Sleep deprivation has such a drastic effect on those who suffer from it that it has historically been used as a torture technique. Such are the feelings and symptoms which can result from prolonged sleep deprivation that many sufferers can lose jobs, experience depression and even hallucinations as they struggle with its effects. To better understand the effects of sleep deprivation is one of the first stages in the fight against it and understanding can result in recovery.
If you are experiencing sleep deprivation effects on a regular basis then you will be only too familiar with the awful feelings associated with it. A foggy head, a pallid complexion and a short temper are often reported as side effects but what other effects can prolonged lack of sleep have on those who suffer from it?
- A lack of critical thinking; people who suffer from poor quality sleep find day to day decision making almost impossible. Their ability to study or follow directions is seriously impaired as is their ability to drive or operate machinery.
- Headaches, poor vision and stomach problems; night time is when the body repairs itself and without a decent amount of sleep, the body finds it hard to recover from day to day stresses. Digestion can slow down and the basic functions become impaired.
- Accidents; a lack of sleep is one of the top causes of road accidents; many reported accidents have occurred due to drivers falling asleep at the wheel or finding that their responses are impaired so they are unable to react quickly in a dangerous situation.
Causes of sleep deprivation
The causes of sleep deprivation are many and varied but often the most common reasons are that sufferers are worried and stressed and so cannot “turn off” and fall asleep or that they are in pain from another unrelated medical condition.
Some people suffer from insomnia due to bad habits such as drinking caffeine and alcohol and they have a reduced quality of sleep in general; difficulty falling asleep and experiencing poor quality sleep are often a side effect.
What to do if you are being deprived of sleep
The first thing to do if you are being deprived of high quality, regular sleep is to identify the causes of the issue. Could you change your diet? Are you overweight? Perhaps there are outside reasons for your lack of sleep such as noisy neighbours or building works? Speak to your doctor about the issues firstly in order that you can rule out any health issues which may be underlying and then you can begin to tackle the causes.
When you are in the vicious cycle of exhaustion which a lack of sleep can cause, it can be difficult to see the light and work out a game plan to get on top of the issues but once you begin to make the changes, your life will slowly begin to change for the better and your mental health improve as a result.