Signs and Symptoms of Sleep Deprivation
Are we humans obsessed with sleep? Or are we more and more haunted by it in our modern society?
How many hours do you sleep on average every night?
Do you know how many hours of sleep you need?
Do you know the difference between quantity sleep and quality sleep?
Do you wake up in the morning looking at the clock and realising that you slept eight hours, but you are still exhausted and dreading the day ahead?
Did you wake up so many times during the night that you feel you haven't slept properly, and could use a few more hours, maybe a whole day in bed?
Or do you usually wake up in the middle of the night and struggle to go back to sleep?
As an avid dreamer and dreams researcher, I always loved sleep. For me, a good night sleep was and still is vital, because it means entering into the dream time to play, to travel, to meet people who I love, to get my answers, to solve problems.
A rough night, a long period of challenges and problems or a traumatic event it meant for me anxiety dreams, scary dreams or nightmares, followed by a hard, difficult day in which I struggled to cope with everything. I had to force myself in order to be on top of things, using a higher amount of energy or caffeine, only so that I could drop to sleep at night, feeling even more exhausted.
But, as I became older, I’ve paid more and more attention to my sleep routine and studied profusely my sleep patterns and observed the benefits of having a healthy sleep. Making sure that the percentage of good night sleeps is way higher than rough sleep nights, I could immediately acknowledge the benefits by experiencing an increase in quality and quantity of my sleep and dreams.
The topic of sleep is vast.
But in this blog, I want to focus on a very important aspect of sleep that many people I’ve come across, in my life or my practice, are struggling with. It’s about the lack of sleep or poor-quality sleep.
The World Health Organisation has pointed to a ‘global epidemic of sleeplessness’ with roughly two-thirds of adults sleeping less than eight hours a night. And more and more scientists are claiming that we are living in a world of sleep deprived individuals, due to the modern 24-h society. If you want to read more about that, please follow this link HERE.
When we are in our 20’s, losing one night sleep or more isn’t a big deal, we can manage that, right? We are even proud of that. But, as we get older, the more lack of sleep or poor-quality sleep we have the more sleep debt we accumulate. And if we do not pay that sleep debt at that particular moment in time, it will start to take its toll on us, on our physical, mental and emotional health, more and more.
Over the years, I heard so many individuals saying, quite proudly, “I only slept 4-5 hours a night, for 20 years now, and I am still ok!”. But, when you look at them, they appear 10 years older than their chronological age and already experiencing major issues with their health.
Photo by Darwin Laganzon from Pixabay
Not getting enough sleep is something to BE DEALT WITH and NOT COPED WITH.
Long-term deficient sleep quality and quantity can lead to chronic sleep deprivation.
The amount of sleep that humans require changes throughout the different stages of their life. And you can see below the average sleep time needed depending on the group age:
· Infants (3-11 months) need 12-16 hours
· Toddlers (12-35 months) need 11-14 hours
· Pre-schoolers (3-6 years) need 10-13 hours
· School age (6-10 years) need 9-12 hours
· Adolescents (11-18 years) need 8-10 hours
· Adults need an average of 8 hours, but the normal range is 7-9 hours
· Elderly adults may need less sleep, averaging 7-8 hours.
Sleeping less than the number of hours needed can have major consequences on your health like risks of heart disease, high blood pressure, kidney disease, diabetes, obesity, and emotional disorders.
If you are feeling extremely tired during the day, it’s a clear indication of sleep deprivation.
And if you experience excessive daytime sleepiness, you might feel drowsy and have a very hard time staying awake even when you need to. Also, in some cases, this will result in microsleeps, which means that you will doze off for a matter of seconds.
Lack of sleep or poor-quality sleep can directly affect how you feel during your waking hours.
The symptoms can depend on the length of your sleep deprivation and whether it is acute or chronic. You cannot permit this issue to carry on for months and years, because a consistent lack of sleep will affect dramatically your health and literally shorten your life.
So, let’s have a look at the main signs and symptoms of sleep deprivation:
· falling asleep straight away
· taking frequent naps
· dozing off without intending to
· sleeping for very long hours during the weekend.
· Excessive daytime sleepiness
· Slower thinking
· Reduced concentration
· Decreased attention span
· Impaired memory
· Poor or risky decision-making
· Lack of energy
· Frequent mood changes, including feelings of stress, anxiety, or irritability.
There are other factors that could lead to sleep deprivation, and certain people are more at risk than others because of the following reasons:
- poor sleep hygiene, lifestyle choices, work obligations.
- late hours of watching television, browsing the Internet, scrolling on social media instead of going to bed regularly, at a particular time.
- lying in bed, thinking and worrying, instead of relaxing.
- the habit of drinking tea or coffee or having a cigarette before bedtime, will inhibit your sleep.
- working shifts disrupts sleep-wake cycles.
- waking up frequently during the night because you have a baby or young children.
- colds can cause disturbances in sleep such as frequent waking.
- coexisting health problems, such as sleep apnea, snoring, and periodic limb movement disorder can affect a person’s sleep throughout the night.
- some drugs used to treat certain disorders such as epilepsy or attention deficit hyperactivity can cause insomnia.
A vast majority of people who have sleep disorders don't even realize it.
And if you now recognise one or more of these symptoms and feel that you need more support or guidance to deal with the lack of sleep, please check my previous blog entries about healthy sleeping habits HERE - for part one and HERE - for part two.
Or get in touch with me to discuss any personal issues or concerns you might have and what we can do to help you improve your sleep
I also put below a couple of quizzes that might help you find out a little bit more about your sleep.
Quiz 1 - What is your sleep like - HERE.
Quiz 2 - Adult sleep quiz - HERE.
And if you feel guided to, I would love to know your answers to the questions at the beginning of this blog. Please put them in the comments below or send me a private message or email.
Wishing you a wonderful good night sleep, beautiful iDreamer!
Mariana - Clinical Hypnotherapist & Dream Seer by birth