Thursday, 18 June 2015

Sleep Deprivation Causes and Effects

Sleep deprivation occurs when we consistently fail to get enough sleep, it can be either chronic or sleep deprivation is a general term to describe a state caused by inadequate quantity or quality of sleep, including voluntary or involuntary sleep, including voluntary or involuntary sleeplessness and circadian rhythm sleep disorders. 

sleeping disorder effects

Sleep is as important to the human body similar to food and water, but many of us don't get enough sleep. Medical problems, insufficient sleep, inadequate quality of sleep or disruptions to the sleep-wake cycle(such as those that occur with shift work or travelling to a different time zone) have consequences on how we function in the day time and may lead to sleepiness and fatigue.

Effects of Sleep Deprivation

Common effects of sleep deprivation include:
  • A chronic sleep-restricted state can cause fatigue, day time sleepiness, clumsiness, weight loss or weight gain. Individual sleep varies, but usually adults require 8 hours and younger ones need 9-12 hours of nightly sleep. Insufficient sleep is a serious problem that poses a threat to health and safety.
  • A sleepy fatigued person is accident prone, judgement impaired and more likely to make mistakes and bad decisions. Staying awake for 24 hours leads to a reduced hand-to-eye coordination that is similar to having a blood alcohol content of 0.1. This is why sleep deprivation contributes to road accidents and work injuries.
  • Lack of sleep can also affect a child’s performance and could be linked to increased risk of emotional problems such as depression.

Symptoms of sleep deprivation in adults

Symptoms of sleep deprivation in adults include:
  • Constant yawning
  • Tendency of watching television continuous
  • Grogginess when waking in the morning
  • Sleep grogginess experienced all day long (sleep inertia)
  • Poor concentration and mood changes (more irritable).

Symptoms of sleep deprivation in children

Sleep deprivation affects children differently from adults. Sleepy children tend to speed up rather than slow down. Symptoms include:
  • Moodiness and irritability
  • Temper tantrums and hyperactive behavior
  • Daytime naps
  • Grogginess when they wake up in the morning
  • Reluctance to get out of bed in the morning.
sleeping disorder symptom cycle

Sleep Disorders 

Sleep apnea:
Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder in which breathing stops temporarily during sleep due to the blockage of the upper airways. These pauses in breath interrupt sleep, leading to awakening each hour. While most people with sleep apnea don’t remember these awakenings, they might feel exhausted during the day, irritable and depressed. Sleep apnea is a serious and potentially life-threatening, sleep disorder. Sleep apnea can be successfully treated with Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP), a mask-like device that delivers a stream of air while in sleep.

Symptoms of sleep apnea include:
  • Loud, chronic snoring
  • Frequent pauses in breath during sleep
  • Gasping, snorting, or choking during sleep
  • Feeling exhausted after waking and sleepy during the day, no matter how much time slept
  • Waking up with short breath, chest pains, headaches, nasal congestion, or a dry throat
Restless leg syndrome (RLS):
Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a sleep disorder that causes an almost irresistible urge to move  legs (or arms). The urge to move occurs when in rest or lying down and is usually due to uncomfortable, tingly, aching, or creeping sensations.

Common signs and symptoms of restless legs syndrome include:
  • Uncomfortable sensations deep within the legs, accompanied by a strong urge to move them
  • The leg sensations are triggered by rest and get worse at night
  • The uncomfortable sensations temporarily get better when you move, stretch, or massage legs
  • Repetitive cramping or jerking of the legs during sleep
Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder that involves excessive, uncontrollable day time sleepiness. It is caused by a dysfunction of the brain mechanism that controls sleeping and waking. If you have narcolepsy, you may have sleep attacks while in the middle of talking, working or even driving
Common signs and symptoms of narcolepsy include:
  • Seeing or hearing things when  drowsy or starting to dream before asleep
  • Suddenly feeling weak or losing control of muscles when in laughing, angry or other strong emotions
  • Dreaming right away after going to sleep or having intense dreams
  • Feeling paralyzed and unable to move when in waking up or dozing off

Circadian rhythm-sleep disorder:

  • Circadian rhythm disorders are disruptions in a person’s circadian rhythm a name given to the internal body clock that regulates the (approximately) 24-hour cycle of biological processes in animals and plants. The term circadian comes from Latin words that literally mean around the day.
  • The key feature of circadian rhythm disorders is a continuous or occasional disruption of sleep patterns. The disruption results from either a malfunction in the "internal body clock" or a mismatch between the "internal body clock" and the external environment with respect to the timing and duration of sleep. As a result of the circadian mismatch, individuals with these disorders usually complain of insomnia at certain times and excessive sleepiness at other times of the day, resulting in work, school, or social impairment.
  • When circadian rhythms are disrupted or thrown off, one may feel groggy, disoriented, and sleepy at inconvenient times. Circadian rhythms have been linked to a variety or sleeping problems and sleep disorders, including insomnia, jet lag, and shift work sleep difficulties. Abnormal circadian rhythms have also been implicated in depression, bipolar disorder, and seasonal effective disorder (the winter blues).

Healthy Sleep Tips:

Sleep doctors recommend a variety of measures to help adults and children achieve adequate sleep. In general, all of these approaches are intended to help with relaxation as the desired sleep time approaches, to maintain a comfortable sleep environment, and to encourage a healthful balance of nutrition and exercise. Their recommendations include:
  • maintaining a regular sleep-wake schedule
  • avoiding caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, and other chemicals that interfere with sleep
  • making bedroom a comfortable sleep environment
  • establishing a calming pre-sleep routine
  • going to sleep when truly tired
  • not watching the clock at night
  • using light to advantage by exposing yourself to light during the day and limiting light exposure in the evening
  • not napping too close to regular bedtime
  • eating and drinking enough but not too much or too soon before bedtime
  • exercising regularly but not too close to bedtime

Making Sleep Routine:

Experts acknowledge that most people find it difficult to follow all these recommendations: however, they also stress that it isn't typically necessary to do so. They suggest that individuals identify the factors that are most disruptive to their own sleep and then focus on altering particular behaviors and patterns to overcome these factors.

Healthy sleep habits can make a big difference in quality of life. Having healthy sleep habits is often referred to as having good sleep hygiene.


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