Symptoms of Sleep Deprivation
Independent studies indicate that sleep deprived people have more difficulties in performing their duties and activities during the day. Sleep deprivation does not pertain to a day or two of sleepless nights due to a variety of reasons, but pertains on chronic lack of sleep for months or years.
On average, an adult needs 8 hours of sleep for his body and system to “refresh”. We have an inherent sleep drive that builds up throughout the day as they remain awake. As the day progresses, we feel an overwhelming heaviness to sleep. This “heaviness” or “pressure” is alleviated as we sleep. This process happens daily. If sleep is chronically disrupted then the pressure builds up.
Lack of sleep has been found to aggravate symptoms of sleep disorders such as sleep walking and sleep paralysis, which become more likely to happen more often due to lack sleep.
Symptoms of Lack of Sleep
Sleep deprivation symptoms vary based on the length of time a person lacks sleep. The fact is lack of sleep affects us on all levels - physical, emotional and mental. Studies indicate that when sleep is restricted, it negatively affects our pain threshold, emotional processing, glucose metabolism and immune functions.
Lack of sleep affects our energy. Level is low on average. A study done by the Great British Sleep Survey showed that those who lack sleep are twice more likely to feel very tired. Statistics indicate that 88% of poor sleepers have less energy than those who get enough sleep.
Feeling sleepy or having trouble staying awake during the day while doing work is another symptom. There are those who fall asleep while eating, talking, driving or just sitting down.
Feeling lightheaded is another consequence of chronic lack of sleep. Tension headache, compounded by lightheadedness and dizziness may be attributed to lack of sleep. Other physical symptoms are:
• feeling hungry all the time as lack of sleep increase the production of ghrelin (hunger hormone)
• weight gain due to the over production of ghrelin; slow metabolism
• motor skills are impaired
A chronically sleep -deprived person is more irritable and in a low mood. Studies indicate that people who lack sleep are more impulsive and more emotional. In most cases, restorative sleep alleviates sleep deprivation but if the underlying cause is a form of sleep disorder, then that disorder must be treated first to get relief from sleep deprivation.
Research indicated that poor sleep or lack of it leads to poor concentration and memory. People who are sleep deprived have difficulty in focusing on tasks and in sustaining attention. The same study indicated that more than 60% of poor sleepers struggled in concentrating and cannot think clearly. Making sensible decisions became harder.
Other studies found that people who suffer from chronic lack of sleep also have difficulty in seeing and has poor skin condition.
If sleep deprivation is due to a sleep disorder, the correct thing to do is to see a doctor to determine what tests to do.
If lack of sleep is due to obstructive sleep apnoea, it is best to see sleep doctor for consultation. OSA is manageable and treatable.
If you are sleep deprived, call us now for a consult.