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What Are The Signs Of Sleep Deprivation

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Craving Salt Sugar And Junk Food

Signs of Sleep Deprivation – Banner Health

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.

You Think You’ve Fallen Asleep At The Wheel

When you nod off for a few seconds without even knowing, it’s called micro-sleep. “The brain says, ‘I don’t care what you want to do. We are going to sleep,'” Dr. Winter says. It’s your body’s way of forcing you to get the rest you need. The big problem is that micro-sleep can be extremely dangerous if you happen to be driving. Between 2005 and 2009, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 2.2% to 2.6% of total fatal crashes involved drowsy driving. If you ever feel overly sleepy on the road, a safer bet would be to pull over and rest until you feel up to taking the wheel again.

How Many Hours Should I Be Sleeping To Avoid Sleep Deprivation

Whilst you may have heard that 6-8 hours of sleep is optimal, it actually entirely depends on what time you went to bed.

Heres why in order to restore and regenerate, every night our bodies go through sleep REM cycles.

These cycles usually last 90 minutes each, and ideally youll want to have 6-9 of them each night.

So, the trick with this isnt to track how many hours you sleep, but rather how many 90-minute REM cycles you go through.

This will help you discover exactly when you should be going to bed and when you should be getting up.

For example, lets say you want to wake up at 6am, youll want to go to sleep either at 9pm or 10:30pm as that allows for the right amount of sleep cycles. You can do this exercise with any time.

This way you can set an alarm for 6am knowing that youre getting the optimum amount of sleep.

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But Why Are We Like This

So, why do we keep doing this to ourselves? The answer is not so straightforward and a lot of it comes down to our culture, technology, prioritization of productivity over health, and stress.

2020 isn’t making our sleep recovery any easier, either. “Stressors like dealing with the uncertainties of elections, or the societal changes associated with a pandemic can lead to an impairment in the brain’s ability to successfully restore brain and bodily functions during sleep,” says Dr. Nofzinger. “In these cases, the mind can still be working too hard, despite being “asleep” and lead to feelings of sleep deprivation the following day.”

“Stressors like dealing with the uncertainties of elections, or the societal changes associated with a pandemic can lead to an impairment in the brain’s ability to successfully restore brain and bodily functions during sleep.”

Both Dr. Nofzinger and Dr. Dimitriu cite anxiety as a chief contributor to the loss of sleep hours and quality. “Anxiety can often lead to insomnia, which can impact the amount and depth of sleep and our 24/7 inboxes certainly do not give us a break,” says Dr. Dimitriu. “I often joke with my patients that our days are so busy, ‘they have squeezed out our nights.'” “There simply isn’t time or reward for sleeping more .” This is where culture plays a large role in sleep deprivation.

These Are The Signs You’re Sleep Deprived

Effects Of Sleep Deprivation Infographic

Depending on caffeine may seem like an obvious sign, but it bears emphasizing. “If you’re drinking more than one cup of coffee or Red Bull to get through the day, chances are, you’re sleep-deprived,” says Dr. Dimitriu.

The other one? Yawning and dreaming of laying down on the couch in your office the whole day. How you feel in the afternoon specifically is a dead giveaway for the quality of last night’s shuteye, Dr. Dimitriu says. While everyone gets a dip in energy in the afternoon, if you’re sleep-deprived, it’s like trying to run a marathon through wet cement wearing a lead backpack .

“If you’re drinking more than one cup of coffee or Red Bull to get through the day, chances are, you’re sleep-deprived.”

“When someone is sleeping well at night and they have allowed themselves an adequate amount of time in bed to feel rested, they typically would not feel the desire to lay down, or rest, or sleep, during the daytime Individuals who are sleep deprived do,” Dr. Nofzinger says. Makes sense.

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Working Memory And Attention

Besides the many physical consequences of insufficient sleep, perhaps the most important consequences of sleep deprivation are deficits in working memory and attention. Lapses in ordinary mundane routines can cause worrying results from missing words or sentences while taking notes to omitting important ingredients while cooking. It appears that carrying out tasks that require attention is in direct correlation to the number of hours the person sleeps each night with these functions declining with the number hours of sleep deprivation. Methods such as choice-reaction time tasks are used to test working memory. Sadly, these attentional lapses can move into critical domains whereby the consequences could well result in life or death: industrial accidents and car crashes can be the result of inattentiveness, directly attributable to sleep deprivation.

Researchers typically use the psychomotor vigilance task in order to measure the magnitude of attention deficits: this simply requires the patient to press a button at pseudo-random intervals in response to a light. An error is recorded when the patient fails to press the button in response to the light , and this is noted as being attributable to the micro-sleeps occurring due to sleep deprivation.

Healthy Brain Function And Emotional Well

Sleep helps your brain work properly. While you’re sleeping, your brain is preparing for the next day. It’s forming new pathways to help you learn and remember information.

Studies show that a good night’s sleep improves learning. Whether you’re learning math, how to play the piano, how to perfect your golf swing, or how to drive a car, sleep helps enhance your learning and problem-solving skills. Sleep also helps you pay attention, make decisions, and be creative.

Studies also show that sleep deficiency alters activity in some parts of the brain. If you’re sleep deficient, you may have trouble making decisions, solving problems, controlling your emotions and behavior, and coping with change. Sleep deficiency also has been linked to depression, suicide, and risk-taking behavior.

Children and teens who are sleep deficient may have problems getting along with others. They may feel angry and impulsive, have mood swings, feel sad or depressed, or lack motivation. They also may have problems paying attention, and they may get lower grades and feel stressed.

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Make The Most Of The Day

Getting frequent sunlight exposure during the day supports a healthy circadian rhythm that helps you be alert during the day and sleepy at night. Regular physical activity can also contribute to a normal sleep schedule, so try to engage in at least moderate exercise every day.

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Sleepiness Makes You Forgetful

Signs of Sleep Deprivation

Trying to keep your memory sharp? Try getting plenty of sleep.

In 2009, American and French researchers determined that brain events called ââ¬Åsharp wave ripplesââ¬ï¿½ are responsible for consolidating memory. The ripples also transfer learned information from the hippocampus to the neocortex of the brain, where long-term memories are stored. Sharp wave ripples occur mostly during the deepest levels of sleep.

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How Much Sleep Do You Actually Need

Everyone feels better after a good nights rest. But now, thanks to a report from the National Sleep Foundation, you can aim for a targeted sleep number tailored to your age.

The foundation based its report on two years of research andbreaks it down into nine age-specific categories, with a slight range thatallows for individual preference:

  • Older adults, 65+ years: 7 to 8 hours.
  • Adults, 26 to 64 years: 7 to 9 hours.
  • Young adults, 18 to 25 years: 7 to 9 hours.
  • Teenagers, 14 to 17 years: 8 to 10 hours.
  • School-age children, 6 to 13 years: 9 to 11 hours.
  • Preschool children, 3 to 5 years: 10 to 13 hours.
  • Toddlers, 1 to 2 years: 11 to 14 hours.
  • Infants, 4 to 11 months: 12 to 15 hours.
  • Newborns, 0 to 3 months: 14 to 17 hours.

Dr. Walia says theres evidence that genetic, behavioral and environmental factors help determine how much sleep an individual needs for their best health and daily performance.

But a minimum of seven hours of sleep is a step in the rightdirection to improve your health, she says.

You Chug More Caffeine

Not a huge surprise: If your usual 2 cups of joe just arenât cutting it, you may not be as rested as usual. Caffeine may seem like an answer to poor sleep, but it quickly can become part of the problem. In the short term, the pick-me-up of coffee or soda may make you more alert, but in the long term, it can lead to insomnia or anxiety.

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Sleep Quality Matters Too

This is important: “Sleep quality is as important as sleep quantity,” says Alex Dimitriu, M.D., a double board-certified psychiatrist and sleep medicine doctor, and founder of Menlo Park Psychiatry & Sleep Medicine.

“It’s important to note that the key measure is not the actual number of minutes you are sleeping, but whether or not you are getting a good quality of sleep to feel rested,” says Dr. Nofzinger. “Having said that, it’s important to note that not all sleep is alike. Getting eight hours of ‘poor sleep’ can be like getting no sleep at all and can lead to sleep deprivation.”

This is why spending more time in bed is important. “Each night we have micro awakenings if you’re in bed for eight hours, you’re for sure getting less than seven hours of sleep,” says Gilliland. He suggests aiming to be in bed for nine hours in order to get the necessary eight hours of sleep.

“If your time in bed is artificially disrupted, say even by 30 minutes to an hour, by personal, work, or social demands, then you are likely to feel sleep-deprived,” says Dr. Nofzinger. “And this is more the case if these disruptions occur on a regular basis, night after night.”

Feeling Anxious And Being Unable To Switch Off

Sleep Deprivation: Symptoms, Causes, Effects and Prevention

Anxiety is something I personally face and I resonate – its awful. From feeling restless to that racy mind that wont switch off it can make a seemingly nice experience one that is awful.

And, according to the mental health organisation Beyond Blue, one in four suffer anxiety at any one given time – and if youre not sleeping enough, chances are this is you: research by the University of Chicago found that just one night of insufficient sleep can see the stress hormone cortisol increase by 37 per cent. After two nights, its 45 per cent. The consequences of this include an inability to switch off, feeling wired but tired and mental rumination.

Sound familiar?

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What Are Signs Of Sleep Deprivation

Feeling tired every day? Don’t ignore those symptoms.

Everyday Health: What are the most common signs of sleep deprivation, and why is it important not to ignore them?

David O. Volpi, MD, FACS

Daytime symptoms of sleep deprivation include waking with headaches and feeling fatigued throughout the day. The sleep deprived can feel irritable. They can have poor memory, lack of concentration, and inability to perform certain tasks, which leads to poor job performance. They can have difficulty with motor function, and it can be dangerous for them to operate a car or machinery. Cognitive functions such as math skills can be affected. It can lead to depression as well. Its important not to ignore these symptoms because sleep deprivation ultimately affects their work life and relationships, and gives them a poor quality of life not to mention that there may be the underlying physical cause of snoring or sleep apnea.

William Dement, MD, PhD

The main sign of sleep deprivation, in an otherwise healthy person, is being tired all the time. Falling asleep requires a lesser degree of bodily activity. Heavy eyelids are the major sign of sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation leads to cognitive impairment and the potentially fatal danger of falling asleep in a hazardous situation, like behind a wheel of a car.

Russell Rosenberg, PhD

Scott Eveloff, MD

Conrad Iber, MD

John K. Mori, MD

Common Causes Of Sleep Deprivation:

Sleep disorders that reduce sleep time like insomnia, sleep apnea, RLS, and others.

  • Sleep disorders that interfere with the brains ability to stay awake, including narcolepsy and primary hypersomnia.
  • Insufficient total sleep time.
  • Distractions during sleep from a bed partner. There is data to suggest that bed partner snoring can cause disruption to sleep.

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Your Eyes Dont Look Good

Redness, puffiness, dark circles, and bags — all signs that youâre not getting enough shut-eye. The sleep-deprived tend to get more wrinkles, lines, swelling, and droopiness, studies show. Why? It may be that your body misses out on the hormone control and tissue repair that happens in deep sleep stages.

Get The Rest You Need

Symptoms of Sleep Deprivation

Most adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night. Make sure itâs restful:

  • Stick to a schedule, which means going to bed and waking up about the same time each day.
  • Keep your room cool, quiet, and dark.
  • Exercise regularly, especially workouts that get your heart pumping. It may promote deeper sleep.

A good nightâs sleep repairs the body and mind, which helps you function at your best.


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How Much Sleep Is Enough

Sleep requirements differ from one person to the next depending on age, physical activity levels, general health and other individual factors. In general:

  • Primary school children need about nine to 10 hours. Studies show that increasing your childs sleep by as little as half an hour can dramatically improve school performance.
  • Teenagers need about nine to 10 hours too. Teenagers have an increased sleep requirement at the time when social engagements and peer pressure cause a reduction in sleep time. Lifestyle factors such as early school start times deprive them of the required sleep-in. There is evidence that around the time of becoming a teenager, there is a shift in the sleep-wake cycle to being sleepy later in the evening with a preference for waking later.
  • Adults need about eight hours, depending on individual factors. We tend to need less sleep as we age, but be guided by your own state of alertness if you feel tired during the day, aim to get more sleep.

Longest Periods Without Sleep

Randy Gardner holds the scientifically documented record for the longest period of time a human being has intentionally gone without sleep not using stimulants of any kind. Gardner stayed awake for 264 hours , breaking the previous record of 260 hours held by Tom Rounds of Honolulu.LCDR John J. Ross of the U.S. Navy Medical Neuropsychiatric Research Unit later published an account of this event, which became well known among sleep-deprivation researchers.

The Guinness World Record stands at 449 hours , held by Maureen Weston, of Peterborough, Cambridgeshire in April 1977, in a rocking-chair marathon.

Claims of total sleep deprivation lasting years have been made several times, but none are scientifically verified. Claims of partial sleep deprivation are better documented. For example, Rhett Lamb of St. Petersburg, Florida was initially reported to not sleep at all, but actually had a rare condition permitting him to sleep only one to two hours per day in the first three years of his life. He had a rare abnormality called an ArnoldChiari malformation where brain tissue protrudes into the spinal canal and the skull puts pressure on the protruding part of the brain. The boy was operated on at All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg in May 2008. Two days after surgery he slept through the night.

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Consequences Of Sleep Deprivation

The lack of sleep effects become more pronounced the longer the body goes without sleep. Mild sleep deprivation has some immediate and sometimes almost unnoticeable effects, such as impaired memory and alertness. These can lead to poor work performance and difficulty in personal relationships. Sleep deprivation can also lead to grumpiness, irritability, and depression. There are also a number of studies that suggest that lack of sleep can trigger sleep deprivation headaches and migraines.7

Chronic sleep deprivation can have serious health implications. Persistent sleep deficiency can lead to a number of physical health risks, including hypertension, diabetes, and heart issues.8 It can also lead to significant psychological issues, including anxiety and depression.

The human body requires sleep to function. Getting no sleep at all can lead to psychosis and even death.9 The potential for fatal repercussions of this means there are not many tests conducted on the effects of total sleep deprivation in humans. The longest recorded time someone has gone without sleeping was eleven days.10

Youre Hungry All The Time

10 Scary Side Effects Of Sleep Deprivation

Your brain needs energy all the time to function and what better way to find that energy than food.

Energy that would normally come from a session of restorative sleep has to be replaced somehow.

However, when youre sleep deprived your body often has hormonal imbalances namely you will produce more of the ghrelin hormone, the hormone that makes you feel hunger and less of the hormone that keeps you feeling full, leptin.

The result? You crave more of certain food types .

This dangerous combination of eating unhealthier foods and your body releasing more of the hunger hormone leads to the next sign of sleep deprivation weight gain.

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