Sleep deprivation is the term used to describe chronic sleep disorders where you do not take enough sleep voluntarily or involuntarily. Any disruption to sleep wake up cycle, inadequate sleep, insufficient sleep or any other sleep disorder leads to many side effects on human life. Humans need sleep as desperately as they need water and food to survive.
Without sleeping enough one cannot deliver the designated tasks in everyday life adequately and serious health issues are experienced by such sleep deprived people. Sleep deprivation in kids can severely degrade their performance in school and it is a big hurdle in their growth.
There are some prominent symptoms of sleep deprivation which can indicate that there is something wrong in your lifestyle. For children these symptoms may include temper tantrums, hyper active behavior, irritability, moodiness, grogginess while waking up in the morning, daytime naps, reluctance to get up in morning, tend to explode emotionally even at light provocation.
Children tend to speed up on sleep loss where as adults slow down when suffering with sleep deprivation. The general symptoms of sleep loss in adults include constant yawning, grogginess in the morning while waking up, mood changes, poor concentration, sleep inertia experienced all through the day and tendency to doze off when not active even for a while.
Causes of sleep deprivation
People usually do not try to find out the actual cause which is disturbing their sleep. Many times they assume it to be something and the actual reason turns out to be something very different. But what is causing this misconception? Many times you wake up at night and fall asleep soon and all this is not remembered in the morning.
This seems to be perfectly fine until these unremembered wake ups are not much in frequency. Too many of them can leave you exhausted and sleep deprived. There are many common causes of sleep deprivation and this makes it hard to pin point the actual cause.
Here are some of the shocking causes of sleep deprivation:
Nightcaps and Alcohol
People usually feel drowsy when drunk and use nightcaps to have a better sleep. So alcohol and nightcaps being the reason of sleep loss may seem surprising to you. But the effect of alcohol on human body is a bit complex. It acts as a sedative till the level of alcohol in blood is high and makes you fall asleep.
But gradually as the alcohol level in the blood drops it can wake you up again. Another reason of waking up after consuming alcohol can be a full bladder. Thus to avoid any disruption in your sleep after drinking alcohol, you should stop drinking some 2-3 hours before hitting the bed.
Having pets in bed
Mayo Clinic Disorder Center reported after a survey that 53% of the people who let their pet in their bed while sleeping say that the pets disturb their sleep. You may let your pet in bed while sleeping to ease them with some confort but it actually threatens your comfort zone. Your pets are not aligned with your sleep and wake up cycle. They have different sleep and wake up timings.
Once up from their sleep they may start shuffling around in bed or make some other subte disturbances and this may disturb your sleep. Such disturbed sleep each night may leave you chronically disturbed. To know if your pet is the reason of your sleep disorders, you can try sleeping without your pet sometimes and see if it helps you sleep better.
It is not necessary to keep them out of your bedroom but keep them out of your bed and make a separate resting place for them near your bed.
Sometimes people do not know that they have been suffering with chronic sleep disorder due to GRED (gastroesophageal reflux disorder). In this condition when you lie down to sleep the acid gets back and causes pain and heart burn.
You may even try to sleep by using the pillow as prop to cope up the discomfort experienced due to the acid activity in the esophagus. Many sleep specialists recommend a test for GRED for people who have been facing sleep disorders so as to diagnose the actual reason.
This is a common reason for sleep deprivation so the screening for acid reflux should always be done at the first place. Other symptom of GRED may be chronic cough and some other common symptoms.
The diagnosis of GRED as a cause of sleep deprivation is sometimes difficult because it doesn’t always show all the above symptoms but you just do not get a good sleep. So if you have a disturbed sleep then it is always advisable to get it diagnosed and treated in time so as to avoid any further complications to your health. Treating GRED will keep you healthy in the long run and let you sleep peacefully at night.
Being completely exhausted
Many times you must have experienced that when you are over exhausted then you keep craving for your bed expecting that you would fall fast asleep as soon as you hit the bed. But this doesn’t really come true and you keep up till long staring at your ceiling. You may wonder where your sleep vanished.
According to sleep experts there is a difference between feeling sleepy and being exhausted. If you are exhausted that does not imply that you will have a sound sleep after that.
For example if you do some physical activity that completely exhausts you then you will surely be tired but your body may still be in that accelerated momentum opposed to sleep. So to unwind this revving effect of the body you should sit and rest for sometime before going to bed. This lets your body some time to cool down and get over the worn out effect of the stressful day you had.
Supplements, medicines and vitamins
You may not ever suspect the drugs you have been taking like beta blockers for heart problems or high blood pressure and steroid for asthma to be the cause of your sleep deprivation. But they can act as sleep disturbing agents for you. The pain relieving drugs called as narcotics relieve pain in no time and put you to sleep quickly but they can cause disturbed breathing while sleeping.
Vitamins and supplements like guarana and ginseng can also cause sleep loss. Certain vitamins like vitamin B6 and B12 are advised to be consumed in the morning rather than at night as they may give you dramatic dreams which may disturb your sleep. So if you are suffering from chronic sleep loss and you have been taking some or the other type of medicines, vitamins or supplements then these should be highlighted to the doctor. Sleep experts can suggest an alternative to the sleep depriving drugs which do not have any side effects on your sleep pattern.
Pain in the body
Any pain in the body can give you disturbed sleep. Some of the common pains such as back pain, arthritis, headache, menstrual pain, and fibromyalgia can be the cause of sleep disorders. The severity of pain if low may not even wake you up but the quality of sleep is low even when you are in slightest pain. This disturbance in sleep may not be noticeable to you but it certainly affects your health.
The reason behind this phenomenon is that when your body sends pain signals to the brain then those signals cause sleep fragmentation. This doesn’t let you spend the much needed time in deep sleep. These results in either restless sleep or no sleep at all. People who have recurring body pain suffer with chronic sleep loss and they are more exhausted after sleep than before sleeping. It is always advisable to take some preventive measures to cure pain or consult a doctor if you have even mild chronic pain.
Poor sleep routine
Some people have habits which stimulate the nervous system and sleep is lost at bed time. Some of the very common examples are smoking cigarettes or consuming coffee just before hitting the bed. Other reasons can be too much thinking and worrying about life events or happenings of the day just prior to sleeping. You should always create a relaxing atmosphere in your bedroom when you hit the pillow.
Newly born kids
Parents of newly born kids often have sleep deprivation problem. This is because the sleep and wake up cycle of the parents do not match with that of their kids. Also babies and toddlers wake up many times at night may be due to hunger of discomfort. This affects the sleeping habits of the parents leaving them chronically sleep deprived.
Few of us opt for sleep deprivation by choice! This is the case of few people who like to socialize a lot and late till night. Some other may watch television late night or spend time reading a book. In any of the cases the body suffers due to sleep deprivation.