Many people suffer from sleep deprivation. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 30% of adults in the U.S. do not get enough sleep. People who are chronically sleep-deprived eventually grow used to the feeling and might not realize that they are not getting enough sleep. Understanding the signs of sleep deprivation might help you make better-informed decisions about your sleep schedule and habits.
Silent Symptoms of Sleep Deprivation
In modern life, many people have too many things to do, making it easy for them to become sleep-deprived as they try to complete all of their tasks. In one study, researchers found that some people who were sleep-deprived didn’t realize that they were. The participants were allowed to sleep as long as they wanted for more than a week and slept much longer than they had expected. Outside of the study period, their daily sleep times were much shorter. Following the period in which they were allowed to sleep as long as they wanted, the participants then stabilized at a sleep time that was slightly longer than the amount of time they had previously slept.
Some of the symptoms of sleep deprivation include irritability, difficulty focusing, and general feelings of fatigue. The more subtle, silent symptoms of sleep deprivation include weight gain, reduced functioning of the immune system, and reduced sensitivity to insulin.
What Is a Sleep Debt?
Over time, a chronic sleep debt can become cumulative. Even after one night of missed sleep, people experience mental and emotional effects. People can suffer from headaches after getting too little sleep. Chronic sleep deprivation can also negatively impact physical endurance.
Being sleep deprived for multiple nights can result in sleep debt. Different areas of your body need different amounts of uninterrupted sleep and require different times to recover after you begin getting enough sleep again. Your endocrine system, which regulates hormones in your body, suffers harm when you are chronically sleep-deprived. Your sensitivity to insulin and tolerance to glucose also decline, which can result in type II diabetes.
People who are chronically sleep-deprived might experience brain fog or grogginess during the day, and they might fall asleep at times when they would prefer to stay awake. Sleep deprivation increases pain sensitivity and causes problems with the ability to regulate behavior and emotions.
How Much Sleep Is Needed Per Night?
The number of hours people need to sleep each night varies from individual to individual. The activities someone performs during a day might also increase how much sleep they might need that night. This means that there isn’t a specific amount of missed sleep that can point to sleep deprivation. Instead, you should base your sleep needs on your personal experience of how much sleep you need to feel refreshed.
How to Address Sleep Deprivation
The short-term effects of mild sleep deprivation are reversible. you can address them by sleeping as long as you naturally want. Doing this for one night should help you to wake up feeling refreshed. However, the other sleep functions might require you to sleep as long as you want for up to nine nights to take care of the sleep debt you have accumulated. Sleep also affects your physiological functioning, including your immune system and endocrine system. Some of these functions take more time to be restored to normal after a period of sleep deprivation.
Get Help from Accent Sleep Solutions
If you are struggling to get enough sleep and are experiencing problems falling or remaining asleep, you might be sleep-deprived. Talk to the professionals at Accent Sleep Solutions to get help identifying the underlying problem by calling us at (352) 271-5375.