At some point in most people’s lives, sleep deprivation will raise its ugly head. While your first thought might be to college kids and new parents (and you wouldn’t be wrong) anyone can suffer from sleep deprivation at any time given the right circumstances. Along with the simple, annoying symptoms of sleep, deprivation can have long-term adverse effects on overall health. It’s been linked to emotional issues, obesity, general depression, and poor job performance. If you or a loved one is suffering from sleep deprivation, it’s important to know the signs so that you can begin working on a treatment plan.
If you notice excessive tiredness throughout your day, you are likely to have some form of sleep deprivation, but it can cause more than just yawning and fatigue. Other symptoms include irritability and moodiness, increased depression, and lack of motivation. It can also confuse, an inability to focus, clumsiness, and it may make it more challenging to learn new things.
Long term the effects of sleep deprivation can be quite dangerous. To start, it can reduce the effectiveness and functionality of the immune system, putting the body at higher risk of illness. It can also cause respiratory diseases to either develop or get worse. When too much sleep is lost the body may also produce the hormones that control the feeling of hunger incorrectly, leading to increased appetite and significant weight gain.
Depending on the cause of the sleep deprivation (college or excessive Netflix) merely creating a better sleep schedule may be the answer to the problem. That said, it often takes significant effort to break old habits and to establish better sleeping habits may require help. Creating a routine before bed can help significantly in what’s called stimulation control–by setting up a daily routine your brain will have a stimulus that signifies it’s time to start turning off. Other methods include trying relaxation techniques like meditation or cognitive behavioral therapy. If these methods are not enough, there are always medication based options to help as well; these range from over the counter to prescription depending on the severity.
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