‘He who has health has hope;
And he who has hope has everything.’
Amid our hectic and stressful lifestyle, getting proper sleep at night is of primary importance, and getting deprived of that for a long time can lead to severe health and mental issues. As per The National Sleep Foundation’s 2005 Sleep America Poll, ‘U.S. adults are sleeping an average 6.9 hours a night, including both weekday and weekend sleep,’ while they should be ideally be sleeping for at least seven to nine hours every day. The situation is similar or even worse in developing countries!
What Are The Early Signs of Sleep Deprivation?
Many of us tend to work late at night and feel sleepy and drowsy the entire following day at the workplace. Persistence of this results in acute insomnia followed by mental health disorders. Our body needs to function at the optimal state without which our productivity gets affected. Impaired memory, sluggish feeling, and constant exhaustion are what sleep deprivation leads to at an early stage.
A few of the immediate effects of this are quite noticeable.
- It reduces the alertness and the performances, which highly affects the professional life of an individual.
- Short term memory loss, inability to think and process certain information also gets hampered.
- The partner/ spouse’s sleep also gets disrupted and hence leads to mood swings and conflicts.
- Due to constant exhaustion, you do not feel like spending time with your near and dear ones, and not only that, anything which requires your concentration gets de-focussed and loses clarity.
- If you drive a car to work or anywhere else, you intend to doze off, and it becomes very risky.
- Constant anxiety and stress are your all-time companions.
- Being paranoid about every little thing which does not even deserve attention.
Long Term Effects of Sleep Deprivation
Sleep is one of the essential things in life, without which you cannot survive. If the symptoms mentioned above continue for a prolonged period, the results might prove fatal. It can cause serious illnesses like:
- High Blood Pressure
- Cardiac Arrest
- Heart Failure
- Memory loss
- Physical Accidents
- Mood Disorders
- Type 2 Diabetes
It overall leads to low quality personal, and professional life. Distances occur with the children as you fail to give them the necessary attention and tend to be agitated throughout the day. Life has become a rat race now, and having negative work performance can make things worse! Several people lose their jobs because of this and decide to end their lives.
Anxiety and depression are such hazards that you do not realize what plays in your subconscious mind. You feel constantly tired and exhausted due to irregularity in your sleep pattern, and end up doing things that become harmful for the entire family. Stress level reaches the optimum point, and finally, the mind stops working.
Dealing with the Problem!
At times, the doctors or the psychiatrists ask the patients to consume sedatives and avoid nicotine, but that does not help because nothing can ever compensate for a fair amount of sound sleep, which our body needs regularly. Gradually when the sleep deprivation becomes chronic, you become a maniac and even start hallucinating things. Doctors or the people working in the IT sectors mostly face these risks due to recurring night shifts. But in the case of the doctors, the risk is double as somebody else’s life is in their hands too. People also suffer emotionally, which affect their conjugal lives.
Insomnia has become a prevalent disease off late, and it decreases productivity and affects performances at home and workplace alike. Some take it casually, and some prefer to ignore it. But it is a grave issue that should be addressed immediately as soon as you experience the early signs. For some, it is mandatory to stay awake at night and work for their night shifts, but for a few others, it becomes a habit that needs to be altered before it gets serious. Most teenagers suffer from this because of binge-watching series the entire night or chatting. Other than work, social media, and OTT platforms can be considered a few of the reasons for sleep deprivation. We never realize the actual significance of good health, until we fall sick and we realize it the hard way!
Sleep deprivation does not have anyone particular consequence, but a lot of it is inter-mingled. As the productivity at the workplace reduces, negativity embarks and has its outbursts on your family members when you reach home, and this leads to emotional turmoil between the parents or your partner. Not only this but constant exhaustion keeps you drowsy all the time, and you do not feel like socializing or even meeting your friends. Hence, losing pals is another significant consequence of this. As your behavior changes, people do not feel like interacting with you much, and you feel cornered everywhere. Anxiety can also take a toll on cognitive abilities like decision making, being impulsive, judgment, and even perception. Drivers, pilots, traffic police, and surgeons need to take extra care about these issues.
Long Term Solutions For Your Problems
Your entire life changes if you do not get enough sleep or are having any trouble sleeping. Meditation and yoga can be considered a long-term solution to this problem. Practicing mindfulness and sleep relaxation techniques are proven to have long-term benefits without any side effects. Your mind needs to relax for the brain to function properly and, for that, eight hours of sleep is mandatory. Being restless and fickle-minded while going to sleep or using the phone or the laptop late at night isn’t a good practice. Having a relaxed and tension-free mind is what you need while going to bed. Try listening to podcasts, audio stories, or soothing music in a dark room if you have insomnia. We need to allow our body to generate stress-busting hormones as it protects us from several minor health issues, and these hormones are formed only during a restful and good night’s sleep.
Researchers from different countries have worked on sleep deprivation, and many of them have concluded that this disease is fatal and should be treated as early as possible. Less sleep, stress, along with anxiety, can lead to suicidal thoughts and even kill a person.