Sleep Deprivation Symptoms, Causes, Dangers and Treatment

Sleep deprivation is defined as not obtaining adequate total sleep. When someone is in a chronic sleep-restricted state they’ll notice excessive daytime sleepiness, fatigue, clumsiness, and weight gain or weight loss. In addition, being sleep-deprived affects both the brain and cognitive function.

Interestingly, there’s a subset of cases whereby sleep deprivation can actually lead to an enhanced mood, alertness, and increased energy. Note that relatively few studies have compared the different effects between chronic partial-sleep restriction and acute total-sleep deprivation, and the total absence of sleep over long periods of time has not been studied in humans. That being said, long-term total sleep deprivation resulted in death in lab animals.

What are the side effects of sleep deprivation?
Excessive daytime sleepiness
Accidents from lack of attention
Other health dangers listed below

The Dangers and Side Effects of Sleep Deprivation.

Diabetes. It’s now believed that people who experience short-term sleep restriction are not able to process glucose as efficiently as those who get eight hours of sleep; which means that they have an increased likelihood of developing Type 2 Diabetes.
Healing/ In the year 2005, a study was conducted on a group of rats: for five days the rats were deprived of REM sleep and, compared to a group of rats which were not deprived of ‘dream’ sleep, the results showed no significant changes in their wound-healing ability.
The Brain.We now know that sleep deprivation adversely affects the brain and cognitive function. A study completed by the Veterans Affairs Healthcare System in San Diego and the UCSD School of Medicine in the year 2000 monitored activity in the brains of sleep-deprived people whilst they performed basic verbal learning tasks by using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).

Growth. A survey conducted in 1999 revealed that sleep deprivation caused reduced cortisol secretion the following day – the result of increased slow-wave sleep.
Working Memory and Attention. Besides the many physical consequences of insufficient sleep, perhaps the most important consequences of sleep deprivation are deficits in working memory and attention.

Treatment Options for Sleep Deprivation. The primary treatment of sleep deprivation is to increase total sleep time. Treating the cause of sleep deprivation is generally the solution to the problem. If a sleep disorder is interrupting sleep, the problem will need to be addressed in order to improve sleep duration and quality. Inadequate sleep hygiene or insufficient sleep is often a cause that needs to be addressed.

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