Two of the seven dwarfs come to mind when I think of Sleep deprivation, Sleepy and grumpy, both to me go hand in hand. If you have ever missed sleep or have been up all night tossing and turning, you will feel the effects the following day, and that is only short term effects, what about the long term effects of sleep deprivation? It is always recommended to sleep 6-8 hours each night to keep your mind and body on track.
During this time, you should be fully relaxed without disruptions, noise or anything that will ruin your sleep.
Let’s take a look at the causes and effects of Sleep Deprivation.
What is Sleep Deprivation?
Sleep deprivation is a term that means a person is getting less than the right amount they need.
What causes Sleep Deprivation?
Sleep deprivation is caused by many things, but the most common causes are :
Stress whether it is due to home, work, and family is always a major health risk. Stress comes in many forms and damages different parts of the body but it also affects your ability to sleep at night and if you are over thinking or worrying this will keep you awake which results in less time for sleeping.
Too much coffee, fizzy drinks, chocolate and other caffeine substances would have a major impact on your sleep. It is recommended to cut this out 4-6 hours before bedtime in the evening as caffeine is stimulant
3) Poor sleep hygiene
Sometimes your own room can prevent you from being able to fall asleep. If your room is messy or you eat/work/sleep all in your bed, this can have a bad effect on trying to fall asleep, make sure you have a clean environment around you, mattress, bed sheets, duvet, no mess.
4) Thinking about work
Work is one of the main factors for preventing sleep. Work should only be thought about during work hours, but sometimes that is not as easy as people think. On the same wavelength as stress, the workplace can cause a lot of issues with the human body and mind. It is best to switch off from work, emails, and your phone a few hours before bed in order to help your mind relax rather than constantly focused on work related thoughts.
5) Poor Health
Sleep deprivation is common with people who have depression, schizophrenia, chronic pain and cancer. Sometimes the medication used in these circumstances have an impact on the ability to sleep at night, it is always best to consult your doctor and discuss any problems you may have sleeping when on medication.
What are the signs of sleep deprivation?
Missing out on sleep has many effects, the longer you go without sleep the more visible it becomes to everyone else and also more damaging.
1) Skin Health
Your skin will be the most noticeable effect of not getting enough sleep. (This isn’t after one or two nights, it is over time.) It starts to look unhealthy and pale and you will start to get the ‘sick look’.
2) Eye Health
Probably the one everyone will notice first. How many times have we woken up after a night of drinking and have blood shot eyes or bags under our eyes, this will become a common occurrence after a few nights of missed sleep.
Back to the seven dwarfs – GRUMPY. Not only does our physical appearance take a knock, so does our mood. I know myself if I don’t get enough sleep at night, I need at least two coffees before I face work. Now after a few nights of not getting enough sleep, I don’t think the two coffees would help as much. We turn miserable, anxious and angry which leads to health problems physically and mentally down the line.
4) Immune System
Our bodies don’t only want sleep, we NEED sleep. There are so many different benefits to getting a good night’s sleep. We need to be rested to fight off infections and build up our immune system. Being sleep deprived, tired and weak can lead to getting sick very easily, this is why making sure catching those winks will pay off in the long run!
How to prevent Sleep Deprivation
The most popular recommendation would be to try exercise 20-30 minutes each days at least 5-6 hours before going to bed. Exercise has many benefits, but it also will help you fall asleep easier at night.
And if exercise isn’t for you:
Creating a relaxing bedtime routine also helps to beat sleep deprivation – have a look at our blog on ‘Bedtime Routines’ and let us help you in every way we can.