Sleep Deprivation: Causes, Harmful Effects and Treatment

Sleep Deprivation - An Insufficient Sleep or Sleeplessness
Sleep deprivation is mainly caused by inadequate quantity or quality of sleep.
Sleep Deprivation - An Insufficient Sleep or Sleeplessness
Sleep deprivation is mainly caused by inadequate quantity or quality of sleep.

Well, living in the modern era, full of chaos, sleep is bidding us farewell. Life during the night seems to be overwhelming. For the youth specially, these are the best leisure hours that they get to spend with themselves after a monotonous day. But do you know this condition of sleep deprivation, or insufficient sleep, or sleeplessness can either be chronic or acute depending on various factors such as age, sex and other illness related problems?

What are the causes of sleep deprivation?

Okay! have you ever heard the term ‘hollow men’? In today’s world, this is what we have become.

1. Over usage of technology

Surfing on mobile phones for complete day, using internet for work or enjoyment related purposes, binge watching Netflix, Hotstar, Amazon Prime Series etc., and using social networking sites for long hours is not only draining our eyesight, mind, health but is ultimately responsible for reducing our sleep and giving priority to things which may be depressing.

2. Prioritizing work over health

Yes, earning money is hard nowadays. So, health becomes secondary, and our long demanding working hours, midnight conference calls, and 24/7 shifts are some of the major factors responsible for giving up on sleep. As what matters for most of us is money earned at the end of the day. People usually forget that in a wish to earn more money, pulling allnighters may ruin our health. All we would ask you for is to “sleep well to have sound health”.

3. Late night bookworms and stress

Hey! students out there, we know this very well that if you are zealous to reach academic heights and touch the sky, late night study is really common. But don’t you think taking too much pressure onto your shoulders is depriving you of your sleep and creating restlessness in your mind, body and soul?

4. Late night partying

As the night falls, the common refrain of your friends is “Abhi to party shuru hui hai”. Partying is really common these days, having fun and enjoyment for overstressed is the need of the hour. But doesn’t this question arise in your mind twice or thrice that why to give up on your sleep? Is party more precious or health? It’s your life; decide your priorities today.

5. Gaming

Online gaming is very addictive. The kind of graphics, colours, exciting features involved in it tempt us to play more and more, even carrying on through the night. Gaming is a major reason behind sleep deprivation among the youth, which either by hook or crook needs to be controlled.

Other than the causes mentioned above, some other reasons behind sleep deprivation include age, illness, depression, chronic pain syndrome, Parkinson disease, stress and new born baby disruptions, leading to changes in slumber schedule.

What are the symptoms of sleep deprivation?

Sleep keeps us fresh throughout the day, it energizes and kindles our soul to work more. A sound sleep keeps us socially, mentally and physically fit. Don’t you expect the same from your life? In case you are not sleeping throughout night, then facing excessive sleepiness during the daytime might be common to you. Some other symptoms include: moodiness, irritability, yawning, forgetfulness, depressed mood, clumsiness, lack of motivation, increased appetite and more of carbohydrate cravings.

What are the harmful effects of sleep deprivation?

Some of the effects include:

1. Sleepiness can lead to deadly accidents

While you are driving, lack of sleep can make you doze off in the middle of the way, which may lead to fatalities for your family as well as others who happen to be on the road.

2. It impacts overall functioning of the mind

Lack of sleep directly impacts on our cognitive self. It troubles our concentration power, impairs attention, and affects problem solving approach as well as reasoning.

3. Sleep deprivation can lead to life threatening health related issues

If you won’t take proper sleep, then you can put your health at stake. Some diseases which might strike you include heart attack, heart failure, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, irregular heartbeat and so on.

4. Sleepiness lowers the sex drive in men

Various scientific studies suggest that men and women deprived of sleep experience lower libidos, which leads to lack of interest in sex. One can say that lack of efficient sleep leads to depleted energy, increased tension and sleepiness. Moreover, some men suffering from sleep apnea face respiratory related problems, which leads to sexual slump. Scientists from the University of Chicago found that men sleeping less than 5 hours have low level of testosterone compared to those who sleep tight. Their study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in June 2011. It also highlighted that in such men, hormone level reduces to such an extent that it is akin to someone just 15 years old.

5. Sleepiness leads to skin aging

You might have noticed people with puffy eyes and sallow skin. Do you know the reason? Yes, you guessed it right, as it might be due to missed sleep from the last few nights. Not only this, lack of enough sleep also hampers the quality of our skin as it reduces luster, creates dark circles, wrinkles and fine lines.

6. Sleepiness brings depression alongside

If you get insufficient sleep, then feeling depressed might be so regular to you. As per an American poll in 2005, it was discovered that having a sleep disorder such as insomnia leads to anxiety and depression.

7. You start forgetting things sooner or faster due to sleepiness

In case you wish to have long lasting memory and want to get rid of forgetfulness, then don’t you miss out on sleep. American and French researchers in the year 2009 discovered that brain events are usually known as “sharp wave ripples” which are responsible for integrating memory. Moreover, sleep is something which has huge impact on the functioning of brain, so sleepiness might create problems.

8. Short sleep may lead to instant weight gains

Many times, we come across people who usually sleep late during the night, and in between everything they get hunger pangs. So, all they search for is food, which may lead to obesity. Therefore, sleeping at the right time for the right number of hours is imperative for health.

Treatment for sleep deprivation

First, before opting for any treatment, a person must understand that either there are psychological factors or physical factors disrupting their sleep.

1. Cognitive and Behavioural Treatments

Not for everything medicines are required, some situations can be handled calmly. Such treatment involves:

  • Techniques which provide relaxation

This includes mindfulness training, meditation techniques, breathing exercises, and listening to some audio recordings, and may help to immediately fall asleep.

  • Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)

This type of therapy is designed in such a way that it will help you to change your thought patterns behind certain behaviours which disrupt your sleep. Interestingly, they will help you to promote positive and rational thoughts.

  • Stimulation Control

In case today you are willing to have sound and comfortable sleep, then make sure that you have a complete control over your pre-bedtime activities. Try to surround yourself with the activities which calm you down and provide you with sound sleep.

2. Some Easy Home Management Techniques to have sound sleep include:

  • Immediately going towards bed on feeling tired.
  • Having a well framed schedule, ensuring that it must be followed thoroughly. Especially, taking care of your wake-up and sleeping hours.
  • Avoiding eating 2 to 3 hours before bedtime.
  • Performing regular exercises for calm and subtle sleep.
  • Keeping your bedroom dark, quiet, and comfortable at cool temperature to have a soothing sleep.
  • Making sure that your mobile phone is kept aside and away, especially when it is time to sleep.

Therefore, for having an active and healthy lifestyle, sound sleep is a must. In case you are facing difficulty doing the same, then let us assure you that all the measures and steps stated above will help you to sleep like a baby tonight.

Related Links:

Your Sleeping Position Holds Key to Skin Ageing

Sleep Apnea: An Abnormal Sleep Disorder