One of the common characteristics of modern living is sleep deprivation. This is not to say that it is something that we willingly do to ourselves. Sometimes sleep deprivation is simply the result of insomnia. But there are those of us out there who purposely lose sleep by overworking or indulging in one too many late nights out, and then feel it is a badge of honour to be tired.
Well, it’s not. In fact, your current state of sleep deprivation could be causing more damage than those late nights were worth. And, in all honesty, who wants to be permanently tired?
It is not cool to brag about being tired all the time. It is also not cool to overwork yourself and avoid sleep on purpose. You don’t get medals for having bags under your eyes, and no amount of work is worth keeping you up at night.
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What is Sleep Deprivation?
We all experience those once in a while sleepless nights, but what defines sleep deprivation? Basically, it is summed up as not getting enough sleep, either chronically or acutely. So it can be either long term lack of sleep or short term lack of sleep. But obviously, the long term lack of sleep is far worse.
Some symptoms are less severe than others, with their impact being noticeable but not life affecting. Other symptoms can cause havoc on day to day life, and should your lack of sleep persist, you might need to seek out help.
Very little research has been done into sleep deprivation. Generally, some of the symptoms of range from general sleepiness to hallucinations. The longer you suffer from this sleep disorder, the more symptoms you will have and the more severe the symptoms will be.
The Common Symptoms to Look Out For
The severity of the symptoms generally depends on how long you have been without sleep and it also depends on your natural circadian clock.
As we mentioned before, the longer you are without sleep, the more you will be mentally and physically affected by the lack of sleep. Sleep deprivation can be caused by missing just an hour of sleep every night. For instance, if you are usually asleep by 10 pm but for the last week you have only been hitting the hay well after 11 pm, you might begin to suffer from sleep deprivation.
The second characteristic that might determine how severe your sleep deprivation might be, is your natural circadian rhythm. The symptoms might become more noticeable during those hours when you should be asleep but instead, you are awake. It will also be more noticeable when your rhythm takes a natural dip during the mid afternoon.
A few of the symptoms you could experience include:
- Sleepiness during the day
- Increased weight gain
- Decreased motor abilities
- Decreased alertness
These symptoms might differ from person to person, so you might have a different experience than someone else with similar sleep deprivation. The best thing that you can do for yourself the moment you begin to notice that you may have sleep deprivation, is to try to get more sleep.
If your eyes are drooping by midday and your mind is not as sharp as it usually is, you might want to take the hint that your body is giving you, and start getting a few more early nights!
The Serious Symptoms
While you might think that being sleepy is the worst thing that you can experience, there are worse things that sleep deprivation can do to you. Let’s take a closer look at the more serious symptoms:
Again, one or two bad days is something we all experience. But when each day is characterised by a foul mood that not only makes people stay clear of you but also makes you feel miserable, it might be time to take a look at whether or not you are getting enough sleep.
Mood changes when sleep deprived will usually leave you feeling as though your temper is triggered more easily and you might notice that you are becoming snappier towards others. When you sleep well, your mood is generally brighter so when you notice you are more irritable than usual, get some more sleep.
In this day and age, you need to be on top of your game mentally. The working world is more competitive than ever before and often, it is the modern world itself than leaves us sleep deprived. But when you are unable to concentrate, your performance will be impaired. But it is not your workplace performance that you should be too concerned about, but rather your driving skills and your alertness when walking on busy streets. Driving while lacking sleep, or operating heavy machinery, could end in tragedy.
If you are a student, cramming information instead of sleeping might just have the opposite effect of what you are hoping to achieve. When you are not getting enough sleep, you might find that your mind is unable to hold information and recall it when you need it to. Sleep is actually very important for the processing and memorising of information. One big red sign of sleep deprivation is a lack of memory. Luckily, this shouldn’t be a long-term problem once you start getting enough sleep once more.
Hallucinations and Paranoia
This is one of the more serious side effects of not getting enough sleep. In terms of psychological effects, hallucinations, and paranoia, along with disorientation, can have a dangerous impact on your life. In fact, you might just feel as though you are going out of your mind.
Getting enough sleep is so important if you want to not only live a healthy life but to live it to your full potential. You can improve your sleep by making sure that you are sleeping on the right kind of bed. The Mattress Warehouse has one of the biggest selections of beds for sale in Pretoria, beds for sale in Cape Town and beds for sale in Johannesburg. Allow us to help you sleep better!