Sleep deprivation is when you experience lack of sleep consistently over a long period of time. Also, you may experience reduced quality of sleep and wake up in the middle of the night. People with this condition remain tired even after waking up in the morning. And this can worsen your health. So, it’s important to understand the sleep deprivation symptoms to identify the condition early on.
In this blog, we’ll take you through identifying irregular sleep patterns, spotting the signs of insomnia, and ways to fight chronic sleep deprivation by understanding the importance of sleep in our daily lives.
Sleep Deprivation Symptoms: Spot the Signs Early-on
The causes of sleep deprivation are generally not due to any diseases latent within you. It’s mainly due to stress, anxiety, poor sleeping habits, etc. And therefore, you can cure it by just improving your lifestyle.
However, before anything else, you should know the sleep deprivation symptoms to confirm your condition. Let’s take a look at the following signs:
- Constant yawning
- Grogging in the morning after waking up
- Poor concentration power
- Occasional mood swings
- Dozing off in idle times
- Reduced alertness
- Poor motor skills
If you’re facing any of these sleep deprivation symptoms on a daily basis for a long time, you might need to change your lifestyle seriously.
Lack of Sleep Effects: How your Health is at Stake
Due to sleep deprivation the body suffers a lot. You may develop a weak immune system, impact your heart’s health negatively, and may affect your fertility down the line. Here is a deeper breakdown of the lack of sleep effects on your body.
1. Weakens your Immune System
It’s important to identify the problem early on. Or else, issues like weakening your immune system can line up to haunt your health. To understand better how it impacts your gut, you can read on further.
Relationship between Sleep and Cytokines
Cytokines are proteins secreted by our body to fight infections and control inflammation. It is during sleep that these proteins are released. When we have irregular sleep patterns lacking the right amount and quality of sleep, our body makes fewer cytokines. As a result, our immunity or strength to fight diseases becomes low.
2. Affects your Heart Health
A research involved 2000 adults from various ethnic backgrounds and between the ages of 45 and 84 years old. It found that erratic sleep schedules can have frightening effects on the heart.
Out of these 2000 participants, none at the beginning of the study had any heart issues. However, after five years, it was found that participants who had erratic sleep patterns were more likely to suffer from cardiovascular diseases.
Besides, due to their irregular sleep patterns, they also showed symptoms of depression, increased calorie intake, obesity resulting from it, and a higher index of obtrusive sleep apnea. Hence, if you experience the above-mentioned sleep deprivation symptoms changing your lifestyle becomes a necessary effort.
3. Impacts your Fertility
According to research, lack of sleep effects include fertility-related issues. Melatonin and cortisol are hormones that regulate our sleep cycles. Studies have shown that in both men and women, these two hormones play a role in the secretion of reproductive hormones. Therefore, if your sleep cycles are not healthy, it will affect the release of your reproductive hormones.
4. Hurts your Mental Health
There’s a close relationship between sleep and mental health. If you have irregular sleep patterns, it will negatively impact your psychological state. Stress is a major outcome of chronic sleep deprivation thereby giving rise to anxiety and depression with time. Furthermore, you can experience bipolar disorder as well. And it all starts with your body’s response to your sleep schedule.
Sleep Deprivation Stages: How it Affects your Body and Mind
If you’re experiencing a lack of quality sleep but not having the terrible conditions we mentioned, it means you’re not into a deeper stage of sleep deprivation thankfully. While others may experience the effects differently. That’s because the sleep deprivation symptoms vary with different stages.
Hence, here are the different sleep deprivation stages that you should be aware of to understand what’s eating you and how.
1. After 24 Hours of No Sleep
This stage doesn’t cause any significant problems to your health. But you will feel tired and a little bit down. Here are the sleep deprivation symptoms that will take place after 24 hours of no sleep:
- Puffy eyes
- Lack of concentration
- Reduced alertness
2 After 36 Hours of No Sleep
In this stage, you will undergo a little more intense sleep deprivation symptoms. You may experience a strong urge to sleep. In fact, you may already start having microsleep sessions. That is, you will fall asleep for 30 to 50 seconds repeatedly without realising.
Here’s what happens in this stage:
- Challenge in processing social cues,
- High errors,
- Challenge in learning new information,
- Increased appetite,
- Extreme fatigue.
3. After 48 Hours of No Sleep
If you don’t sleep for 48 hours, you’re in one of the extreme sleep deprivation stages. Microsleeps will become a regular occurrence. Worse, you will begin to hallucinate that is seeing or hearing things that aren’t actually happening. Here’s what else will happen:
- Increase in stress levels
- Depersonalisation – the feeling of detaching from reality and yourself
- Extreme fatigue
4. After 72 Hours of No Sleep
After 72 hours, the sleep deprivation symptoms will obviously worsen. Your microsleep sessions will get longer and the terrible craze to fall asleep with manifest. Now, your hallucinations will take a more complex turn. Here’s what else will happen:
- Stronger depersonalisation
5. After over 96 Hours of No Sleep
This is one of the most terrible sleep deprivation stages that distorts your reality severely. You will begin to have a stronger feeling to detach from yourself. Let alone your urge to sleep, it will worsen leading to more and longer microsleep sessions.
Moreover, one of the sleep deprivation symptoms is that you will have sleep deprivation psychosis as you fail to understand reality severely. But if you sleep, this condition will wash away.
How to Fix Sleep Schedule and Prevent Sleep Deprivation
Apart from eating well and spending more time in nature, here are some ways how to fix sleep schedule. Just a few changes in your lifestyle can do so much more. If you follow these tips, you will fight the sleep deprivation symptoms in a hassle-free way. The following good habits will help you develop a healthy sleep schedule. Here’s what the National Medical Health Journal of India recommends with regards to Sleep Deprivation.
Exposure to sunlight
Get your regular dose of sunlight preferably in the morning. Your body needs the Vitamin D from the sun.
Avoid caffeine and nicotine
Cut down on smoking and alcohol. If not completely at once, reduce the frequency. This helps calm your nerves.
Avoid naps within 6 hours of bedtime
If you’ve already taken a nap within 6 hours of bedtime, falling asleep at night becomes a tiny challenge. That’s because your body is already rested and this may ruin your sleep pattern.
Exercise for Good Sleep at Night
Try working out or schedule your gym timing before 3-4 hours of sleep. It will help your muscles to be active and make you crave some rest. This is how you can make the most out of exercise for good sleep at night.
Avoid heavy meals before bedtime
During dinner, try to avoid heavy meals that make you full. This may give rise to gastric issues among other things. Also, light meals keep your body calm and help in a good night’s sleep.
Dim the lights in the evening
When it’s evening and the sun is down, dim the lights in your house. Preferably red and yellow lights can help. Having these kinds of lights on during the evening prepares your body for sleep. It relaxes your body and you tend to develop healthy sleeping habits.
Relax before bedtime
Try reading a book or just lay down without your phones before sleeping. This will help you relax and stay calm. Thereby, inviting a good sleep and successfully fighting the destructive sleep deprivation symptoms.
Reduce electronic usage
Cut down using electronic devices within 2-3 hours of bedtime. This helps to keep your eyes relaxed. Or else, the blue light from your screen prevents melatonin production that keeps you awake.
Invest in a good mattress
Does your mattress provide you with the firmness and comfort you need for a good sleep? Or is it either too soft or too hard? There are so many different types of mattresses available in the market today and the ideal mattress for you will distribute your body weight uniformly so that you don’t wake up with pain in your neck, shoulders, or hips. It helps align your spine in a healthy posture. Another important aspect to check is if your mattress is hypoallergenic. This way you can keep allergens at bay.
Consider using a good pillow
Does your pillow let you sink as you place your head? If yes, you should consider changing it and switching to the best pillows for sleeping. Try using a medium to firm pillow that allows your neck the support it needs. Or else, you may wake up with terrible neck pain that will impact your spine in the long run.
Be consistent with the habits
Above all, try to be consistent with these sleeping habits. Such small lifestyle changes help significantly in helping you fall asleep. If you follow for a few days consistently, you will make these your habit. And that’s how to fix sleep schedule.
Besides these, try to add bedding that is conducive to sleep for example an ergonomic mattress and a thoughtfully designed pillow. Above all, visit a doctor to find the right clinical recommendations for faster recovery from these sleep deprivation symptoms.