What Are the Symptoms of Sleep Deprivation?
Sleep deprivation can be a pretty serious condition. It’s not just tiredness or general apathy after a bad night’s sleep, some symptoms can have long lasting effects on your health. While it’s always good to find the root of the problem before these symptoms occur, sometimes it’s good to know what to look for so that you know how to treat it.
The causes of sleep deprivation can be as varied as the symptoms exhibited. While insomnia is typically the main cause, other factors include sleep apnea, mental illness, and even a long school or work day. It’s important to remember that in most cases, these causes are temporary and within your control to change. Whether it’s trying a new diet, getting to bed earlier, or even buying a new mattress, there are always things to try to get you over the hump of sleep deprivation. As anyone who has suffered from it knows, it’s no walk in the park.
Sleep Deprivation Symptoms
A new study put out by the CDC says that between 50 and 70 million Americans could be exhibiting symptoms of sleep deprivation at any given time, making this a national sleep epidemic. That means that you could be exhibiting symptoms and not know it. Low grade sleep deprivation can take many forms. Obviously, it means that you’ll be tired when you’re awake. It can also mean aching muscles, confusion, memory loss, and even tremors. Typically these are symptoms that can happen even after just a day or two of regular sleep loss.
If you’re experiencing sudden headaches, this too could be because of sleep deprivation. Ironically, some of these symptoms can make it harder for your body to sleep, which makes it even more important that you practice good sleep hygiene when faced with these maladies. The longer they’re left unchecked, the more severe they can become. Something like low grade sleep deprivation can soon balloon into something more severe.
Longer Term Effects of Sleep Deprivation
If left unchecked, the symptoms of sleep deprivation become startlingly more severe. The lack of sleep can cause your heart to work harder, causing higher blood pressure and increasing the risk of stroke or heart attack. Obesity becomes a factor, as does diabetes. Sleep scientists believe that this is because the body no longer can process glucose as easily without a full night’s sleep.
Depression also becomes a major factor. This can be cyclical, as the more depressed you are, the harder it can be to sleep, which in turn can lead to a greater depression. There are some in the scientific community who believe that sleep deprivation can lead to extremely serious neurological disorders like alzheimer’s and dementia. That’s why it’s so important to build good sleep habits now, as the symptoms are noticed, and not to wait too long, as the symptoms worsen. In the most severe cases, sleep deprivation can even end in death.
If you think that you suffer from sleep deprivation it’s important to consult a medical professional. They may in turn recommend a sleep specialist. The list of treatments could be simple; reduce stress, buy a new mattress, or even get a sleep apnea mask. While it can be scary to think about, it’s important to address these issues so that you can get back to being the person you know and love, well rested, and able to face the day with confidence.