Reviewed by Melanie Blake, MD, MBA
Did you know that sleep deprivation affects around one-third of American adults? The body experiences sleep deprivation due to not getting enough sleep. On average, most adults need between 7-9 hours of sleep.
There are several types of sleep deprivation that an individual can experience.
- Acute sleep deprivation is usually a few days or less when a person has a significant reduction in their sleep time.
- Chronic sleep deprivation is diminished sleep that persists for three months or longer.
- Chronic sleep deficiency or insufficient sleep is ongoing sleep deprivation as well as poor sleep due to sleep fragmentation or other disruptions.
Many factors cause a person to experience sleep deprivation, such as poor sleep hygiene, lifestyle choices, work obligations, sleep disorders, and other medical conditions. Sleep deprivation presents itself through the following symptoms.
- Slowed thinking
- Reduced attention span
- Worsened memory
- Poor or risky decision making
- Lack of energy
- Mood changes
- Weight Gain
These symptoms vary by person, but typically the symptoms depend on the level of sleep deprivation experienced. Coffee and energy drinks can mask the symptoms of sleep deprivation. It is essential to recognize how you feel on caffeine and off caffeine.
Sleep deprivation can contribute to a multitude of health problems. Those health problems include the following:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Hormonal abnormalities
- Mental health disorders
There are a few different things you can do to help minimize the effects lack of sleep has on your body. Check out the following tips on how to prevent or help with sleep deprivation.
- Stick to a sleep schedule
- Pay attention to what you eat and drink
- Avoid caffeine for a few hours before bed
- Create a restful environment
- Reduce the number of daytime naps
- Incorporate physical activity into your daily routine
- Try to work through your worries or concerns before going to bed
- Refrain from using electronic devices right before bedtime
- Do relaxing activities before bed such as reading or meditating
At Lifestyle Medicine at Galen, we focus on addressing our patient’s needs and creating a tailored care plan that best suits their needs. If you are experiencing sleep deprivation and are unsure of what to do, call our office at (423) 497-5363 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Melanie Blake.