Lack of Sleep Symptoms

Sleep is an essential part of life that helps our bodies and minds regenerate and grow. On average, adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night, while adolescents require 8 to 10. Lack of sleep symptoms manifest slightly differently for everyone. Whether your sleep deficit is the result of working late or the result of a sleep disorder or other psychological or medical condition, sleep deprivation can have a variety of effects. It can negatively impact your mood, ability to concentrate, and cause excessive daytime sleepiness. Over time, signs of sleep deprivation can become more serious and can increase your likelihood of stroke, depression, and automobile accidents.[1]

Short-term lack of sleep symptoms

When your natural sleep-wake cycle is disrupted, it can almost immediately affect your sense of well-being. Even sleeping an hour or two less than your body needs can impact your performance and mental cognition the following day.[2] If your lack of sleep is just one night or a few days, then usually the lack of sleep symptoms that appear are minor inconveniences. The most common symptom of lack of sleep is feeling drowsy and having difficulty concentrating. Lack of sleep can also result in weakened physical strength, which can cause difficulty performing manual tasks.[3] Lastly, it can also create mood swings and feelings of irritability, which can put stress on your relationships and negatively impact work performance. 

Sleep deprivation: Chronic lack of sleep

If your lack of sleep is an ongoing problem and you consistently struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep, then you may suffer from a sleep disorder. Common sleep disorders that result in lack of sleep are insomnia, restless leg syndrome, and sleep apnea. As lack of sleep transitions from an occasional event to an ongoing issue, the signs and symptoms become more noticeable and serious. Ongoing lack of sleep symptoms include depression, anxiety, or a severely compromised immune system. Over time, sleep deprivation effects on the brain can impact low-level visual processing and your working memory. Issues making new memories can negatively impact your ability to learn. If your lack of sleep is becoming an ongoing issue, it is best to see a medical professional or sleep specialist to identify the root of the issue.


Can lack of sleep make you sick?

Yes, it can. One common lack of sleep effect is a compromised immune system. Not only can sleep deficiency increase your likelihood of getting sick, it can also make it harder for your body to fight off illness, making you sick longer.[4] When you are not getting enough sleep, your body starts to produce less infection fighting antibodies and protective cytokines.[5]

What causes sleeplessness? 

Trouble sleeping or lack of sleep can be caused by a range of factors. The most common causes are a mixture of different factors: lifestyle choices, environmental factors, the use of certain medications, and/or accompanying psychological or medical conditions.

Can lack of sleep raise the body temperature?

There is no conclusive information on the effects of sleep on body temperature. Some studies have shown that sleep deprivation can cause fluctuations in body temperature. A study on sleep deprivation in rats indicated that being sleep-deprived raised the rat’s body temperature slightly.[6]

How do I know if I’m lacking sleep?

If you experience a combination of lack of sleep symptoms in conjunction with finding yourself sleeping an irregular schedule, then it is quite likely you are not getting enough sleep. When you find yourself feeling like you could fall asleep at any minute or you are longing for a nap then it typically means you are getting an insufficient amount of sleep. Other symptoms of lack of sleep — in addition to feeling drowsy during the day — include having difficulty concentrating or staying alert, and feeling irritable.

How do you treat insomnia?

Treatment depends on what causes insomnia. Many people benefit from scheduled sleep routines, cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I), and relaxation techniques. Insomnia is often the result of feeling of stress and anxiety that once resolved goes away. Over the counter medication may be effective in the short term if your sleeplessness is due to a traumatic life event, such as the loss of a job or death of a loved one.

Master Sources List for Insomnia








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