Have you ever spent a night trying to get some sleep but all your efforts are in vain?
Tossing and turning in the bed all night and getting no sleep can make you grumpy, tired and cranky for the next day. If this keeps on going, you will see that the effects of getting less or no sleep are real.
The main things to blame for this are:
- Spending all day in front of the computers
- Taking work home
- Leaving all the necessary work for night time.
This not only affects your mood, intelligence, and outlook but also your health.
As the name suggests, sleep deprivation is basically when a person stays alert and awake for a long time and get little sleep as compared to what is needed by the body. The amount of sleep needed by a person to stay fresh and keep away from sleep deprivation varies with the body type.
Studies show that adults are more resistant to effects of resistance to deprivation while teenagers and young adults are more susceptible to effects and results of deprivation.
It is a situation or a condition of not getting enough sleep. Napping can primarily be explained by the process of charging. It is like charging your body and your senses by giving it a boost of energy. If you lack sleep you will not be able to function properly.
There are two types of deprivations; it can either be chronic or acute.
In chronic deprivation, the patient can feel fatigue, sleepiness during the day, weight loss or weight gain, depending on how the body reacts. Acute deprivation is total deprivation which is hardly seen in humans and can also be fatal. In some cases, chronic deprivation can make the patient more alert and energetic. This totally depends on how the patient’s body reacts.
Facts related to sleep deprivation
Some of the facts about deprivation that everybody should know are as follows:
- When you don’t give your body the amount of sleep required to remain fresh, you keep adding to the debt, this debt starts turning into deprivation after some time.
- The negative effects of deprivation are mostly witnessed among people between ages 5 to 30.
- This deprivation can also be a result of any kind of medical consideration, disorder or mental problem.
- Studies have shown that the deprivation of sleep has been a cause of very dangerous accidents whether in ships, cars or even airplanes.
- Lack of nap time can cause an alteration in your intelligence level, your aptitude, and cognitive reasoning, your alertness as well as your focus and concentration
A normal person needs at least seven to nine hours of sleep during the night. There are many symptoms through which our body starts warning us about the deprivation we are approaching. One of the main symptoms is sleepiness throughout the day. You don’t feel fresh and have a foggy mind throughout the day. You keep on yawning and stay restless because of the lack of napping.
Apart from this main symptom, other symptoms are:
- Hunger: With the deprivation come lots and lots of hunger. Since your body is not getting enough energy, your brain deviates it towards food. It gives the body hunger signals so that the body can get the required energy from food.
- Obesity: Sudden gain weight with the loss of sleep cycle is not something new when the body is in deprivation. Since you start eating a lot and your body is not able to burn the calories, they convert into fat. Sleeping also helps in burning calories.
- Impulsive behavior: Due to deprivation, your body stays exhausted. With this exhaustion, your body makes impulsive movements, impulsive actions and indulges in impulsive behavior. This is because your ability of rational thinking starts getting affected.
- Lower memory: Lack of napping starts affecting your memory as well. You start forgetting where you put your car keys or your important documents. This might be because of the deprivation your body is going through. Mostly the lack of attention is the reason for this.
- Mood swings: Lack of napping or deprivation can affect your mood immensely. You start feeling cranky and hormonal all the time. Fatigue and irritability take You start staying depressed; all these moods also start affecting your work and lifestyle as well.
- Immunity: After a few days of staying deprived, your immunity starts getting weaker. You start facing significant problems with your health. You start catching viruses and small problems like these easily.
- Skin: In the end, your skin starts getting affected. It appears dull and dark circles also start showing. You will see pimples and melasma popping up. This is all because of the hormonal imbalance that is caused because of the lack of napping.
The negative effects of sleep deprivation are vast. Once you start getting deprived each and every part of your body starts getting affected in one way or another. From weight gain to your married life, each and every aspect is negatively affected.
- Memory problems: the connections of your brain are enforced and formed so that you can retain all the knowledge you have gained throughout the day. A lack of sleep can messes with these connections, affecting both your short-term memory and your long-term
- Mood swings: lack of sleep can make you very distracted and moody at all time. It can make you easily irritated and short tempered. These kinds of mood changes are the main cause of depression and anxiety.
- Weak immunity: napping basically gives energy to all parts of your body including the immunity. Once you start going into the state of deprivation, like all other parts, your immunity also weakens. This makes your body susceptible to germs and viruses.
- Lack of concentration: when you don’t get enough rest your ability to think properly, focusing and concentrating on things is lost.
- Blood pressure: high blood pressure is associated with a lot of diseases which include brain hemorrhage and heart attack. The risk of suffering from high blood pressure significantly increases if you get less sleep time than you should.
- Heart disease: with lack of nap time, the chemicals that cause inflammation start producing in the body. This along with high blood pressure causes a great risk of heart attack.
- Hormones: Deprivation can also mess with the hormonal levels of your body which also affects your libido. In men, it causes a low level of testosterone and in women, it disrupts the balance of estrogen.
As you start losing your sleep cycle and go through a phase of deprivation your body undergoes a number of changes. With time these changes intensify and make things even harder. Some of the starting stages and changes that come with deprivation are:
- 24 hours: once you go into the sleep deprivation mode, within the first 24 hours you will notice a change in your judgment of things, your coordination and balance as well as your memory. This change is comparable to what happens when a person has 0.1 percent of alcohol in his/her bloodstream. This is called cognitive impairment.
- 36 hours: after the first 36 hours pass, the deprivation starts attacking your body physically. The number of inflammatory markers in your bloodstream start rising significantly which can cause heart-related You also might start feeling dizzy and dehydrated.
- 48 hours: after two whole days of sleep deprivation you start feeling disoriented and also suffer from microsleeps. Microsleeps are basically the shutting down phases of your mind in which you completely black out. The phases are followed by disorientation.
- 72 hours: the worst conditions start appearing after the passing of 72 hours. Major cognitive deficits followed by hallucinations are witnessed. Your perception of things and concentration is significantly affected. Even small day to day conversations seem difficult and energy draining.
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Can you die from sleep deprivation?
Sleep deprivation in extreme cases can be fatal. Normal deprivation where you don’t get enough sleep messes with your mood and coordination but it cannot be fatal until it reaches the extreme.
The extreme case is known as fatal insomnia which is a very rare disease that starts interfering with your sleep such that your mental functions start deteriorating and you start losing your coordination. It has two parts familial and sporadic.
The fatal familial insomnia is inherited through genes which are caused by mutations while the sporadic insomnia is spontaneous and does not require any mutations in genes. As of time, this kind of insomnia has no cure and you can even die.
Sleep deprivation is mainly caused by bad sleeping habits. If you leave most of your work to for doing at night or are fond of spending nights out with friends, you cycle can be disrupted to an extent from where coming back is not very easy. You have to make sure you get a sound sleep for the number of hours that is required by your body.
The amount of sleep required by you depends on your age. Adults between the ages 18 to 64 require an average of 7 to 9 hours of sleep daily. As compared to this, children between ages 6 to 13 require 9 to 11 hours of sleep while adults above the age of 65 require 7 to 8 hours of sleep.
Once this requirement is not met the sleep debt starts increasing and after a certain amount of time, your body starts going through the phase of deprivation.
Who is at a risk?
No one is safe from sleep deprivation. It affects people of all races, ethnicities and ages alike but a certain group of people is more susceptible to this because of their nature of work and the way their body works. The people who are at a greater risk of developing deprivation are:
- People who are on medications that affect their cycle.
- People whose work or shift interfere with their internal biological clock. These include nurses and doctors who have to work night shifts and also students who are adopting the change in environment.
- People who abuse medications and drugs to keep themselves awake, using alcohol and drugs like marijuana and cocaine in great amounts can also cause sleep deprivation.
- People who have medical conditions that go undiagnosed like anxiety and stress.
- People whose work requires them to sleep very little, for example.
What makes you sleep?
Your sleep cycle depends on two important factors in your body. Your body has a body clock which has a circadian rhythm that has a repeating cycle of 24 hours.
The first thing responsible for controlling the rhythm is the building pressure that makes you feel sleepy. This pressure increases with every growing hour. Adenosine is responsible for this pressure. The time, during which you are awake, the level of adenosine keeps on increasing. When it reaches a certain level the pressure starts building and forces you to sleep.
The second thing that controls this body clock is your internal clock which is triggered by the environment. The light and the dark atmosphere along with the peacefulness of night is what makes you feel sleepy. Similarly, the hustle bustle of the day prevents you from getting drowsy.
Cortisol is the compound that is released by your body on sunrise. This compound prepares your body for waking up in the morning.
Sleep deprivation treatments
Through behavioral changes
When a person is having physical or psychological problems in sleeping, treatment is required. A therapist or a sleeping specialist can help the patient by introducing a number of techniques that can help in eliminating the root cause and getting rid of the deprivation. Some of these techniques are:
This is done by different muscles at different times. Meditation techniques along with breathing exercises and mindfulness training help the patients in regaining their sleep cycle. Sometimes the audio is also used for helping the patient sleep at night.
For example, if a person is fond of sleeping late at night and waking up early, this therapy can be used to eliminate that as it is one of the main causes of deprivation. This helps the patient develop a healthier pattern of life as well as sleeping.
In cases where therapy and behavioral changes don’t help and all the efforts of therapists are in vain, medications are important. These medications help in the induction of sleep in the patient. Some of these medications can be bought directly from the pharmacy while others need a proper prescription from a specialist.
A large variety of medications is available. The kinds of medication that work for a patient depend on their body type and routine. Some of the most used medications for deprivation treatment are benzodiazepines, non-benzodiazepine hypnotics, and melatonin receptor, antagonists.
The importance of limiting your dosage is significant as some patients tend to develop a dependency on these medications which can cause even more complications.
- Also read: Can you overdose on melatonin
Home management to get enough sleep
The best part of self-diagnosis and treatment is that you can detect problems at an early stage and can reverse the by proper management and routine. To improve your habits and prevent any kind of deprivation, you should follow these tips.
- Make sure you to bed whenever you feel sleepy or tired. Don’t let the pressure build.
- Keep your routine consistent. Decide a certain time and sleep at that time every day.
- Make sure you have your last meal three hours before the nap time.
- If you cannot sleep after half an hour of trying, either put or some soothing music or read until you fall asleep.
- Indulge in physical activities during the day.
- Stay away from all kind of electronic devices at least an hour before going to sleep.
- Indulge in relaxation techniques before going to bed.
- Keep your room quiet and dark before going to bed.
- Use bed mists which help you relax and improve your sleep quality.
Making these techniques a part of your daily life will help you get rid of deprivation and get rid of all the accumulated debt. You will start noticing a difference within a week.
With sleep deprivation, the part of your brain that deals with reasoning are affected the most. This is known as the prefrontal cortex. The amygdala, which deals with your emotions, also gets affected and your emotions become a mess.
To prevent situations like these it is extremely important that you look after your routine and also look for any symptoms of deprivation. Where small disruptions in your nap might not lead to a big problem, an ongoing and repeated lack of rest can cause big problems. You should always be on the lookout.