Symptoms of Sleep Deprivation: The Signs Tell A Story

One of the reasons why it makes sense to know the symptoms of sleep deprivation is that this seemingly simple-to-understand sleep disorder does not stare at you in the eyes. The result is that sleep deprivation, which put simply is not getting ‘enough’ sleep, goes unnoticed till the effects start to impact normal living.

Experiencing sleeplessness is not a unique problem – all of us have experienced this some time or the other in our lives. However when you are not getting adequate sleep, not feeling rested in the morning, wake up earlier than usual or wake up frequently in the night, you may be unknowingly suffering from a kind of sleep disorder. This makes knowing symptoms of sleep deprivation all the more important. Noticing them could warn you against any sleep disorder that might have affected you and initiate proper treatment.

It is a fact that a strong will to improve the sleep quality and quantity through self-help strategies is often helpful. But this is only possible when you keep track of the symptoms and alterations of your daytime alertness.

Perhaps it is easy to catch the symptoms of sleep deprivation because most of them become apparent by various daytime signs.  If you say ‘yes;’ to any one of the signs mentioned below, you could be affected by a sleep disorder:

–          Feel irritable and sleepy throughout the day

–          When sitting still, you have problems in remaining awake

–          Feel extremely sleepy during activities like driving

–          Have problems with focusing or concentration

–          Your reaction time has slowed down

–          You look visibly tired and fatigued

–          Need coffee and other stimulants to remain awake

–          Feel like taking daytime naps

When do the symptoms of sleep deprivation show up? 

Though it is easy to get away from the question by saying that the signs show up when you do not get adequate sleep, this could be creating more problems, since not many know how much sleep is considered enough for a healthy adult.

Sleep deprivation does impact brain functioning as well as disrupt functional abilities both on the work and personal front; but there is no evidence that minor sleep deprivation causes instant physiological damage.

Individual sleep needs vary. While someone may feel rested with as little as 6 hours of sleep, another person may feel this is inadequate.  According to National Institutes of Health, most healthy adults need between 7.5 and 9 hours of sleep per night in order to function optimally during the day.

What do the symptoms of sleep deprivation signify? 

They could denote the onset of a host of sleep disorders. Some of them are:

–          Insomnia. The typical signs include difficulty in falling or waking up from sleep; frequently waking in the night; fragmented and restless sleep; need to use sleep aids to fall asleep etc.

–          Sleep apnea. Symptoms of this disorder involve loud and chronic snoring; shallow breathing during sleep; gasps and choking followed by breathless during sleep, etc.

Uncomfortable sensations within the legs resulting in sleep deprivation could be one of the symptoms of restless legs syndrome. The signs also include recurrent cramps of the legs during sleep.

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