Sleep Deprivation: Causes and Tips to Help
Inadequate sleep can hamper an individual’s ability to function properly. Continued lack of restorative sleep is detrimental to psychological and physical health.
Sustained lack of sleep can cause poor decision making, flawed judgment, obesity, a negative outlook on life and difficulty in handling emotions. It can result in a person feeling fatigued and sleepy throughout the day.
Sleep deprivation is a major culprit behind fatal automobile accidents as inadequate sleep impairs a person’s motor functions and reduces hand-eye coordination, similar to alcohol consumption.
Daytime napping is a common indicator of sleep deprivation. Other signs that indicate lack of sleep include:
- Frequent yawning
- Poor concentration
- Mood swings
- Inability to focus
- Impaired motor skills
- A spurt in snacking
- A decline in sex drive
- Difficulty remembering things
Sleep deprivation may result from a gamut of causes.
- Conscious choice – Some people tend to stay awake until late into the night to read a book or watch a movie, not realizing that they need restful sleep in order to function the next day.
- Underlying health conditions – If you have a cold, all the coughing and sneezing can interrupt your sleep. Similarly, a chronic condition like arthritis or depression can affect your quality of sleep.
- Sleep disorders – Insomnia, restless leg syndrome, and sleep apnea, can disturb sleep.
- Work Schedule – People who work rotational shifts are subject to erratic sleep cycles.
- Improper sleep hygiene – If you lie awake worrying in bed, you will obviously have trouble falling asleep. In the same way, consuming caffeine and nicotine can make you more alert and less likely to fall asleep.
Sleep deprivation is extremely detrimental for our body
- It impairs our immune functions, so our body takes longer to recover from illnesses.
- Lack of sleep leads to hormone imbalance in our body which can further lead to weight gain and diabetes.
- Inadequate sleep increases our risk to respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.
- Memory issues
- Mood changes
- High blood pressure
Tips to combat sleep deprivation
- Nap only when necessary. Shift workers and night owls are at risk for sleep debt. A short nap in the afternoon can help but too long of a nap can interfere with nighttime
- Get regular exercise but be mindful to avoid heavy exercise within three hours of your bedtime.
- Avoid caffeine after noon and limit alcohol consumption.
- Create a calm sleeping area. Keep your bedroom a place for sleep, intimacy, reading a book (not on a tablet!) and meditation. Remove the television, smart phones, computers and other electronics from the room. Keep the temperature cool.
- Seek a medical opinion if you continue to experience trouble sleeping. This can help determine if other conditions play a role in your sleep troubles.
Need more help?
Our body needs sleep for rest and recovery. The therapists at Agor Behavioral Health Services are available to help individuals and families cope with sleep disorders and related mental health issues. Contact us today for more information or to schedule an appointment by calling 630-621-5824.