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What Does Sleep Deprivation Feel Like

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Are All Definitions Of Sleep Deprivation The Same

What does sleep deprivation look like in kids?

In sleep medicine, sleep deprivation is defined based on sleep duration, which is the total amount of time a person spends asleep. In reality, though, being well-rested is about more than just how many hours you sleep. As a result, the terms sleep deficiency or sleep insufficiency are more frequently used to describe factors that reduce the quantity and/or quality of sleep and keep a person from waking up refreshed.

In this way, sleep deficiency has a broader application. For example, a person who sleeps for a total of eight hours but with many awakenings that fragment their sleep may have insufficient sleep even though their sleep duration technically meets the recommended amount.

This terminology can be distinct from everyday conversation in which the term sleep deprivation may be used with a wider meaning that refers to poor sleep overall and not just total sleep duration.

Even in the medical field, studies may use different technical definitions of sleep deprivation as some classify it as seven hours of sleep or fewer while others use six hours as the cutoff.

Why Dont People Value Sleep

Most people who donât get enough sleep donât recognize the toll that it takes on their cognitive and mental health.

Many people think of sleep simply as a luxury — a little downtime. They know they feel better when they get a good nightâs sleep and worse when they donât. But sleep actually improves learning, memory, and insight.

âYouâre putting energy in the bank when you go to sleep,â says Barry Krakow, MD, medical director of Maimonides Sleep Arts and Sciences, Ltd. in Albuquerque, N.M., and author of Sound Sleep, Sound Mind: 7 Keys to Sleeping Through the Night. âOn a cellular level, the body is literally repairing and restoring itself. Without it, you canât do what you want — physically or mentally.â

And catching up on your sleep is a bigger job than many people realize. If you get less than six hours of sleep a night for a week, for example, youâll rack up a full nightâs sleep debt — too much to make up for with a few hours extra sleep on the weekend.

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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Hormone Changes In Sleep Deprivation Impact Weight Thyroid Function

Sleep deprivation can have significant and important effects on the secretion of hormones from endocrine glands, especially those that follow a circadian pattern. A classic example includes the effect of sleep loss or disruption in children and the impact on growth. Growth hormone is secreted during slow-wave sleep, which is more common in the early part of the night in children. When this sleep is disrupted, either through inadequate sleep or from disorders such as sleep apnea, the amount of growth hormone released is compromised. As a result, children may not reach their full growth potential, becoming shorter than they otherwise would have been.

Sleep deprivation also seems to affect the activity of the thyroid gland. It is thought that the increased energy needs while staying awake for too long demand more work from the thyroid.

Fortunately, studies also suggest that many other hormones do not seem to be affected by sleep deprivation, including:

  • Cortisol
  • Testosterone
  • Progesterone

This may provide you some relief, but there is still a risk of major health effects from not getting enough sleep.

Who Is At Risk

The Dangers of Sleep Deprivation
  • College students
  • Those with medical conditions
  • Those with sleep disorders

Sleep Deprivation or Sleep Disorder?Sleep disorders are a group of conditions that make it difficult to get adequate sleep on a regular basis.Common types of sleeping disorders are:

  • Dyssomnias – A broad classification of sleeping disorders involving difficulty getting to sleep, remaining asleep, or of excessive sleepiness
  • Parasomnias – Parasomnias are undesirable experiences that occur “around sleep” including sleepwalking, sleep terrors, sleep eating and sleep paralysis
  • Sleep disorders associated with mental, neurological & other medical disorders – Sleep disorders often coexist with anxiety and panic disorders, depression, ADHD, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder and other medical issues such as Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s.
  • Insomnia – Trouble falling and/or staying asleep.
  • Sleep apnea – A serious sleep disorder where breathing is interrupted.
  • Restless leg syndrome – A nervous disorder that causes overwhelming urges to move legs.
  • Narcolepsy – A chronic sleep disorder that affects the brain’s ability to control sleep-wake cycles.

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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.

Why Is Sleep Important

Sleep plays a vital role in good health and well-being throughout your life. Getting enough quality sleep at the right times can help protect your mental health, physical health, quality of life, and safety.

The way you feel while you’re awake depends in part on what happens while you’re sleeping. During sleep, your body is working to support healthy brain function and maintain your physical health. In children and teens, sleep also helps support growth and development.

The damage from sleep deficiency can occur in an instant , or it can harm you over time. For example, ongoing sleep deficiency can raise your risk for some chronic health problems. It also can affect how well you think, react, work, learn, and get along with others.

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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 Sleep Deprivation Decays The Mind And Body

What Sleep Deprived Charlie Looks Like

Getting too little sleep can have serious health consequences, including depression, weight gain, and heart disease. It is torture. I know.

I awoke in a bed for the first time in days. My joints ached and my eyelids, which had been open for so long, now lay heavy as old hinges above my cheekbones. I wore two pieces of clothing: an assless gown and a plastic bracelet.

I remembered the hallway I had been wheeled down, and the doctors office where I told the psychiatrist he was the devil, but not this room. I forced myself up and stumbled, grabbing the chair and the bathroom doorknob for balance. I made it to the toilet, then threw water on my face at the sink, staring into the mirror in the little lavatory. My tousled hair shot out around my puffy face my head throbbed. I looked hungover.

In those first moments, I remembered the basics about what had landed me in the hospital: Some pseudo-philosophical ranting and flailing brought on by a poorly executed experiment to see how long I could last without sleep.

I was 18, in Italy, on a school-sponsored trip with that pompously misnamed group for American teens who earn As and Bs, the National Honor Society. I stayed up writing all night, and the next morning, on little more than impulse, I decided to go for it.

Why? There are a few layers of why, and I will mine them later.

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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.

You Approach Risk Differently

Find yourself looking at risk differently? It could be because youre sleep deprived.

A recent study showed that both men and women approach making a decision thats considered risky very differently when suffering from a lack of sleep.

It was discovered that the area in the brain associated with risk taking, the pre frontal cortex, is highly impacted with a loss of sleep.

Men were found to be twice as likely to make riskier decisions when sleep deprived than women, especially when it came to money.

Whereas women were found to be warier and more cautious around making such decisions when sleep deprived.

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Not Prioritizing It Has Negative Health Consequences

Its estimated that about one-third of adults and two-thirds of high school students dont get enough sleep each night .

Unfortunately, not getting enough sleep can cause issues other than feeling tired.

If youre sleep deprived, you may engage in poor decision-making, be less creative, and have an increased risk of motor vehicle accidents (

13 ).

And because its the time when your body clears waste from the brain, it may be the reason why poor sleep seems to be associated with an increased risk of Alzheimers disease .


Not getting enough sleep is linked to many adverse effects, including impaired focus and decision-making and an increased risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and Alzheimers.

Get The Rest You Need

This Is How Sleep Deprivation Affects Your Appearance

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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Sleep Deprivation Stage : 36 Hours

The longer you go without sleep, the worse the stages of sleep deprivation becomes.

While even a little bit of sleep loss has a negative effect on the cardiovascular system, for instance, 36 hours without sleep can put serious pressure on your heart. Your blood pressure increases, and your heart rate increases too.

Additionally, your cognitive performance is likely to deteriorate. You may have trouble properly recalling faces, and your ability to remember words will be damaged.

Studies have found that as the levels of sleep deprivation progress, your ability to practice complex skills, like making verbs out of nouns, will go completely haywire.

Major Health Effects Of Sleep Deprivation

Ultimately, the concern of these various physical effects of sleep deprivation is the role it may have in our overall health. Indeed, sleep deprivation may negatively affect our health and may even lead to death in extreme situations.

Moreover, chronic sleep deprivation may adversely impact our metabolism, leading to impaired glucose tolerance and weight gain. In addition, there seems to be some evidence that sleep deprivation undermines our immune function, putting us at risk for frequent illness. There is also some concern that chronic sleep deprivation may contribute to conditions like cancer and even memory problems like dementia.

For all of these reasons, is it is important that we place a premium on our sleep and obtain the amount of rest that our bodies need.

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What To Do About Depression And Sleep Deprivation

So, what can you do about sleep deprivation and depression?

Treating your depression with cognitive behavioural therapy and meditation could help you to overcome your issues with sleep loss. At the same time, improving your sleep hygiene and looking for ways to reduce your sleep deprivation issues could make you feel more positive too.

One thing to keep in mind is that usually, first line treatment for depression in the form of antidepressants, might not be helpful for those suffering from sleep deprivation. Albeit some antidepressants do have drowsiness as a helpful adverse effect.

Speaking to your doctor could help you to come up with a strategy to control your sleep deprivation, depression and anxiety. That plan might include things like medications, natural supplements, receiving therapy and even just improving your sleep schedule.

Your doctor will be able to help you get to the bottom of whats causing your depression and sleep deprivation, so that you can find a suitable solution to the problem together.

Dont forget to check out the other articles here at Siestio.com for more assistance in improving your sleep routine too!

Siestio. Sleep Matters.

Medical disclaimerYou must not rely on the information provided on our website as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other healthcare professionals. For more information read our full disclaimer here.

Sleep Increases Sex Drive

What Sleep Deprivation Does To Your Body

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.

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Substance Use And Risky Behavior

Research by Dr. Carskadon and several others shows that sleep-deprived teens are far more likely to use stimulants like caffeine and nicotine to get through the day but also to deal with sleep-related negative moods by self-medicating with alcohol. Theyre also more likely to engage in unprotected sex and reckless driving than teens who get upwards of 7 hours of sleep a night because they lack impulse control and suffer from impaired judgment that leads to poor decision-making.

As a college student, Carolyn Capputo made the choice to drive knowing she was severely sleep deprived even after shed fallen asleep at the wheel. Now a number of years out of college, she knows she was lucky she didnt cause a serious accident, but at the time it just didnt seem like a big deal. The summer before my sophomore year in college, she says, Id routinely stay up past 3 am chatting online with my best friend because we missed each other and were still keeping college hours . Then Id wake up at 6:30 in the morning to go to my summer job. I fell asleep driving to work more than once.

There is data that shows that because teens are not fully developed in terms of their executive functioning, says Dr. Carskadon, even acute short-sleep can lead to risky behavior and poor judgment. The combination of the lack of infrastructure and poor sleep sends them down the wrong path.

What Are The Side Effects Of Not Sleeping Enough

Did you know that just missing 1-2 hours of sleep negatively affects mood, attention span and cognitive ability the following day?

In todays society were all very eager to believe that working one more hour and losing out on sleep will make us more productive, but in reality, its likely to have the opposite effect.

Sleep, according to the UK Sleep Council, is not a passive process. Our bodies physically need sleep to restore our cells, tissues and even get rid of toxins.

The side effects of not sleeping enough can be fairly serious. From poor cognitive function, increased inflammation to reduced immune function.

If sleep deprivation continues, it may increase our risk of contracting serious chronic diseases by up to 29%.

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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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