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sleep deprivation

Sleep Deprivation - Definition, Symptoms and Treatment

Sleep is important for our physical and mental health, but many of us don’t get enough. When we don’t get enough sleep, we can feel tired during the day, have trouble thinking clearly, and be in a bad mood. This is called sleep deprivation, and it’s a problem that affects a lot of people in the United States.

Getting enough sleep is crucial for our overall health and well-being.

When we’re sleep deprived, we may not function as well during the day and are also at risk of developing more serious health problems down the road. If you’re having trouble getting enough rest, there are things you can do to help improve your situation.

Sleep deprivation can cause a number of problems, so it’s important to get enough sleep. Many factors can cause this condition, and its symptoms can range from mild to severe. If you think you may suffer from sleep deprivation, talk to your doctor about diagnosis and treatment options.

What is Sleep Deprivation?

Do you find yourself tossing and turning at night, struggling to get enough shut-eye? If so, you’re not alone. Millions of Americans suffer from sleep deprivation, which can lead to a host of health problems including fatigue, irritability, and difficulty concentrating. While some people may be able to function on just a few hours of sleep, most adults need 7-8 hours per night for optimal health. Sleep deprivation can take a toll on your body and mind, so it’s important to make sure you’re getting enough rest.

Why is Sleep Important

It is widely known that sleep plays an important role in our overall health and well-being. While we sleep, our bodies are able to rest and repair, supporting brain development, cardiac function and metabolism. Additionally, sleep helps us to learn and remember information, and can improve our moods.

Symptoms of Sleep of Deprivation

There are a few key signs that can help you tell if someone is sleep deprived. These include struggling to stay awake during the day, exhibiting slowed thinking and decision making, and having noticeable mood changes.

If you find yourself nodding off during the day or find it hard to focus on tasks, it could be a sign that you’re not getting enough sleep. Sleep deprivation can have a serious impact on your ability to think clearly and make decisions. You may also find yourself feeling irritable or grouchy if you’re not getting enough rest.

Examples of these symptoms include:

  • Lack of energy
  • Slowed Thinking
  • Difficulty focusing and remembering
  • Mood changes and Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Constant Yawning
  • Sleep Inertia
  • Daytime Naps

What are the common types of Sleep Disorders

There are many different types of sleep disorders that can impact a person’s ability to get quality sleep and function properly during the day. These disorders can often be linked to other medical problems, and may also be symptoms of underlying mental health issues.

Sleep disorders are a common occurrence in Americans, with one in three people suffering from some form of insomnia. Sleep apnea, which is the most common sleep disorder, affects about 20 percent of adults. Other types of sleep disorders include narcolepsy, restless leg syndrome, and night terrors. While most sleep disorders can be alleviated with medication or therapy, some may require more serious treatment.

Most sleep disorders can be classified by one or more of the following four symptoms like:

  • Sleep Apnea
  • Insomnia
  • Restless Leg Syndrome
  • Circadian Rhythm Disorders

How to Prevent and Treat Sleep Deprivation

There are a few things you can do to help improve your sleep habits. Try to stick to a regular sleep schedule by going to bed and waking up at the same times every day. This will help establish a routine. Try not to eat 2-3 hours before bedtime. If you’ve been trying to fall asleep for 20 minutes with no success, get up and read for a bit before trying again later. 

Get regular exercise during the day. This will help tire your body out so you can sleep more soundly at night. Keep your bedroom dark and cool. This will create an environment that is conducive to sleep. Turn off all electronic devices and keep them away from your bed. The light and stimulation from these devices can prevent you from falling asleep. Limit your consumption of caffeine and alcohol, especially close to bedtime. These substances can interfere with sleep. Finally, avoid tobacco use. Tobacco can also interfere with sleep and cause other health problems.

Alternative Therapies for Sleep Deprivation

Different therapies exist outside of the traditional scope of medicine. These alternative therapies can range from dietary and lifestyle changes to mental conditioning and biofeedback. Examples of alternative therapies include acupuncture, guided imagery, yoga, hypnosis, aromatherapy, relaxation, herbal remedies, massage, and many others.

Whereas traditional medicine is focused on specific treatment goals, alternative therapies often focus on improving overall wellbeing. Many people find that complementary medicine- which is taken in addition to standard treatments- can be beneficial in achieving this goal.

Foods for Better Sleep

There are a few things you can do to get better sleep at night. One is to change your diet and consume foods that help promote sleep. Here are some of the best options: 

1. Almonds. Almonds are a type of tree nut with many health benefits. Eating almonds regularly has been associated with lower risks of a few chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. This is attributed to their healthy monounsaturated fats, fiber, and antioxidants. Antioxidants may protect your cells from harmful inflammation that can lead to these chronic diseases.

2. Turkey. Turkey is delicious and nutritious. The protein in turkey may also contribute to its ability to promote tiredness. There’s evidence that consuming moderate amounts of protein before bed is associated with better sleep quality, including less waking up throughout the night.

3. Chamomile tea. Chamomile tea is a popular herbal tea that may offer a variety of health benefits. Those who drank chamomile tea also had fewer symptoms of depression, which is commonly associated with sleep problems. Drinking chamomile tea before going to bed is certainly worth trying if you want to improve the quality of your sleep.

4. Kiwi. Kiwis are a low-calorie and very nutritious fruit. The sleep-promoting effects of kiwis are sometimes attributed to serotonin. Serotonin is a brain chemical that helps regulate your sleep cycle. It’s also been suggested that the anti-inflammatory antioxidants in kiwis, such as vitamin C and carotenoids, may be partly responsible for their sleep-promoting effects.

5. Tart cherry juice. Tart cherry juice has some impressive health benefits. Tart cherry juice is also known to promote sleepiness, and it’s even been studied for its role in relieving insomnia. For these reasons, drinking tart cherry juice before bed may improve your sleep quality. Tart cherry juice is also known to promote sleepiness, and it’s even been studied for its role in relieving insomnia. For these reasons, drinking tart cherry juice before bed may improve your sleep quality. The sleep-promoting effects of tart cherry juice are due to its high amounts of melatonin.

6. Fatty fish. Fatty fish, such as salmon, tuna, trout, and mackerel, are incredibly healthy. What makes them unique is their exceptional amounts of vitamin D. The combination of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D in fatty fish has the potential to enhance sleep quality, as both have been shown to increase the production of serotonin.

7. Walnuts. Walnuts are a popular type of tree nut. Walnuts may also boost heart health. They’ve been studied for their ability to reduce high cholesterol levels, which are a major risk factor for heart disease. If you struggle with sleep, eating some walnuts before bed may help. About a handful of walnuts is an adequate portion.

8. White rice. White rice is a grain that’s widely consumed as a staple food in many countries. The major difference between white and brown rice is that white rice has had its bran and germ removed. This makes it lower in fiber, nutrients, and antioxidants. It’s been suggested that eating foods with a high GI, such as white rice, at least 1 hour before bed may help improve sleep quality.

Need help?

Not getting enough sleep can have some pretty serious consequences. Short term, it can lead to things like impaired judgment, poor decision making, increased anxiety and irritability. Long term, sleep deprivation has been linked to higher risks of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and obesity. So if you’re not getting enough shut-eye, it’s time to take action. Consult a medical professional to discuss ways to get your sleeping habits back on track.

FAQ’s

How do you fix sleep deprivation?

Start by adding 15-30 minutes to your nightly sleep routine. This extra time will help your body recover from the sleep debt you’ve built up. focus on other ways to improve your sleep habits, like avoiding caffeine before bed and creating a relaxing bedtime routine. With some effort and patience, you’ll be well rested in no time.

Is 5 hours of sleep considered sleep deprivation?

Yes, because some people, appropriately called short sleepers, just don’t need a lot of sleep. In fact, they’re at their max with less than 6 hours a night. Why? Genetics.

The bad news is that short sleepers are rare. For most of us, getting only 5 or 6 hours of sleep isn’t a good idea. Research shows that not getting enough sleep can affect your ability to communicate, solve problems, and recall information.

So unless you’re a magical sleep mutant, you need to get enough sleep, or your body, health, and overall quality of life may suffer.

What happens if I don’t sleep?

Some of the most serious potential problems associated with chronic sleep deprivation are high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack, heart failure, or stroke. Other potential problems include obesity, depression, reduced immune system function, and lower sex drive.

How much sleep do we need?

National Sleep Foundation guidelines advise that healthy adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night. Babies, young children, and teens need even more sleep to enable their growth and development. People over 65 should also get 7 to 8 hours per night.

Summary

Getting into bed a little earlier and getting that quality sleep sounds simple, but it has a huge number of health benefits, ranging from boosting our immune system, preventing disease and helping improve and protect our mental health, which is why getting eight hours each night is one of our 5 pillars of wellness.

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Sleep Deprivation – Definition, Symptoms and Treatment