How To

7 signs of sleep deprivation and how to treat it

March 23rd, 2021

Who of us never suffers from anxiety and the sleepless nights that come with it? Especially these days, when there is so much more to be anxious about.

But there’s a big difference between the occasional sleepless night and the chronic lack of sleep that leads to sleep deprivation. Fortunately, there are some—7, in fact—distinct signs which can give you a heads-up about whether you need to seek treatment or learn how to address the situation yourself.

The 7 Signs of Sleep Deprivation

Interestingly, the brain can fool us into thinking we’re just a little tired when in reality we’re dealing with something much more dangerous. U.S. News Health reports on Roy Raymann, the Vice President of Sleep Science at SleepScore Labs, findings.

1.) Weird Cravings

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Wikipedia Source: Wikipedia

Raymann noticed something interesting after working a cycle of night shifts.

“I noticed that the smell of the Burger King restaurant in the morning after a night shift was really triggering me to walk in and get a burger at 6:30 a.m.”

This happened early in his career, and it wasn’t until much later that he realized the correlation.

“Sleep loss triggers the release of specific hunger hormones that will make you crave food with a lot of calories more often.”

So if you find yourself craving lots of very bad for you food, there may be a reason. And we all know the dangers of indulging in too many of these foods.

2.) The To-Do Pile on your Desk Never Diminishes

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Pixabay Source: Pixabay

If you’re no longer able to keep up with your typical workload, it might be because you’re just not on the ball anymore. A lack of sleep can impact your judgment, memory, reasoning, problem-solving, and concentration skills. All the things necessary to do your job well.

The US Department of Transportation has this to say.

“Fatigue has costly effects on the safety, health, and quality of life of the American public. Whether fatigue is caused by sleep restriction due to a new baby waking every couple of hours, a late or long shift at work, hanging out late with friends, or a long and monotonous drive for the holidays – the negative outcomes can be the same. These include impaired cognition and performance, motor vehicle crashes, workplace accidents, and health consequences.”

3.) Everyone is Getting on Your Last Nerve

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Pixabay Source: Pixabay

Dr. Camilo A. Ruiz, who is the spokesperson for the American Academy of Sleep Medicine says this.

“Sleep deprivation weakens that part of the brain that deals with reasoning and processing emotions. Therefore, sleep-deprived patients can think less positively, have less impulse control, suffer with bad moods and show less empathy towards others.”

Basically, you no longer have the patience you used to have. Every little thing makes you crazy and emotional.

4.) You Have the Blues

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Pixabay Source: Pixabay

Without sleep, we lose the ability to cope. And there are scientific reasons behind this. While sleeping, the body regenerates hormones and chemicals that help keep our emotions in check. Without them, we can tumble into prolonged depression and symptoms like lack of energy, apathy, irritability, and low motivation.

5.) You Just Aren’t Interested

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Flickr Source: Flickr

In sex, that is. I mentioned in the last point that sleep helps regenerate hormones, and that includes our sex hormones. If those hormones have all dried up, you just aren’t interested in getting frisky with your partner.

According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, young men, typically known for their sex drive, lost testosterone when they slept for less than 5 hours a night for a week. And not just a little. A week of not sleeping well equated to aging 10 to 15 years as far as their testosterone levels were concerned.

As for women, sleep deprivation can also make it harder for them to get pregnant.

6.) You’re Failing at Your Fitness Goals

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Pixabay Source: Pixabay

Once again, we’re going to talk about hormones. Because you may not know it but a hormone imbalance can impact our ability to lose weight or build muscle.

If you’re not getting enough sleep your exercises will be harder to do due to poor muscle coordination and those same muscles won’t be able to grow.

7.) Are You Sick Again?

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Pixabay Source: Pixabay

Do you know people that seem to get sick all the time? Maybe you’re one of those people. It could mean you’re sleep-deprived.

Lack of sleep leads to a weakened immune system, which leads to more colds, flus, and serious infections. So get the rest you need and stay healthy.

But it’s easy to say get the rest you need. How about giving you some tips on how to get a better night’s sleep?

Good idea!

How to Treat Sleep Deprivation

Now that you’re fully aware of the possible dangers of sleep deprivation, you want to do everything you can to avoid it. Or if it’s too late for that, how to treat it.

One of the best things to focus on is sleep hygiene. This would include what you do through the day that could impact your sleep and your sleep environment itself.

Let’s break those two things down.

Habits to Avoid

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Pixabay Source: Pixabay

There are many things we may do, eat, or drink throughout the day that could rob us of sleep at night. Here is a list of things to watch out for. And I’m not recommending that you should completely do away with these things if you want to sleep. But you will certainly want to be moderate.

Alcohol. Drinking too much, especially before bed, can impact your sleep cycle, and cause you to lose sleep.

Caffeine. You use it to wake you up in the morning and give you another jolt in the afternoon. But it could still be in your system by the time you go to bed.

Overuse of Electronics. Your phone, your tablet, your TV, and your computer are all keeping overstimulated and under-rested. And if you’re not using a blue light filter, you are completely messing with your circadian rhythm. So no electronics for at least an hour before bed.

Naps. Who doesn’t love an afternoon nap? But if you’re having problems with sleeping at night, keep them to 30 minutes at most. And never in the late afternoon or evening.

Create a Healthy Sleep Environment

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Dosaze Side Sleeper Pillow Source: Dosaze Side Sleeper Pillow

Yes, you want your bedroom to be stylish and peaceful, but it needs to be more than that. And obviously, your bed should be a place that invites a good night’s sleep.

Here’s how you can accomplish that.

Find a mattress that works well for your size and your sleep position but don’t stop there. Because there are other products that will complement your mattress and add to your overall positive sleep hygiene.

Working out from the mattress, consider the Dosaze Cooling Mattress Protector and or their cooling bamboo sheets. Anyone who’s a hot sleeper understands how waking up drenched in sweat is the exact opposite of a restful night. So deal with it before it happens.

Or maybe your sleep position—or the inability to get into a comfortable sleep position—is what’s keeping you awake at night. Perhaps you need to consider something like a side sleeper pillow.

Get a Good Night’s Sleep

As you’ve seen, sleep deprivation can cause some serious issues. So learn how to identify it and how to deal with it.

Sleep deprivation isn’t normal and shouldn’t be accepted as a way of life. Don’t create a vicious cycle by filling up on caffeine and energy drinks to get through your day, only to make the situation worse.

Use the tips above to avoid the things that can interfere with your sleep and add the things to your room and bed that will create a have of good sleep hygiene.

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Source: US News Health, Sleep Foundation, Flickr via Trin Price