Causes of Sleep Deprivation: What Are Americans Losing Sleep Over?

A relevant point to ponder, when we talk about sleep deprivation is how many of the estimated 50 to 70 million American adults suffering from some form of sleep and wakefulness related disorder know about the causes of sleep deprivation?

Causes of sleep deprivation: linked to modern lifestyle 

The role of several social factors like round-the-clock access to technology and hectic work schedules in robbing sleep time cannot be denied. At the same time, sleep disorders like sleep apnea or insomnia could also be responsible for keeping an individual awake.

According to data released by the National Institutes of Health, an average adult is sleeping less than 7 hours per night. To many this may sound quite healthy, considering the fast-paced life that one has to lead these days. The truth of the matter is that this kind of inadequate sleep is doing nothing but paving the way for chronic sleep deprivation.

Because of so many things to be done and so many tasks to attend, most of us feel that less we sleep, the more time we get to move on with life. Though sleep needs vary from one individual to another, a healthy adult needs between 7.5 to 9 hours every night to functional optimally during the day.

How does an adult know that he or she is sleep deprived? 

–          Constant yawning

–          Knack of dozing off when idle for a while

–          Feeling groggy in the morning

–          Impaired focusing abilities

–          Forgetfulness

–          Irritability

What are the most common causes of sleep deprivation? 

–          The condition could be self-inflicted. For example, some people prefer to delay sleeping hours by watching TV, socializing, reading, and similar activities.

–          Fragmented sleep occurs when one has cold or tonsillitis, resulting in snoring, gagging, breathlessness, etc.

–          Sleep-wake cycles can be disrupted due to factors like jet lag, shift work.

–          Medical conditions like sleep disorders including sleep apnea, snoring, periodic limb movement, narcolepsy, insomnia, etc.

–          Improper bedroom environment is one of the leading causes of sleep deprivation. Factors that make the bedroom not conducive to sleep include: snoring partner; temperature too cold or too hot; surrounding noise levels

–          Stress: this could include job or personal life-related anxiety

–          Medications used to treat epilepsy or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

–          Poor lifestyle choices including consumption of excess amounts of coffee; smoking all of which stimulate the nervous system and rob sleep.

–          Personal obligations: Sleep deprivation may be the result of some personal obligations that restrict sleep time. For example, an individual who is taking care of a sick family member may be sleep deprived.

–          Other causes of sleep deprivation include: rushing through sleep or not giving enough time for sleep; excessive worry; depression.

 Sleep deprivation can also be a voluntary behavior 

It is possible that a sleep-deprived individual is suffering from a sleep disorder called induced insufficient sleep syndrome. A type of hypersomnia, this condition involves a pattern of restricted sleep present daily for at least 3 months. Here the person engages in voluntary but unintentional chronic sleep deprivation.

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