Sleep Deprivation, Its Symptoms and Effects

Published On: October 12, 2022

Sleep deprivation means getting an inadequate amount of sleep. Did you know any average adult requires seven to nine hours of sleep?

There are at times when you wake up from sleep and find yourself quite tired and worn out. Many of us have the aftereffects of sleep deprivation. It makes people think about probable solutions for this.

Some people are proud that they hustle and cannot get adequate sleep. But this can be detrimental to their health. Lack of sleep has side effects, primarily affecting your health and the brain’s cognitive function. It may cause a person to be unable to reason and behave differently than usual as it influences daily performance and the ability to think clearly.

What is Sleep Deprivation?

Sleep deprivation is when one does not get enough sleep. An average person must sleep for 7 to 8 hours a day. It is not a disorder but might be a symptom which may lead the path to other underlying health issues. This can be due to stress caused by family, friends or work.

There is two main types acute and chronic sleep deprivation

Under Acute sleep deprivation, sleep is interrupted for a short period, leading to poor sleep. Example while staying awake all, watching your favourite shows or studying hard the night before for your exam.

Chronic deprivation is when a person does not get proper sleep for weeks, months or even years.

Symptoms of Sleep Deprivation

Even if you generally sleep well, the sleepless night can be nearly impossible to bypass.

Symptoms of sleep deprivation include:

  • Irritation
  • Tiredness
  • Memory condition
  • Depression/feeling extremely low
  • Difficulty in concentration
  • Dearth of motivation
  • Judgment issues

Effects of Sleep Deprivation

Poor Memory: Sleep deprivation leads to a lack of memory retention, as studies have shown sleep strengthens our memories. During sleep, the brain reinforces certain neural connections and combines the lessons learned daily. It also removes the unnecessary memories not required. So not getting proper sleep will make your brain fail to do its function and distort recent events. As a result, the long-term memories will be distorted and unclear during your sleep-deprived time. This is why our grandparents, who did not have the distraction of phones, laptops or work from home, have sharp memories while we struggle to recall what our parents told us just a few hours ago.

Decreased Cognition Power: The feeling when you are unable to comprehend or work on your tasks despite having a night’s rest? Not receiving good quality of sleep results in sleep deprivation that affects daily cognitive skills. The ability to process our thoughts and experiences through our senses is known as cognition. As it is required to learn and grow, a lack of understanding is worrisome among college students and makes learning lessons quite challenging. In addition, sleep-deprived adults may find tasks such as driving and crucial decision-making challenging.

Mental Health Issues: Mental Health issues rise after a series of nights of inadequate sleep. Sleep deprivation and depression come in together. Under depression, you either get less or a lot of sleep. The study finds that those who sleep for less than 6 hours or more than 8 hours are more likely to get depression than those who come in between the time hours.

Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease: It is said that one of the long-term effects on the brain due to sleep deprivation is Alzheimer’s. It has been found that when you sleep, the toxins in your brain are cleared up faster than when awake. This means that the brain removes the waste material responsible for Alzheimer’s (B- amyloid protein) and sends it to the cerebrospinal fluid while asleep. Thus, increasing the chances of the disease if you do not sleep well.

These effects show us the importance and necessity of sleep in our lives. We all need good sleep to function better and perform our duties responsibly.

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