One in three adults doesn’t get enough sleep. Chances are that you or someone you know experiences sleep deprivation! Not only does a lack of sleep make you feel fatigued, but it can actually be dangerous! Experts suggest that around 72,000 crashes a year occur in the U.S. because someone was driving drowsy. Are you searching for a solution for your sleepless nights? Look no further than our handy sleep deprivation cures guide.
What Is Sleep Deprivation?
Your body needs sleep to rebuild and restore. Not getting enough sleep can be disastrous for your health.
The amount of sleep one needs to be fully functioning and healthy is based on their age. Newborns need 14 to 17 hours a day, while adults need 7 to 9.
Sleep deprivation occurs when you don’t get enough sleep to feel awake during the day. The amount of sleep one needs to feel alert can vary from person to person. Some people will feel drowsy after 6 hours of sleep, while others may feel perfectly alert.
Sleep deprivation doesn’t have to be long term. It can occur during stressful bouts of life or after an anxiety-filled day.
Signs and Symptoms
Not sure if you’re actually sleep-deprived? If you’re experiencing true sleep deprivation, you may experience cognitive issues, weakness, lower immune system, drowsiness, and memory problems.
Other signs include irritability, clumsiness, and yawning.
Common Causes of Sleep Deprivation
Now, what exactly causes sleep deprivation? Well, many things can contribute to poor sleep.
Let’s take a deeper look!
One reason an individual may be sleep-deprived is they have a sleep disorder. Sleep disorders are medical illnesses that impact your sleep and are diagnosed by a doctor.
Sleep deprivation itself is a sleep disorder, but it could be caused by another disorder, like insomnia, movement disorder, or restless leg syndrome.
Stress, whether it is from work or home, can have a major impact on your ability to get to sleep, as well as your quality of sleep.
Illness or Injury
Anything from a seasonal cold to a broken foot can make sleeping difficult.
Getting a full night’s rest is super important when sick and injured; your body needs the sleep to heal. Those stuffy noses and aches and pains often get in the way of getting 7 to 9 hours of quality sleep!
There are environmental factors that may impact your ability to get a full night’s sleep.
Have a newborn? That’ll certainly make you sleep-deprived.
Sharing a bed with your pets? The body heat and constant shuffling can make sleeping unbearable.
Uncomfortable mattress? Do you have your parent’s guest bedroom mattress from 20 years ago, but you’re not willing (or able) to make the jump and get a new mattress?
Poor sleep patterns, like choosing to go to bed too late when you know you have to wake up early, can also cause sleep deprivation.
The Effects of Sleep Deprivation
Sleep deprivation does more than just make you tired during the day. It can impact your mood, your health, and cognitive function.
Not sleeping well is enough reason to make someone moody, but chronic sleep deprivation can lead to mood changes, irritability, and an increased risk of mental illness.
Memory Problems and Trouble Focusing
If your brain didn’t have enough sleep to recoup and form new connections, you’re going to have a hard time processing and remembering things.
Your concentration and ability to focus also won’t be up to par.
Lack of sleep and blood pressure are related. Studies show that if you sleep less than 5 hours a night, you have an increased risk of high blood pressure.
Feel like you eat a bit more when you’re sleep deprived? That’s because your body didn’t get enough sleep to achieve balance. The chemicals and hormones responsible for telling your brain that you are full just aren’t working properly.
Sleep deprivation can increase your risk for everyday colds, but also your risk for diseases like diabetes and heart disease.
Lack of sleep reduces your body’s ability to recoup, heal, and therefore fight off illness. This will make you more prone to catching colds and viruses, and you may stay sick longer.
Not getting enough sleep also messes with your insulin levels. On average, those who have sleep deprivation also have higher blood sugars.
One of the scariest parts of sleep deprivation is when we get behind the wheel.
After 16 hours of being awake, our body begins to take very, very short naps, called microsleep. These are short moments where we lack focus and ability to concentrate, no matter how hard we try.
Even with your best efforts, you could still cause an accident due to drowsiness.
5 Sleep Deprivation Cures
Is lack of sleep getting you down? You don’t have to live in a state of drowsiness; there are solutions!
Whether it is a quick fix or a lifestyle change, there are sleep deprivation cures that can help you.
Treatment is based on the severity of sleep deprivation. If you’re not getting any sleep it is probably best to see a doctor as soon as possible for their medical advice.
1. Change Your Bedtime Routine
What you do in the hours before bed can have a serious impact on your quality of sleep.
Wind down to bedtime with the same routine every night, whatever that may look like for you. Your brain will recognize the patterns and realize that you’re getting ready to go to sleep.
One way you could promote a better night’s sleep is by reducing stimuli before bed. Put your phone down, don’t watch tv, and don’t use a computer before bedtime. This will stop your brain from getting distracted from the main goal- sleep!
In addition, it’s best not to be in your bed if you aren’t sleeping. Our brain makes an association; bed equals sleep! If you are working, watching tv, or reading in your bed, signals can get crossed. Wait until right before bedtime to climb into bed.
2. The Right Mattress and Pillow
Crack open that piggy bank, it’s time to purchase a new mattress!
Sleeping on the perfect bed can make all the difference in getting a full night’s sleep. What makes a mattress “right” really depends on the person and their preferences.
What type of mattress is right for you? Some people sleep better on firm mattresses while others need it to be soft and plush.
Don’t forget to replace your pillows too! If you’re making the leap to getting a new bed set, might as well make sure your head gets the same treatment.
3. Don’t Stress the Stress
Do something to get your mind off not sleeping. Read a book, do a crossword puzzle, or get up for a drink of water. The anxiety of not knowing if you’re going to get enough sleep could be preventing you from falling asleep in the first place!
Don’t check your phone or turn on the television and keep the room on the darker side (buy a dim lamp so you don’t have to put on the ceiling light).
4. Relaxation Techniques
If we could relax, sleep wouldn’t be an issue would it?
There are certain activities that you can do to calm your body and mind after a long day.
Meditation is a popular relaxation technique that focuses on mindfulness and awareness. It can help you achieve a calm and stable mental state.
Meditation not for you? You can try its cousin, yoga. A bit more physical than meditation while still providing similar results.
You may also try systematically tightening and relaxing muscles. Start at your toes and slowly engage, and then disengage, every part of your body all the way up to your head.
5. The Natural Path
Changing your lifestyle habits just a little bit can make a huge difference in your health.
The first recommended habit to pick up is good old exercise. Exercise is highly regarded for many reasons, it gets your metabolism going, promotes a healthy weight, and even can help with getting a good night of sleep!
Many medical professionals recommend removing substances from your life that have an impact on sleep patterns, like caffeine and nicotine. While you may love that morning coffee, it may be having more of an effect on your sleep than you think.
Allow your body to attempt a sleep cycle naturally and see if there’s any change.
Get the Sleep You Need
What’ll you try first on this list of sleep deprivation cures?
If your first step is finding the right mattress for you, you’re in luck.
The Beloit Mattress Company can help you find the perfect match to get you well on your way to a full night’s sleep. Shop our deals today.
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