Posts Tagged ‘chronic sleep deprivation’

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Main health effects of sleep deprivation (See ...

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Sleep deprivation comes in many forms and is literally a condition where a person gets insufficient sleep. This can become an acute or even a chronic problem. Chronic sleep deprivation can cause weight gain, weight loss, clumsiness, a daytime need for sleep and fatigue. Adverse types of affects can include changes in a person’s and their brain’s ability to function properly. Though few types of studies have looked at the effects of chronic partial sleep restrictions and fully blown complete sleep deprivation, it is known that sleep deprivation cannot be total unless the person is afflicted with fatal familial insomnia as cat naps or micro-sleeps are unavoidable. However, it has been shown that sleep deprivation over the long-term can cause death.

Sleep Deprivation Symptoms

Sleep deprivation should not be taken lightly. There are varied symptoms that indicate a lack of sleep, many of which will worsen if the sleep deprivation continues for long periods of time. These include:

• irritability
• heart rate increases
• cognitive type impairment
• increased heart disease risks
• impaired immunity and moral type judgment
• reduced reaction accuracy and time
• severe types of yawning
• tremors
• hallucinations
• body aches
• ADHD-comparable symptoms
• obesity risk
• increased diabetes (2) risk
• suppression of growth
• lowered body temperature
• bags under the eyes
• darkened circles under the eyes
• muscles aches
• loss of memory
• memory lapses
• confusion
• depression
• shaking hands
• bloodshot eyes
• headaches
• puffy eyes
• raised blood pressure
• raised hormone stress levels
• increased fibromyalgia risks
• nystagmus
• temper tantrums (mainly children)
• general yawning
• psychosis
• impeded verbal learning
• mood swings
• decreased ability to learn
• damaged brain enzymes
• reduced ability for brain cell repair
• brain damage
• reduced new cell production
• overly taxed hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal system
• impaired and reduced ability of body functions regulation
• hypersomnia
• reduced ability to heal
• increased muscle cramps
• increased hernia risks
• increased tears in muscles
• inappropriate behaviours
• inappropriate emotional responses
• increased perception distortions

Sleep Deprivation and Micro-sleeps

Though most people are completely unaware of having micro-sleeps as a result of sleep deprivation, the chances of this happen increase with the more sleep that is lost and the longer the sleep deprivation continues. Usually sleep deprivation is a gradual build-up or slowly compounding sleep deficit that can take time to show symptoms. When a person has suffered sleep deprivation for many years, micro-sleeps can start occurring.

Micro-sleeps due to sleep deprivation are where the brain takes a cat-nap, shutting down and going into a sleep type state for anywhere from a second to as much as ½ a minute. However, the person is quite often in the middle of an activity and the micro-sleep happens without warning, almost as if the person blacked out. In fact, it is at this stage where micro-sleeps occur that a person runs the risk of being seriously harmed, whether having a car accident or falling down. At this point, anyone who has micro-sleeps should seek medical help.

Problems Diagnosing Sleep Deprivation

Most people who suffer some sort of fatigue will bravely struggle on and catch up on sleep in limited and usually insufficient ways by having cat-naps. However, the person is not truly having the REM and other stages of sleep that they desperately need. Quite often, people suffering from sleep deprivation will play down their fatigue, drink lots of coffee to stay awake and even try varied herbal remedies to keep themselves going. Most are incapable of determining their impairment degrees, and by the time their sleep deprivation reaches severe and acute levels, their ability to perceive that they need medical help is greatly reduced. That is why it is essential to get medical assistance with sleep issues before they get out of control.