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How To Tell If Sleep Deprived

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Effects Of Sleep Deprivation

How To Tell If You’re Sleep Deprived

The ever-evasive sleep It can be what we crave the most when we cant have it, and somehow the biggest inconvenience when we need it most. But getting the right amount of sleep, and sticking to a steady schedule, can lead to:

  • More energy
  • Better mental and emotional health
  • Healthier eating habits
  • And possibly even finding a unicorn in cupcake-print pajamas. So really, can you afford not to?

Admitting you need sleep is the first step and all it takes is answering 9 questions to find out just how sleep deprived you really are! Maybe you can show the results to your boss and talk her into instituting company naptime!

Youre Suffering From Daytime Fatigue

One of the most obvious sleep deprivation signs, daytime sleepiness or fatigue is not to be ignored.

Yawning and feeling like your head is heavy and foggy is a major sign that your sleep quality is poor.

Even if youre getting your recommended 6-8 hours of sleep, poor sleep can lead to poor concentration, poor memory and even bad decision making.

In fact, poor sleep has been linked with people making on average 7 bad decisions every day that makes their financial situation worse in the long run.

Treatment For Sleep Deprivation

The most basic form of sleep deprivation treatment is getting an adequate amount of sleep, typically 7 to 9 hours each night.

This is often easier said than done, especially if youve been deprived of precious shut-eye for several weeks or longer. After this point, you may need help from your doctor or a sleep specialist who, if needed, can diagnose and treat a possible sleep disorder.

Sleep disorders may make it difficult to get quality sleep at night. They may also increase your risk for the above effects of sleep deprivation on the body.

The following are some of the most common types of sleep disorders:

  • insomnia
  • circadian rhythm disorders

To diagnose these conditions, your doctor may order a sleep study. This is traditionally conducted at a formal sleep center, but now there are options to measure your sleep quality at home, too.

If youre diagnosed with a sleep disorder, you may be given medication or a device to keep your airway open at night to help combat the disorder so you can get a better nights sleep on a regular basis.

The best way to prevent sleep deprivation is to make sure you get adequate sleep. Follow the recommended guidelines for your age group, which is 7 to 9 hours for most adults ages 18 to 64.

Other ways you can get back on track with a healthy sleep schedule include:

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Can A Dog Stay Up All Night

How old is your dog? Lets start with that age. Often an allergic reaction or skin issue will cause an erratic scratching that can keep a dog awake for several weeks to come, causing him or her to lose sleep. It could be the allergy to food or the stress associated with allergies and also skin issues that cause dogs to become restless and sleepy.

You Have Trouble Remembering Things

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One of the most common symptoms of sleep deprivation is forgetfulness. The hippocampus, which is the part of our brains that stores memory and spatial awareness information, will shut down if we haven’t slept enough. This can lead to a lack in concentration during the day as well as difficulty with recalling names or events from recent times. Many people find that when they are tired, they are constantly misplacing their car keys or forget why they have walked into a room. This forgetfulness can cause major inconveniences in your life and can even lead to big problems if you forget to do an important work task or attend a medical appointment. You may be amazed at how much difference just getting the right amount of quality sleep can make to your memory.

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You’re In A State Of Constant Crankiness

When a baby gets fussy, it might be time for a nap. And apparently, humans never really grow out of that. A study from Harvard Medical School shows a connection between sleep disorders and emotional and mental health issues. The more tired you are, the more irritable you become. You become less equipped to handle stress. And that can lead to anxiety, depression, and other disorders down the road.

How Do You Know If You Are Sleep Deprived

This is one of those questions where the answer is, if you have to ask, you probably are.

Most people are sleep deprived, even without knowing it. Although to different degrees.

Im going to quickly go over the relevant research on sleep deprivation, how you can tell if you are sleep deprived, and how much sleep you actually need.

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Your Reaction Times Are Slower

Slow movement and response times are classic signs of sleep deprivation.

Youve seen the Hollywood moviesthe spilt coffee, the smashed mug, the frazzled hair, well theres some truth to that.

Sleep deprivation actually makes our response times a lot slower, almost as slow as being drunk believe it or not.

Its why, on average, 2900 people die on American roads every year. Sleep deprivation really can kill .

Your Motor Skills Are Off

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Yes, tripping over a step might make you a klutz. But do it a few times in a day and it might just mean you’re too tired to really focus on where you’re going.

A 2014 study published by the National Institutes of Health, suggests that acute sleep deprivation negatively impacts subsequent motor and reversal learning and memory. Meaning, “when you’re tired, there’s a lapse in how you neurologically function in general,” Dr. Winter says. With lowered reaction time and concentration also comes more difficulty with movement. “When you walk up and down the stairs, there’s a lot of processing going on there,” Dr. Winter says. “When sleep deprived you can’t process particularly well.”

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Nodding Off While Driving

Drowsy driving is a serious problem, and the 70 million Americans suffering from a sleep disorder are having a frightening effect on the highway. One out of every 25 adult drivers admit to falling asleep while driving in the past 30 days. That means a lot of people on the road are getting such poor sleep that it is putting their lives, and the lives of those around them, in jeopardy.

Falling asleep at the wheel is of course very dangerous. But just being overly sleepy can be harmful too. It can slow your reaction time to dangerous situations. The national highway administration estimates that 72,000 crashes a year are caused by drowsy drivers, leading to an estimated 800 deaths. Medications that make you sleepy can make this serious problem even worse, so check the labels carefully and avoid driving after taking these prescriptions.

Increased Risk Of Accidents

A lack of sleep can limit the ability to:

  • pay attention
  • react quickly
  • make decisions

A person who gets too little sleep may have a higher risk of drowsy driving, which can lead to accidents. In one survey, adults in the U.S. said that they had fallen asleep at the wheel within the last month. People should not drive or use machinery if they feel drowsy.

often help . A person can:

  • Try going to bed and waking up at the same times every day, even on the weekends, with the goal of establishing a routine.
  • Avoiding eating 23 hours before bedtime.
  • After trying to fall asleep for 20 minutes, get up and read, then try again later.
  • Get regular exercise during the day.
  • Keep the bedroom quiet, dark, and cool.
  • Turn off electronic devices and keep them away from the sleeping area.
  • Limit the consumption of caffeine and alcohol, especially close to bedtime.
  • Avoid tobacco use.
  • Use a mouth guard to manage bruxism.

If these measures do not help, a person should see a healthcare provider, especially if getting too little sleep is affecting the quality of life.

Some people find that devices help, including mouth guards, white noise machines, anti-snore devices, sleep trackers, wedge pillows, and other products. These are available for purchase online.

However, there is no guarantee that any of these will work.

A doctor, possibly a sleep specialist, starts by asking about:

Useful information can include:

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Avoid Things That Can Interfere With Sleep

A useful step in addressing sleep deprivation is to avoid things that can, often unbeknownst to you, negatively affect your sleep:

  • Electronic devices: TVs, cell phones, tablets, and computers can keep your mind stimulated, leaving you still wired when you want to go to bed. The light emitted by these devices can also interfere with your circadian rhythm. As a result, its best to avoid using electronic devices for an hour or more before bed.
  • Alcohol: Drinking, especially at night, can disrupt your normal sleep cycle, reducing overall sleep quality and consistency.
  • Caffeine: As a stimulant, caffeine makes you alert, and because it can stick around in your system for several hours, its best to avoid it in the afternoon and evening.
  • Naps: To keep naps from interfering with sleep at night, keep them short and never take them in the late afternoon or later. If you are struggling with insomnia, its best to avoid naps altogether.

Craving Salt Sugar And Junk Food

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Salty and sugary snacks are especially hard to avoid when you dont get enough zzzs. Your body seems to crave higher-calorie foods when youre tired. Given that many calorie-packed foods are sweet or salty, this connection makes sense.

Aside from the obesity risks discussed earlier, eating too much salt and added sugar has been associated with serious health problems. Getting too much sugar puts you at greater risk of diabetes and heart disease, among other conditions. Too much salt can damage your heart and kidneys, and may also harm your bones.

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How Much Sleep Do You Need

Just under 30% of young adults get 6.5 hours or less of sleep on weeknights . Thats obviously not enough.

But its not always so clear.

In order to tell if youre sleep deprived, you need to determine how much sleep you actually need.

This is a tough thing to do.

The way most research studies approach this is to :

  • Set up a good sleep environment .
  • Give sleepers as much time as theyd like to sleep for an extended period .
  • The average amount near the end is how much they probably ideally need.
  • You want to ignore the sleep in the first few days or week because thats usually catching up on sleep debt.

    For example, one study looked at 15 people and found:

    This implies that the actual sleep need for these 7.2-hour sleepers was about 8.5 hours.

    Losing over an hour of sleep per night will result in chronic sleep deprivation.

    Ideally, this is a sort of test you could do yourself on a vacation.

    If thats not possible, make a spreadsheet and record how long you sleep each night, as well as how well you score on an online test. There are free tests for alertness online that you can use for this .

    SummaryOver time, youll find that alertness improves with more sleep up until a certain point, and thats the amount of sleep you should aim for.

    References

    Your Immune System Sucks

    Dear Immune System, You had one job â to keep the diseases away. WTF?

    If you keep getting colds and always feel like garbage, lack of sleep might be to blame. Need proof? In one study, healthy people were injected with the cold virus. Those who had gotten less than seven hours of sleep each night the week before were three times more likely to develop cold symptoms compared to those who got eight hours or more. Oh the difference an hour makes.

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    Sleep Increases Sex Drive

    Men and women who don’t get enough quality sleep experience a loss of libido and less of an interest in sex, research suggests.

    Men who suffer from sleep apnoea a disorder in which breathing difficulties lead to interrupted sleep also tend to have lower testosterone levels, which can lower libido.

    Customize Your Bedroom Environment

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    Design your bedroom environment to be ideal for your relaxation. Youre less likely to avoid going to bed if your sleep setting is inviting and suits your comfort preferences.

    The best mattress and pillow for your needs and preferences should offer plenty of support, and your bedding should help you feel cozy while maintaining a moderate temperature. To minimize potential sleep disruptions, try to make sure your bedroom is as quiet and dark as possible.

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    The Cognitive Signs Of Sleep Deprivation: More Than Just Impaired Reaction Time

    Something flashes briefly on a screen. Did you notice? How quickly can you react? This is the basis for the psychomotor vigilance task, a test that psychologists use to measure alertness and reaction time. And unsurprisingly, sleepless people perform worse on this test: Impaired reaction time is a well-attested sign of sleep deprivation .

    It can get us into plenty of trouble danger, even, if were driving a vehicle. So were often warned about it. But this isnt the only cognitive symptom triggered by sleep loss. It isnt even the only symptom that undermines our ability to pay attention.

    Take, for example, the case of mind-wandering. Weve all experienced it at one time or another a spontaneous mental shift away from the task at hand. But for some children, mind-wandering happens a lot. They cant seem to help it.

    We might assume the difference comes down to a quirk of personality. Yet that isnt what researchers find. In a study of more than 520 kids, aged 6 to 18, Karen Spruyt and her colleagues tested for mind-wandering during a computerized attention task. They found that nearly half the differences between individuals mapped onto differences in sleep patterns, including how much total time a child spends in bed .

    To find out, the researchers put healthy teenagers through a cycle of sleep restriction and recovery five consecutive nights of sleep restriction , followed by two nights of recovery .

    You’re Having Trouble Seeing

    “When fatigued, you’re not able to control the muscles of the eye as well,” says Steven Shanbom, MD, an ophthalmologist in Berkley, Mich. First, skimping on shuteye tires out the ciliary muscle, which helps your eyes focus. The result: you’ll have a harder time reading up close, he says. Light can also affect the ciliary muscle. A 1999 NIH study showed a strong correlation between children who slept with the light on and near-sightedness later in life. While most adults sleep in total darkness, modern blue-light technology like TVs, computers, and cell phones can also contribute to poor sleep.

    Then there’s the extra ocular muscle, which moves the eye from side to side and up and down. “Many people have a muscle imbalance where their eyes don’t track well together,” Dr. Shanbom says, but in a well-rested person the eyes can compensate on their own. A lack of sleep makes the misalignment harder to control, potentially resulting in double vision. You might notice both of these vision problems after one night of poor sleep, but they will persist the less time you spend in bed.

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    Aches And Pains Seem Worse

    A common test for pain tolerance is to see how long someone can keep their hand in cold water.

    In trials published in May from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, those with insomnia were more likely to remove their hand earlier than those sleeping well.

    Studies have also shown those with chronic pain say their symptoms are worse when tired.

    “We’re still trying to unpick why, but there are some theories,” says Professor Nicole Tang, a health psychologist who specialises in sleep and pain at the University of Warwick. “Sleep loss lowers mood and, in a low mood state, people are more likely to be looking for pain and be more aware of it.

    “We also know that levels of inflammatory chemicals involved in pain are raised after a poor night’s sleep. Finally, one way the body controls pain is via signals sent down from the brain, which inhibit pain sensations – it’s possible that, during sleep deprivation, this descending pathway is weakened for some reason.

    Causes Of Sleep Deprivation

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    In a nutshell, sleep deprivation is caused by consistent lack of sleep or reduced quality of sleep. Getting less than 7 hours of sleep on a regular basis can eventually lead to health consequences that affect your entire body. This may also be caused by an underlying sleep disorder.

    Your body needs sleep, just as it needs air and food to function at its best. During sleep, your body heals itself and restores its chemical balance. Your brain forges new thought connections and helps memory retention.

    Without enough sleep, your brain and body systems wont function normally. It can also dramatically lower your quality of life.

    A found that sleeping too little at night increases the risk of early death.

    Noticeable signs of sleep deprivation include:

    Stimulants, such as caffeine, arent enough to override your bodys profound need for sleep. In fact, these can make sleep deprivation worse by making it harder to fall asleep at night.

    This, in turn, may lead to a cycle of nighttime insomnia followed by daytime caffeine consumption to combat the tiredness caused by the lost hours of shut-eye.

    Behind the scenes, chronic sleep deprivation can interfere with your bodys internal systems and cause more than just the initial signs and symptoms listed above.

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