Signs - Sleep Deprivation

Man with sleep deprivation

If you aren't getting enough sleep each night, it'd be wise to know some sleep deprivation signs. Sleep deprivation is when your body doesn't get enough sleep to function normally the following day. A very basic sleep deprivation definition is
"a condition of not having enough sleep or of being robbed of sleep".

This lack of sleep can have adverse effects on your mental acuity and temperament as well as your motor skills. Experts say that if you feel drowsy during the day - even during activities that you might classify as boring - that it's likely that you haven't had enough sleep the night before and are sleep deprived. They also suggest that if you routinely lay down for sleep and you fall asleep within 5 minutes of your head hitting the pillow, there's a chance that you are suffering from sleep deprivation - possibly even severe sleep deprivation.

People suffering from sleep deprivation will often be so tired during the day that they experience what are called microsleeps. These very brief sleep episodes occur when the person is otherwise awake. You can think about it as having just enough of your brain functioning to know what's going on but not enough functioning to be "all there". In many cases when people experience microsleeps, they are not even aware they're happening. These are oftentimes the causes for minor accidents and forgetfulness.

Signs Sleep Deprivation:

  • muscle aches
  • headaches or migraines
  • irritability
  • depression
  • loss of mental acuity, memory lapses
  • hallucinations
  • stress
  • higher blood pressure

Bloodshot eyes and bags under the eyes are also signs. Sleep deprivation can also be the culprit when it comes to fibromyalgia, diabetes and obesity.

Sleep Deprivation Facts:

In addition to the above list, one of the most dangerous aspects of sleep deprivation is when it comes to motor skills. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) reports that one out of every five serious traffic accidents is caused by driver fatigue. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that some 100,000 motor vehicle accidents and 1500 fatalities each year can be contributed to driver fatigue.

The effects of sleep deprivation while driving are similar to those of an intoxicated person. In fact, studies have shown that people who are sleep deprived - staying awake for more than 17 hours - perform worse than someone who has a blood alcohol level of 0.05% - the legal limit in many western and European countries. And if you drink alcohol while deprived of sleep, it only worsens the situation. Alcohol has a much greater effect on an individual who is not well rested.