How to recognize sleep deprivation symptoms

It is normally fairly easy to recognize sleep deprivation symptoms. Even though the advantage of getting a good night’s sleep are well known, we should also be aware of the the symptoms and consequences of a reduced amount of sleep. It is possible that sleep deprivation symptoms are not immediately obvious, so you should always bear in mind this possibility and look for more hidden signs. If you are not getting enough sleep, you are very likely to experience some, or even all of the following sleep deprivation symptoms.

Sources of sleep deprivation symptoms

There are various sleep deprivation symptoms that people with insufficient sleep may experience. But first, we should make the distinction between chronic and acute sleep deprivation. The chronic variety will occur after a longer period of time with insufficient sleep and is a lot harder to make up. Acute sleep deprivation will appear when you miss sleep for one night, but make it up over the next few nights. These two kinds will, naturally, have different sleep deprivation symptoms. It is not uncommon for people who systematically go without sufficient sleep, such as university students, to seek medical assistance in removing the consequences. Oftentimes it will happen that, after a long period with not enough sleep, the body will get into a state of constant blur, a kind of semi-awake state, which is only one of the common sleep deprivation symptoms.

Common sleep deprivation symptoms

Extensive research has been conducted in order to examine sleep deprivation symptoms. They have been made on subjects who were allowed to sleep only four hours a night, for a period of six nights. The results have been able to identify the most common among them. The sleep deprivation symptoms that were found are the following: the production of only one half of the normal amount of antibodies in the immune system, the rise of the level of stress-induced hormones, activation of the sympathetic nervous system, the rise of blood pressure and faster beating of the heart. These are common sleep deprivation symptoms, but there are others too: people may easily get irritated, they will often be moody, and may also lose their inhibitions. If these initial symptoms are ignored, apathy may ensue, as well as slower speech, weaker memory and reduced ability for multitasking.

Variations of sleep deprivation symptoms

Not all people will react in the same way to the lack of sleep and experience the same sleep deprivation symptoms as a consequence. Every person has different needs for sleep and different reactions to the lack of it. Some people can function normally with only four to six hours of sleep, while others will be incapacitated if they get less than ten. They may experience such sleep deprivation symptoms as arthritis and other conditions which affect the bone system and cause various kinds of pain. The symptoms in women may include significant hormonal shifts, especially the premenstrual syndrome, as well as complications during the pregnancy. The sleep deprivation in teenagers has been proven to be related to their use of drugs, alcohol and tobacco, even when other sleep deprivation symptoms, such as drowsiness, depression or attention problems were not present.

Types of Sleep Disorders

Sleep disorders have various causes. It cannot be overstated how important good night’s sleep is for a person’s health and overall well being. Sleep helps you organism repair and restore its regular functions. However, many people commonly experience various sleep disorders, which can have serious consequences for people’s health. In order to help them get more sleep, many people tend to use drugs, which, in turn, can have serious side-effects. On the other hand, natural medicine may offer less harmful alternatives, adjusted to people’s individual needs. Polls have shown that almost half of adults experience one or more symptoms of insomnia, one of the most common sleep disorders.

Symptoms of sleep disorders

Although recognizing sleep disorders is normally easy and intuitive, we bring some of the most common symptoms that should by all means be taken seriously if they appear. It is important to note here that simply not getting enough sleep does not necessarily mean you have a serious problem. Perhaps it would be good to monitor you sleeping habits and make sure you don’t confuse a temporary issue for a more serious sleep disorder. Some of the symptoms that should be considered are the following: a feeling of irritability during daytime, slower reactions than usual, frequent need for caffeine and/or caffeinated drinks in order to be able to function properly, experiencing difficulties in concentration, feeling tired or even falling asleep when driving, not easily keeping your emotions under control, etc. If you are experiencing some or even all of these symptoms, you may be suffering from one of the sleep disorders.

Common sleep disorders

There are various kinds of sleep disorders and some are more common than others. Unfortunately, physicians today normally don’t have a lot of (or any) training in recognizing such conditions, so they will often go unnoticed and undiagnosed. One of the most common sleep disorders is insomnia, which is a chronic condition in which the person suffering from it has difficulties falling asleep and/or staying asleep, with no other visible causes. Other frequently occurring disorders include: (1) bruxism – condition where a person’s teeth involuntarily grind or clench during sleep; (2) narcolepsy – manifests through excessive sleepiness during daytime, often with falling asleep not willingly and in inappropriate situations; (3) parasomnias – behaviours including unsuitable actions, such as sleep walking. There are many other sleep disorders, but these are most common and easily identifiable ones.

Curing sleep disorders

The easiest way of curing sleep disorders, which many people readily resort to, is taking sleeping pills. However, unless they are carefully prescribed by a competent doctor and taken with caution and according to the prescription, they may cause overdose or dangerous side effects. However, there are some very simple and easy steps you can take that can help you sleep and maybe even resolve some of the more mild sleep disorders: taking a warm bath just before going to sleep, stretching lightly or doing yoga before bedtime, not eating too late, reducing your intake of caffeine and alcohol and avoiding smoking, listening to soft, relaxing music before going to bed, and reserving your bedroom strictly for sleeping and intimacy. Keeping a healthy and relaxed lifestyle can generally reduce, or even remove your sleep disorders.

Identifying stages of sleep

Every good sleep necessarily occurs in five stages of sleep. In order to wake up fully rested and with enough energy to keep you active and productive during the day, you need to get well rested, ideally without disruptions and sudden waking up during the night. If your sleep times are too short, you may not go through all the stages of sleep. This may have consequences for your health because your body will not get enough rest and will not be able to function normally. It is immensely important to get a good night’s sleep because it has many benefits for your health. However, there are also some shorter kinds of sleep, which do not require going through all the stages of sleep because they have a slightly different purpose than “proper” sleep.

Descriptions of stages of sleep

Five stages of sleep have been identified. The first stage is light sleep, where it is possible to drift in and out of sleep and be easily woken up. People often have the feeling of falling during this stage. It usually lasts about five to ten minutes. The second stage takes up about half of the time you spend sleeping. In this stage, the brain activity level is reduced. In the third stage, deep sleep begins. In this stage, slower brain waves, the so-called delta waves, combine with faster waves. The fourth one of the stages of sleep is actually the second stage of deep sleep. The brain makes only delta waves in this stage and that is why people are not easily woken up in this stage. The last stage is known as REM (Rapid Eye Movement) and is the stage in which dreaming occurs. A person is most likely to sweat and breathe deeply and heavily during this stage. All of these stages of sleep in order to feel rested and full of energy.

Stages of sleep in power naps

Power naps work through fewer stages of sleep than “regular” sleeping. The main characteristic of power naps is that they bring maximum rest in a short period of time. Not all stages of sleep are necessary nor is there enough time for all of them to occur. Power naps typically include only the first two: the first stage includes lightly falling into sleep, where breathing slows down and there is some eye and jaw movement. In the second stage, body temperature lowers and muscles relax. Power naps will typically last for 15 to 30 minutes and not include the last three stages of sleep.

Sequence and significance of stages of sleep

Each one of the stages of sleep has its own importance. For example, stage two has enormous benefits for energy restoration and is most important for power naps. During the later stages of sleep, your brain activity will slow down and your muscles will relax. It is important to note that the stages do not appear in a linear way during sleep. When we go to sleep, the stages of sleep appear in a cyclical way – we go through stages 2, 3 and 4 a couple of time before going into REM, and afterwards we return into stage 2 before waking up.