Before considering the many ways in which to deal with a lack of sleep, first note how this phenomenon expresses itself symptomatically. Also take into account its sources, as well as some of its consequences. These considerations will influence the various ways of dealing with sleep deprivation.
As far as the physical traces of sleeplessness are concerned, look at the skin underneath the eyes. Dark circles, swollen eye bags, thin lines and tiny wrinkles are evidence of it. A person who is not getting enough rest at night may behave in subtle ways like an intoxicated person the next day. Simple hand movements lack in ordinary dexterity. Speech becomes slurred or faltered. The ability to respond to events is retarded. In instances where this deficiency is prolonged, a person always looks tired. Other symptoms include vacant stares, looking vague and distracted, and lacking in concentration. Complaints of muscle and joint aches from constantly repositioning the body in an effort to fall asleep, are not uncommon.
Emotionally, sleep deprivation tends to show up as fatigue and overly fussiness. Mood swings and irritability are also manifested. A loss of interest in life can also be noted. A person may try to catch a nap at all sorts of odd hours during the day. An absence of mental lucidity may surface, as when person says or does incomprehensible things. Forgetting things that are ordinarily remembered is another symptom.
The problem and its symptoms feed into each other in a vicious cycle. Prolonged shortages of proper slumbering time can bring about states of depression. The latter compounds the problem and contributes to the failure to fall asleep. Depressive feelings in turn interferes with normal eating habits. Lacking the will to eat might make a person consume more liquids rich in caffeine or sugar. This does not reduce hunger, but makes the body even more alert, and hence less likely to come to rest. Weight gain or weight loss problems can result. Either a person up during the night consuming food, or is too exhausted to have a decent meal.
There are many reasons why some people go through periods of sleeplessness. External sources could relate to work or the immediate home environment. Being overworked might cause a person to be too tired to get some rest. A conflict ridden home environment producing lots of anxiety and excitement. This predisposes the body to become restless, and makes it harder to come to settle when it is needed. Personality dynamics might contribute to the problem. Short-tempered or highly strung individuals are likely to be more responsible for their own emotional upsets that results in sleeplessness. They might also be using medication to help settle their nerves. This could have adverse effects, however, one of which is sleeplessness.
Interpersonal problems at home or at work can generate high levels of anxiety and stress. If the mind cannot come to rest, the rest struggles to do likewise. When solutions to these problems do not seem immanent, especially where intimate relationships are concerned, sleep deficiency is likely to be more intense. Here the source of the troubles are close by, living and sleeping in the same environment. Not getting adequate slumber time makes an individual prone to feeling vulnerable and on edge, which in turn aggravates relationship conflicts.
The effects or circumstances of the immediate environment in which a person sleeps can result in a lack of decent rest. People who lay down in rooms or spaces that are lit, even slightly, takes longer to fall asleep. Alternatively, they tend to take longer to close their eyes, if at all. Here the normal association between darkness and rest are interrupted, triggering the mind and bodys resistance to sleep. Too much or high levels of noise in an environment where one works or lives can contribute to the issue. The usual silence unconsciously connected with falling asleep gets disrupted. This in turn interferes with sleeping patterns, and upsets the regular biological rhythm of the physical makeup. And of course, individuals may get angry and excited at this, which only exacerbates the problem.
On an interpersonal level, feeling tired and cranky all the time sours interactions with others. Intimate relationships can undergo significant strain when a partner experiences ongoing sleep problems. Afflicted partners may temporarily lose the desire for sexual intimacy, given the levels of exhaustion that inhabits the body. The issue is likely to affect workplace performance. This, in turn, may lead to undesirable relationships in the work environment. Sleep deprived sufferers simply do not have the energy or desire to engage in physically or mentally vigorous activities.
There are some immediate steps to take in securing an adequate nights rest. Get some exercise. It tires the body and makes it more susceptible to calm down. However, bear in mind that exercise also invigorates the body. So, doing this shortly before going to bed is not a smart idea. The body needs some time to return to a state of balance after being energized by exercise. Reading when in bed also helps, provided the subject matter is of the lighter variety. Relaxing in a warm bath tends to relax the muscles, especially after a busy day. If sleep does not come easy, or at all, avoid trying to get some during day. Try sticking to a schedule for going to bed and getting up. It teaches the body a waking and sleeping routine it can become familiar with.
Besides focusing on finding immediate answers to sleeplessness, also take a simultaneous long-range look at both the external and internal sources of the problem. Sometimes it is necessary and possible to make changes in what is generating undue anxiety. Consider altering how the body and mind process daily pockets of stress. For example, people who tend to personalize issues bring undue pressure on themselves. Another persons grumpiness might be due to their personality, and not because someone is responsible for it.
As a parting suggestion, try to stop the problem from getting out of hand. As soon as it makes an appearance, do not take it lightly. Go for medical or psychological help when getting adequate sleep becomes problematic. If not taken care of promptly, it can have adverse consequences for a persons health and well-being.