A good night’s sleep is utmost essential for overall good health. It is the time when the body rests, rejuvenates and recovers. An adult requires 7 to 8 hours of peaceful and quality sleep per day.Sleep deprivation can be defined as inability to complete the sufficient sleep-time required by the person.Many a time deprivation of sleep can be self-induced such as it can be due to long working hours, nightshifts, travel during night time, inability to sleep due to disturbances such as sound and light and much more. Other times sleep deprivation can be due some medical condition or sleep disorder and other reasons such as stress, hormonal changes and more.
Sleep Deprivation Causes
Research has shown that even one night of sleep deprivation is equivalent to being intoxicated. Intentional sleep deprivation is mostly seen in young people and teenagers who prefer entertainment over sleep. Many workaholics also consider sleeping as a waste of precious time which is not true. Many a time because of work commitments such as working in night shifts or long hours may also interfere with quality sleep that an individual requires. Medical issues such as chronic illnesses, depression and sleep disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea can also be the reason for sleep deprivation.
Signs and Symptoms of Sleep Deprivation
The most common sign and symptom of the fact that one is sleep deprived is fatigue, lethargy and feeling sleepy throughout the day. Other symptoms include mood disorders; sleep deprivation may lead to increasing irritability, desire to stay alone, rapid mood swings and more. Lack of sleep will also cause psychomotor instability meaning the person will find it difficult to focus and stand still at a place. Sleep deprivation will also cause issues with sight and hearing. An affected person may experience burning sensation in eyes, tingling and redness of eyes, light flashes and even hallucinations. He or she may also find it difficult to gauge distance at which a sound is originating. Other signs and symptoms of sleep deprivation include tingling sensations on the body, disorganization of thought and much more.
Effects of Sleep Deprivation
Negative effects of sleep deprivation are many. It affects both physical and mental health of a person negatively.The most common effect of sleep deprivation is drowsiness, tiredness, mood swings, irritability and reduced alertness. Although scientific knowledge of the physiological effects of sleep deprivation is relatively recent but researchers now believe that sleep deprivation can lead to disorders such as depression. Both short term sleep deprivation and chronic long term sleep deprivation can be very dangerous for the health as it has a direct impact on functioning of both heart and brain of an individual. During sleep, regeneration of neurons happens in the cerebral cortex. Thus in a sleep deprived individual the brain fails to function optimally.
Sleep Deprivation Treatment
The most simplest and easy way to treat sleep deprivation is sleep more. Be it acute or chronic condition, a quality good night’s sleep will help an individual bounce back effectively. Fighting stress, eating a healthy and a balanced diet, avoiding alcohol are some other dos for a good night’s sleep. Certain medications can also interfere with one’s sleep thus consult your medical professional about the same. Exercising or indulging in an activity such as jogging, walk or swimming can also help one sleep better. Avoid usage of electronic gadgets before bedtime as they can interfere with one’ sleep. Spending time in natural sunlight, Yoga, meditation and breathing exercises can also help one sleep better at night. Treating underlying medical cause if any will also help one sleep better and avoid sleep deprivation.