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How To Fix Sleep Deprivation

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Problem #: Cannot Fall Asleep

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Most people experience short term insomnia at some time. Insomnia includes having trouble falling asleep, having trouble getting back to sleep, and waking up too early. Insomnia is more common in females, people with a history of depression, and in people older than 60. Temporary insomnia can be caused by:

  • Hearing a noise
  • A stressful event like the loss of a job or a death in the family or even catastrophic world events
  • Certain medications could keep you awake, particularly those that treat colds and allergies, heart disease, high blood pressure, and pain
  • Bad habits that sabotage our sleep including drinking alcohol and eating too close to bedtime

Short-term insomnia lasts only a few days and is usually not a cause for concern. For example, with jet lag or even seasonal time changes, your internal body clock will readjust itself within several days. Insomnia is considered chronic when it lasts most nights for a few weeks or more. This longer-term condition deserves professional attention. If you are unsure whether you have chronic insomnia, experts suggest looking at it like you would a headache. If it goes on day after day, and nothing you do seems to help, you should see a health care professional, particularly if you cannot find a cause.

Sometimes insomnia is caused by an underlying illness that needs treatment, such as:

  • Thyroid disorders
  • Restless leg syndrome

Among Teens Sleep Deprivation An Epidemic

Sleep deprivation increases the likelihood teens will suffer myriad negative consequences, including an inability to concentrate, poor grades, drowsy-driving incidents, anxiety, depression, thoughts of suicide and even suicide attempts.

The most recent national poll shows that more than 87 percent of U.S. high school students get far less than the recommended eight to 10 hours of sleep each night.Christopher Silas Neal

Carolyn Walworth, 17, often reaches a breaking point around 11 p.m., when she collapses in tears. For 10 minutes or so, she just sits at her desk and cries, overwhelmed by unrelenting school demands. She is desperately tired and longs for sleep. But she knows she must move through it, because more assignments in physics, calculus or French await her. She finally crawls into bed around midnight or 12:30 a.m.

The next morning, she fights to stay awake in her first-period U.S. history class, which begins at 8:15. She is unable to focus on whats being taught, and her mind drifts. You feel tired and exhausted, but you think you just need to get through the day so you can go home and sleep, said the Palo Alto, California, teen. But that night, she will have to try to catch up on what she missed in class. And the cycle begins again.

Its an insane system. The whole essence of learning is lost, she said.

What Is Chronic Sleep Deprivation

In the simplest terms, chronic sleep deprivation refers to the case of getting insufficient sleep or experiencing sleeplessness over an extended period of time. Chronic sleep deprivation can vary in its severity.

Chronic sleep deprivation may be primary or secondary, meaning that it could be a problem in and of itself or caused by some other unrelated issue .

Accumulated sleep debt can lead to impairments in all areas of your life, and fixing the problem can be difficult depending on the cause. That being said, there are steps you can take to cope with sleep deprivation and ensure it does not lead to more serious issues.

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Benefits Of Getting More Sleep When You Can

The benefits of getting enough sleep are often overlooked. It might seem like youre wasting precious working hours if you allow yourself to get a reasonable amount of rest. However, sleep is just as important an activity as anything you do while youre awake.

Getting enough sleep improves learning and memory. People generally do better on mental tasks after a full nights sleep. This means that if you get nine hours instead of seven hours, it might take you less time to do tasks the next day, because your brain will be sharper. Doing tasks faster then makes it easier to go to bed at a reasonable hour the next night.

Additionally, getting more sleep can help your body stay healthy. It protects your heart and helps keep your blood pressure low, your appetite normal, and your blood glucose levels in the normal range. During sleep, your body releases a hormone that helps you grow. It also repairs cells and tissue and improves your muscle mass. Adequate sleep is good for your immune system, helping you ward off infections.

Inconsistent sleep habits can increase your risk for various medical conditions, including:

  • diabetes

Recognizing The Symptoms Of Sleep Deprivation

Should you study all night?
  • 1 If you are sleep deprived, you may feel tired all the time. You may yawn often during the day and find it hard to stay awake when you are doing tasks. You may feel groggy in the morning or throughout the day.XResearch source
  • You may find yourself dozing off at random times, especially during meetings, while watching television, or even when driving.
  • 2Determine if you are mentally alert. Another symptom of sleep deprivation is a lack of mental alertness. This means you may have trouble concentrating, you may not think as clearly, your memory may be weaker than usual, or you may have decreased reaction time.XResearch source
  • Many accidents occur due to lack of mental alertness due to sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation can cause all of your thought processes to work slower and not as efficiently as when you are fully rested.
  • 3Figure out if you are getting sick more often. Sleep deprivation can lead to a lowered immune system. This can cause you to get sick more often because your body is unable to fight off bacteria, viruses, and other diseases. Sleep deprivation can also cause you to get better more slowly that if you were rested.XTrustworthy SourceMayo ClinicEducational website from one of the world’s leading hospitalsGo to source
  • If you have been getting sick often, or if you are unable to kick a cold or other condition, you may be sleep deprived.
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    Nap Wisely And Moderately

    Its normal to feel tired during the day, especially when youve done something that takes up a lot of energy. The obvious solution is to rest and take a nap.

    When you nap too much during the day, they can disrupt the night routine youve worked hard to make a habit of. Youre left with too much energy to burn, yet no activities to burn it withsince its already bedtime.

    So what do you do if you cant nap too much, but you still need that boost of energy during the day? You nap wisely.

    You can try the coffee nap. A quick rest is when you take a nap sometime between 15-20 minutes. Its important that you dont go over the 20-minute mark, lest you want to wake up groggier than when you first slept. This is because after the 20-minute mark is when your body starts to transition into a deep sleep.

    And we dont want that. You just need that quick, power nap, right? Now comes the coffee. You may think, I thought you wanted me to sleep, so why the coffee? or something along those lines.

    The thing is, coffee takes about 20-30 minutes to take effect. So if you drink coffee right before your power nap, you would feel the effects of the coffee AND the power nap when you wake up! Youd wake up alert and rested, and ready for work! Great!

    Prepare A Proper Sleep Schedule

    The first step to getting rid of insufficient sleep is to prepare a sleep schedule. Decide a fixed time to go to bed, and try to go to bed at that particular time itself, without any excuse. Similarly, set up a wake-up time and wake up at a fixed time every day. It regulates the circadian rhythm of your body and helps you get quality sleep time.

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    What Are The Symptoms Of A Messed Up Circadian Rhythm

    Being sleepy is the most notable symptom, but there are others, too. Having an inconsistent schedule can lead to something called circadian-rhythm sickness.

    Here is a list of symptoms:

    • Sleepiness
    • Depression
    • Metabolic syndromes and weight gain

    Again, the circadian rhythm controls a variety of biological functions, not just sleep. Therefore, adjusting it in a way that isnt consistent with natural patterns can cause a long list of issues and ailments.

    The Dangers Of Sleep Deprivation

    How To Improve Your Sleep
    • Sleep deprivation is linked with an increased risk for obesity, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure.
    • A lack of sleep can affect reaction times, focus, and cognitive function, which can lead to accidents at work, while driving, and around the home.
    • Sleep deprivation can lead to loss of productivity at school or at work.
    • Sleep debt can negatively affect your mood and increase the risk for depression.
    • Inadequate sleep weakens your bodys immune response and affects your overall level of health.

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    The Health Effects Of Sleep Deprivation And How To Fix It

    The immune system is a complex network of cells and organs that protect the body from infections and disease. It does this by fighting off germs, viruses, bacteria, and other harmful substances in the body.

    The immune system can be broadly defined as a defense against infection and disease. The two main parts of the immune system are innate immunity and adaptive immunity . The natural immune response is mainly mediated by molecules called cytokines.

    Get A Little Sun During The Day

    Getting just a short amount of direct sunlight, say 10 to 15 minutes, sometime in the morning or around noon each day can help you sleep at night. The daytime sunlight helps regulate your circadian rhythm and lets your body know when it is time to be awake and when to sleep.

    Good food brings people together. So do good emails.

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    Engage In Physical Activities

    Physical activity improves not only your cardiovascular or heart health but also your sleep quality. An intense exercise routine is not necessary, even mild exercises like walking will help you. Make sure you dont exercise one hour before sleeping and try to have 30 minutes of physical activity at least five times a week.

    Final Thoughts On Ways To Reverse The Effects Of Sleep Deprivation

    7 Signs You Have Sleep Deprivation (And How to Fix It)

    It is difficult to reverse the effects of sleep deprivation, but with enough effort and understanding, you can take steps to better yourself and improve your health. Working to pay off your sleep debt is a difficult task, but it is possible.

    Do note, however, that reversing sleep deprivation damage is harder than it sounds. This is not something you want to be doing after continually wracking up sleep debt. Medical professionals everywhere are quite clear about the fact that no matter how much work you put into paying off a sleep debt, you are still likely to find yourself suffering ill effects.

    If you have been dealing with sleep deprivation up to today, its time to make a change! Sleep deprivation causes more difficulty than can be easily cured, and many of its effects are long-lasting. If the deprivation lasts too long, little can be done to reverse it.

    Your best bet is to begin improving your sleep schedule right away and start attempting to get the necessary 7-9 hours of nightly sleep required. With a better sleep schedule working hand-in-hand with these effect reversal efforts, you will soon find your way to better health.

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    Why Choose Us For Treatment Of Insufficient Sleep

    The Children’s Colorado Sleep Program team has specialized expertise in treating sleep problems in children and adolescents. Our specialists are known internationally for their sleep research and sleep treatments. The team is made up of sleep experts trained in different aspects of sleep treatments, including physicians who specialize in pediatric ear, nose and throat problems, sleep psychologists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, respiratory therapists and dedicated sleep nurses.

    We often coordinate care with other specialists and primary care physicians who are involved in each family’s treatment. Most importantly, we have very caring staff members who are willing to listen to families and go the extra mile to improve your child’s sleep and optimize their development.

    Problem #: Sleepy During The Day

    Feeling tired every now and then during the day is normal. But it is not normal for sleepiness to interfere with your routine activities. For example, you shouldn’t be dozing off while reading the newspaper, during business meetings, or while sitting at a red light. Slowed thinking, trouble paying attention, heavy eyelids, and feeling irritable are other warning signs.

    If you’re feeling sleepy frequently during the day, you might simply need to make more time to sleep. Experts say that most adults need at least eight hours of sleep every night to be well rested, but this varies from person to person. The bottom line is that you should sleep for the number of hours it takes for you to feel rested, refreshed, and fully alert the next day. If you’ve had a good sleep, you shouldn’t feel drowsy during the day. Naps can be good, but the American

    Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends napping before 3 p.m. and for no longer than an hour so that it doesn’t interfere with falling asleep at night.

    If you are sleeping an adequate amount and you still feel drowsy going about your day to day routine, or if adjusting your sleeping habits hasn’t helped, then you should talk with your health care provider. Overwhelming daytime sleepiness could be due to a number of sleep disorders. For example, people with narcolepsy experience excessive sleepiness even after a full night’s sleep.

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    How Much Sleep Do You Really Need

    Most healthy adults should aim to sleep 7 to 9 hours every night. Think you can get by with less? You might be fooling yourself.

    A lot of professionals believe that theyre short sleepers who need 6 hours or less. The truth is, thats not very common, Salas says. Often people who think they need less sleep are just good at compensating for the effects of sleep deprivation for now. Chances are, though, that their sleep deficit will catch up with them eventually, she says.

    You might be wondering if you can shortchange your sleep during the busy week and catch up on weekends. Many sleep specialists believe you can never truly make up for chronic lost sleep, Salas says.

    While getting in some extra sleep can help you recuperate after an occasional sleepless night, its not a wise strategy in the long term. Sleeping in or taking naps on days off can increase the odds of developing insomnia and can lead to problems with the natural circadian rhythms that drive your sleep patterns, Salas says.

    How Damaging Is Sleep Debt

    How to Improve Your Bedtime Routine | Tips for Better Sleep

    Our bodies are very sensitive to a single night’s sleep deprivation confirms Carla Picolli, a licensed psychologist and certified sleep coach for adults and children.

    She explains that sleep loss during the week and sleeping in on the weekends, affects our health and body clock, in the same way as traveling across time zones. The worst is that it doesn’t happen just once a year like on vacation but every weekend.

    While pulling the occasional all-nighter may seem harmless, Picolli notes that a few late nights in a row affects our attention in the same way as if we were legally intoxicated that is, our body and brain begin to deteriorate. lose the ability to make accurate judgments and the ability to focus attention selectively, Picolli adds.

    Chronic sleep debt also increases your risk for health conditions that further your sleep debt, such as:

    • weakened immune system
    • mind fog and memory problems
    • difficulties with weight management
    • mental health conditions or disorders

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    What Tests Are Used To Diagnose Insufficient Sleep

    The most important part of diagnosing insufficient sleep or sleep deprivation is talking with the family to get a thorough sleep history. This conversation should take place with a physician, nurse practitioner or psychologist that specializes in assessing and treating sleep disorders. Your child’s doctor may also recommend further evaluations to fully explore all possible reasons for their poor sleep.

    • Sleep log: To determine a child’s baseline sleep patterns, doctors often request that a family keep a sleep log to record their child’s bedtimes, wake times and night waking.
    • Actigraphy watch: Another way to assess the amount of sleep a child gets is to have them wear an actigraphy watch, usually for a week while sleeping normally at home. This device looks like a wristwatch, but instead of telling time, it records your child’s movement, how much sleep occurs and how long it takes to fall asleep. It also estimates how long your child stays awake throughout the night and the amount of light that is in the room.
    • Overnight sleep study: In some cases, our doctors may recommend an overnight sleep study if they suspect that sleep-disordered breathing or excessive movement may be interrupting your child’s sleep. Sleep-disordered breathing is when breathing partially or completely stops several times throughout the night. Your child’s doctor may also order blood tests to see if a thyroid problem or acid reflux is causing them to get less sleep.

    How Is Sleep Deprivation Diagnosed

    Doctors can often diagnose sleep deprivation by discussing a patients symptoms and sleep patterns. This may involve reviewing a sleep diary or taking a sleep questionnaire that offers a detailed look at sleep patterns and daytime symptoms.

    In some cases, additional testing with sleep tracking technology, known as actigraphy, or with an overnight sleep study may be conducted if further information is needed or if a doctor suspects that the patient may have an underlying sleep disorder.

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