Health and Wellness

Sleep Deprivation causes, symptoms, treatments:

Sleep Deprivation causes, symptoms and treatments
Written by Banani Chakraborty

Sleep deprivation is a very common scenario throughout the globe. It is a global health issue. It adversely affects both adults and children. An alarming number of people sacrifice their sleep to manage the to-do list.   Sufficient sleep is almost an impossible commodity for numerous people. It affects their overall health, cognition, well-being along with their everyday activities.

To promote good health, you need good and sufficient sleep. More than 51% of adults worldwide sleep less than they need. Over 35% of US adults sleep less than 7 hours a day. 73% of US high school students sleep less than 8 hours a day. 58% of US middle school students sleep less than 9 hours a day.

Sleep Deprivation causes, symptoms and treatments:

In the first place, it is not a disease. In the early stage, this is not even fatal. But, persistent sleep deprivation in the long term can cause several health issues. Some of them are really fatal.

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What is sleep deprivation?

In the first place, it is not a disease. Actually, it means not having sound and sufficient sleep consistently. In a nutshell, regular lack of sleep or not having quality sleep is sleep deprivation. Actually, human require 7-9 hours of sound and quality sleep daily. But, consistent lack of sleep eventually leads to several health issues.

Sleep deprivation meaning:

It means that you are missing consistently the required 7-9 hours of sleep at night on a daily basis for a long time. This can put your health at real risk. In fact, sleep is an important aspect of human life. At first, the human body heals itself during sleeping hours. Additionally, it restores the chemical balance. Overall brain functions also improve along with the central nervous system while sleeping adequately.

Generally, we sleep almost one-third of our life-span.

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How much sleep do people need?

To understand sleep deprivation, you need to know the sleeping hours of various age groups. Although, necessary sleep hours vary from person to person. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), sleeping hours of various age group are as follows:

Age Group Recommended hours of sleep daily
Newborn:        0-3 months 14-17 hours( National Sleep Foundation).
Infant:              4-12 months 12-16 hours including naps
Toddler:           1-2 years 11-14 hours including naps
Preschool:       3-5 years 10-13 hours including naps
School-age:      6-12 years 9-12 hours
Teen:                13-18 years 8-10 hours
Adult:               18-60 years 7 hours and more
                          61-64 years 7-9 hours
                          65 and more 7-8 hours

 

Also mind it that the above hours indicate only sound sleep, not low-quality sleep.

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Sleep Deprivation statistics worldwide:

As per CDC’s report, 35% of adults sleep less than 7 hours during a typical 24-hour day.

Among them, 37% are in the age group 20-39 years and 40% are in the age group 40-59 years.

Moreover, 100,000 deaths occur in US hospitals per annum because of medical errors. And sleep deprivation contributes significantly.


According to 2015 statistics, sleep deprivation in India is 93%. According to a recent study, India is the second sleep-deprived countries after Japan. Rand Corporation revealed that the U.S. loses around 1.2 working days annually. In Japan, it is around 600000 working days. Besides, in the UK and Germany, it is around 200000 working days.

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Most sleep-deprived countries:

Below is a list of the most sleep-deprived countries in the world. [ According to Princess Cruises]

UK: 63

Singapore:62

Australia:61

U.S.: 58

China: 53

Japan: 49

South Korea:49

Hong Kong: 48

Malaysia: 47

Vietnam:38

Indonesia:34

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Worldwide statics of sleep deprivation:

Below are the top 5 worst sleeper’s countries with their average sleeping hours (Data from Sleep Cycle)

  • Japan: 5 hours and 59 minutes.
  • Saudi Arabia: 6 hours and 08 minutes.
  • Sweden: 6 hours and 10 minutes.
  • India: 6 hours and 20 minutes.
  • The Philippines: 6 hours and 22 minutes.
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Which country is the most sleep-deprived?

Japan and South Korea are the most sleep-deprived countries in the world.

What per cent of the world is sleep-deprived?

More than 51% of adults worldwide are sleep deprived. 80% of them use the weekend days to make up the sleep.

Types of sleep deprivation:

There are many reasons for lack of sleep.

  • At first, sleep disorders like sleep apnea, insomnia, restless leg syndrome, narcolepsy, sleep paralysis may cause sleep deprivation.
  • Secondly, poor sleeping habits can lead to such a condition.
  • Thirdly, it is very common in diseases like depression, chronic pain, stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure, Alzheimer and Parkinson diseases, cancer, schizophrenia. [Also, know how to deal with depression].
  • Moreover, stress or bipolar disorder or schedule change may cause such a situation. [Also read stress management technique].
  • Besides, a newborn baby may also disrupt the sleep schedule.
  • Generally, people over 65 faces trouble sleeping.

What causes sleep deprivation?

In fact, sleep deprivation may occur for many reasons. Read carefully types of sleep deprivation above. They are the causes of the shortage of sleep. Added to those, the followings may hamper or disturb enough sleep.

  • Shifting workers may face a lack of sleep because of changing schedule.
  • Due to some medications or drugs sleep, deprivation may occur.
  • Another reason may be chronic pain or chronic fatigue syndrome.
  • Further, the too hot or too cold or noisy environment may hamper sleep.
  • If the bed or the pillow is uncomfortable, then insufficient sleep may occur.
  • Caring for another at night may also lead to sleep deprivation.
  • Moreover, substance misuse, bipolar disorder can cause sleep deprivation.

In children and teens, causes of sleep deprivation are

  • At first, the onset of adolescence.
  • Besides, it may be late night sleep.
  • Due to large adenoids and tonsils breathing problems may arise during sleep
  • Disorders like Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or autism spectrum disorder.

What are the Effects of sleep deprivation?

At first, you will feel sleepy the next day. Therefore, your performance level will fall. Besides, it will make you grumpy. Further, it will affect adversely on your skin. Below are the signs and symptoms of sleep deprivation. Added to this, is increased risk of road accidents.


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Increased risk of accidents:

Sleep deprivation limits the ability of

  • Paying attention.
  • Making decisions
  • Taking a quick reaction

Added to this, people feel drowsy while driving. Consequently, a lot of people fall asleep at wheel. Therefore, the situation leads to increased car accidents and work accidents.

If people feel drowsy, then they should not use machinery or drive a car.

Drowsy driving annually causes 40000 nonfatal as well as1550 fatal injuries in the United States.  4.7% fell asleep at least once in the last month while driving. Moreover, 37.9% fell asleep during the day or while working in the last month.


Approximately 20% of all car accidents are due to sleepiness.

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What are the signs and symptoms of sleep deprivation?

At first, the symptoms are minor. But, over a period of time, these symptoms become serious health concerns.

Initially, the symptoms may include

  • Lethargy
  • Concentration problem
  • Drowsiness
  • Yawning
  • Aching muscles
  • Headaches
  • Memory issues
  • Less physical strength
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Less able to fight infections
  • Irritability
  • Reduced sex drive

Long-term effects and complications:

But, later on, sleep deprivation complications are

  • Higher risk for depression as well as mental illness.
  • Memory issues.
  • Concentration and thinking issues.
  • Hypertension.
  • Increased risk of diseases like stroke, heart problems, an asthma attack.
  • Severe mood swings.
  • Weakened immunity.
  • Obesity.
  • Malaise.
  • More risk for life-threatening complications like work accident and car accidents.
  • Increased risk for sleep disorders like insomnia, sleep paralysis, sleep apnea, and etc.
  • Diabetes or insulin resistance.
  • Hallucinations.
  • Wrinkled skin.
  • Dark circle under eyes.

Increased risk of accidents:

Sleep deprivation limits the ability of

  • Paying attention.
  • Making decisions
  • Taking a quick reaction

Added to this, people feel drowsy while driving. Consequently, a lot of people fall asleep at wheel. Therefore, the situation leads to increased car accidents and work accidents.

If people feel drowsy, then they should not use machinery or drive a car.

Drowsy driving annually causes 40000 nonfatal as well as1550 fatal injuries in the United States.  4.7% fell asleep at least once in the last month while driving. Moreover, 37.9% fell asleep during the day or while working in the last month.

Approximately 20% of all car accidents are due to sleepiness.

Treatments:

In the first place, there are several ways that will help you to have a quality good night sleep. In order to overcome or settle sleep deprivation, people may undertake counselling. Moreover, they can start the necessary lifestyle or environmental or both adjustments. Besides, there are some medicines and alternative therapies.

Relaxation techniques like breathing exercise or meditation can improve the problem. Further, a person may require to treat any underlying health disorder.

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can also help a person to overcome a lack of sleep. Some medicines like Benadryl, Unisom, Ambien and etc. are helpful.

If you think, then you consult a doctor. He can guide you properly.

Home care strategies:

Below are some home care strategies for sleep deprivation:

  • At first, you must maintain a fixed hour of going to bed and wake up. Even sticking to the routine during weekends and holidays.
  • Secondly, take your dinner at least 1-2 hours before bedtime. Do not take rich or heavy items at night.
  • Besides, switch off electronic gazettes like mobile, laptop, computer or tv at least one hour before sleep.
  • If possible, then keep these electronic devices away from your bed.
  • Additionally, try to keep your bedroom dark and quiet.
  • Quit or limit the use of either tobacco or alcohol or both.
  • Further, avoid drinking caffeine particularly in the evening hours.
  • Moreover, try regular exercise.
  • Devices like wedge pillows, mouth guards, anti-snore devices are also helpful.



However, there is no guarantee. These measures may or may not work.

Prevention:

If you are experiencing mild sleep deprivation, then follow the Homecare strategies as preventive measures.

Alternative therapies:

Sometimes the below mention therapies may help you. A few of them are:

  • Meditation.
  • Yoga.
  • Massage.
  • Ayurveda.
  • Tai chi.
  • Acupuncture.

Takeaway:

Every person need not only 7-8 hours of sleep but also deep sleep. In fact, sleep deprivation harms one physically as well as mentally. Persistent insufficient sleep may lead to several health concerns.  If you are facing such problem, then consult your doctor. He can suggest a test

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Banani Chakraborty

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