. It can also lead to anxiety, depression and alcohol use.
Coping with Sleep Deprivation
Using strategies such as caffeine, sleep prior to deprivation, naps during deprivation and drug stimulants may provide a short-term benefit to decrease the effects of sleep deprivation. However, they are not a long-term solution. The best way to beat the sleep deprivation is to develop and maintain a healthy sleep cycle.
Image Copyright: Sebastian Gauert / 123RF Stock Photo