Many Americans fail to get enough sleep and might suffer the effects of insufficient sleep during the day. Sleep deprivation refers to a state in which people fail to get adequate sleep. Chronically sleep-deprived people may suffer from a variety of symptoms, have increased risks for developing certain conditions, and have impacts on their cognitive functioning. If you are suffering from sleep deprivation, there are several things that you should know about the dangers.
Symptoms of sleep deprivation
Sleep deprivation can cause the following symptoms:
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Increased accident risk
- Development of other health conditions
Some of these symptoms will be described in more depth below.
Health problems related to sleep deprivation
Several health problems have been linked to sleep deprivation. Researchers have found a link between the development of type two diabetes and chronic sleep deprivation. In a study of more than 1400 people, those who regularly slept for only a few hours each night had a much higher risk of developing diabetes.
People who suffer from chronic sleep deprivation have also been shown to have problems with healing. A study of rats that were deprived of REM sleep revealed that they had slower rates of healing than rats that were not sleep-deprived.
Impacts on cognitive, digestive, sexual, and immune system functioning
A chronic lack of sleep has also been shown to be linked to impacts on cognitive, digestive, sexual, and immune system functioning. Sleep-deprived people show slower cognitive functioning. Sleep deprivation also impacts the release of growth hormone, which can cause problems with the digestive and immune systems as well as with sexual functioning.
Some people who are sleep-deprived demonstrate weight gain, while others experience weight loss. This is because an interruption of the normal sleep patterns interferes with the body’s signaling system for hunger. The disruption in the hormones that regulate the appetite can cause problems with regulating weight.
Causes of sleep deprivation
Sleep deprivation can be caused by several things, including the following:
- Sleep apnea
- Poor sleep hygiene
- Insufficient sleeping time
- Distractions during sleep
Treating sleep deprivation
Treatments for sleep deprivation will depend on the cause. The recommended treatment might include making adjustments in your schedule and routine. If you are diagnosed with a sleep disorder, the disorder will need to be treated to help to alleviate chronic sleep deprivation. If you are sleep-deprived, contact our office today to schedule a consultation and learn more about the treatment options that might be appropriate for you.