Sleep Deprivation

Signs of sleep deprivation

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Signs of sleep deprivation

Lack of sleep for a day or day is quite common in today’s culture where productivity and distraction are valued simultaneously. To cope up with these requirements people start cutting down the night sleeping hours.

This reduction of sleep time if continues for long becomes the reason of many health and work related problems. Sleep deprived people often can’t perform with their full efficiency and face many health issues as well.

Few people do not even realize when they are sleep deprived. When you start having muddled thoughts, see things which do not actually exist and get upset over pity things then you have been experiencing sleep deprivation.

Sleep deprived people may not be aware of all the symptoms of sleep deprivation apart from the common symptom of gritty eyes in the morning which most of you must have experienced some or the other time.

The wake and sleep cycle of humans is governed by the idea of sleep pressure. Humans have a natural sleep pressure which builds when we are well awake throughout the day.

This sleep drive intensifies and develops into an overwhelming pressure eventually till evening and put us to sleep at night.

While we sleep this sleep pressure relieves till the time we get up in morning and the pressure building cycle starts again.

Lack of sleep gives you many sleep disorders and the symptoms further increases. Sleep walking and sleep paralysis are some well known examples of irregular sleep wake up cycle and chronic sleep loss.

There are numerous symptoms of sleep deprivation which affect our brains and bodies. It can even lead to some life threatening situations. So from the below some sleep deprivation symptoms you can figure out if you have been sleep deprived.

Poor stress management

Sometimes you may not be able to cope up with your stress and you accusing the circumstances of your stress problems may not be totally justified. Stress can occur due to chronic sleep deprivation as well.

Lack of sleep reduces our efficiency to deal with daily challenges and aggravations. The underlying cause of this reduced threshold for stress perception is the lack of sleep and may not be the one you are assuming to be.

Some everyday examples of this poor stress handling are the daily traffic or stopping to shop for some grocery from way back home after work. These small tasks and occurrences stress you and keep you low. Stress and lack of sleep both augment each other.

Stress hormones are stimulating and this leads to inadequate sleep. The secretion of these hormones is activated specially in the later hours of the day.

Studies have shown that those who lose their sound sleep during the stress times owing to their roiling emotions are less focused on their tasks than those who sleep well even during stress times and do not respond to stress by getting less sleep.

Less concentration

Another symptom of sleep deprivation is the inability to concentrate. If you are experiencing lost interest in work after a restless weekend and you have to pretend to be interested in long meetings at office then you are experiencing this sign of sleep deprivation.

If you are sleep deprived then your efficiency in the tasks demanding concentration decreases. At this time you overestimate your efforts and underestimate the effects of sleep loss on your health and mind.

This effect intensifies with time if you continually take less sleep. A person having a deep sleep of seven to nine hours will be a better performer at work than the one who is taking sleep of less than six hours every night.

Caffeine may increase your concentration for some time and let you concentrate better but sleeping well is the ultimate remedy for this inability to concentrate. So if you have been experiencing this sign of sleep deprivation then you should change your sleeping habits.

Poor memory

People tend to become forgetful when they are suffering with chronic sleep loss. If you feel that you do not even remember the last time when you had a deep sleep at night then you need to think about this aspect as a sign of sleep deprivation.

Studies have shown a relation between memory and deep sleep. Deep sleep helps to establish connection between the nerve cells so if you are deprived of deep sleep then the connection between the nerve cells will be fewer. So when you are sleep deprived then your performance worsens in memory tests.

REM sleep helps you in the retention and formation of past memories which are very vivid to us and helps us to keep these emotional memories in a part of our brain.

So when you need to have a sharp memory to complete your tasks well then it is better to have a sound sleep at night rather than spending sleepless night while preparing for it. So prepare by the time you feel tired and then sleep until morning.

Increased Appetite

The cravings for calories increases when the brain is sleep deprived. Even those who find it hard to intake calories become desperate for it and controlling the intake of calories becomes a tough task for them. Lack of sleep increases your appetite and you feel hungry as long as you are awake.

Even if you are a person who follows a healthy diet, lack of sleep makes you consume more calories. The reason underlying this fact is that when you are sleep deprived then the hormones indicating hunger to the brain are secreted more than those which indicates a full stomach.

The fact is that when you are sleep deprived then the rate of sugar metabolism in brain is at a slower rate thus sleep deprived people crave more for starches, salty and sweet food. This even leads to obesity. The risk of obesity increases in people who are sleep deprived by two times as in normal people.

Problems in vision

Difficulty in focusing and vision distortion is the clear symptoms of sleep deprivation. In this condition the eye detects movement out of the corners and you may see things that are not actually happening.

It may become hard for you to process images in your direct line of sight and in periphery at the same time.  Such vision problems due to lack of sleep makes you prone to accidents on the job, car crashes, or any other sort of mishaps. After being awake all night you may struggle to make way through a fuzzy world.

Researchers hold the I-function of your brain responsible for this as it facilitates integration of the information from brain’s other parts.

The neurons provide you with the perception of the happenings of this world around you, when they do not get sufficient regenerative sleep then their functioning is affected in a negative sense.

This leads to inefficient functioning of the brain cells and then the images which they develop have cut corners as whole of the information is not present.

This can be compared to a jigsaw puzzle where out of 1000 pieces, you only get 750. As the amount of information for forming an image in the brain reduces, the image differs more from reality and this may give you certain extended visual distortion.

Reduced decision making abilities

Your decision making abilities are affected when the brain is feeling the strain of sleep deprivation. Symptoms of sleep deprivation can have long lasting results, even after you have cleared your sleeping debts.

The prefrontal cortex of the brain is involved in impulse control and judgment, this part is affected when you are chronically sleep deprived.

When you do not sleep at night, this part of the brain is not refreshed as in REM sleep and thus you develop poor decision making abilities. People suffering with sleep deprivation have the tendency to take risky decisions.

Mood swings

One prominent symptom of sleep deprivation is mood swings. If you get irritated far more easily in situations which you can otherwise handle easily then it may be because you are sleep deprived.

Your tendency to understand decreases and the feeling of depression may prevail. Even in case of children, studies have shown that sleep deprived kids may misbehave more than those who sleep for around ten hours a day.

For those who have been in depression or other mental health problems may see it worsening due to lack of sleep. Insomnia and depression both augment each other and mood swings are bound to happen in both the situations.

The symptoms of sleep deprivation depend on the period and frequency of sleep loss. The signs of sleep deprivation are visible on mental, emotional and physical levels. Studies have shown that restricted sleep timings affect a range of functions of the body.

Physically, sleep deprivation may leave you with low energy all through the day. Mentally, it can give you impaired memory performance and sustained attention.

Emotionally, you may be in low mood as a result of sleep deprivation. So, if you are facing any of the above signs of sleep deprivation then it is the time to sleep.


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