While sleep deprivation and a lack of sleep, or sleep deficiency, are similar in some ways, they differ greatly in others. The important thing to note is that if you’re suffering from sleep deficiency or sleep deprivation, you should consult your doctor if the condition persists or becomes chronic.
Sleep is essential to both your physical and mental health. While the amount of sleep you need varies based on various factors such as your lifestyle, the National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults between the ages of 26 and 64 years-old should get seven to nine hours of sleep every night.
An Explanation of Sleep Deprivation
Sleep deprivation occurs in people who don’t get enough sleep. The condition can cause daytime fatigue, weight gain or loss, and clumsiness. Sleep deprivation can also have a negative influence on your cognitive functions.
Sleep deprivation can be caused by a number of things. Stress, an underlying medical condition, a restless partner and sleep disorders are just a few of the potential causes of sleep deprivation. The
American Sleep Disorders Association recognizes more than 85 sleep disorders, so the list of possible causes for sleep deprivation is actually much longer than the abbreviated list just provided.
Sleep deprivation can have some serious effects, which may become even more pronounced if the condition remains unresolved for prolonged periods of time. Here are some of the things that can result from sleep deprivation:
- Dark, puffy circles under your eyes
- Achy muscles and joints
- Mental confusion and a lack of alertness
- Weight gain
- Mood swings, including tantrums in children
- Increased risk for diabetes, fibromyalgia, stroke, seizures, injuries, accidents and blood pressure problems
- Relationship issues
A Brief Discussion on Sleep Deficiency
Compared to sleep deprivation, sleep deficiency is more broad-based. Whereas sleep deprivation involves instances where you don’t get enough sleep, sleep deficiency includes those instances along with occurrences when you fall asleep at the wrong times, you don’t sleep well or experience all the stages of the sleep cycle and you suffer from a sleep disorder that affects how long you sleep or the quality of your sleep.
As they are for sleep deprivation, the consequences of sleep deficiency can be quite severe. Here are just a few of the possible consequences of sleep deficiency:
- Heart or kidney disease
- High blood pressure
Steps to Combat Sleep Deprivation and Lack of Sleep
If you suspect you suffer from sleep deprivation or sleep deficiency, you can do a few things to try to resolve the issue on your own. If these steps don’t resolve your sleep issues, it’s critical for you to make an appointment to see your doctor. Here are some of the things you can try to combat sleep deprivation or a lack of sleep:
- Exercise every day, making sure you leave at least a two-hour window between the end of your workout and your bedtime
- Avoid consuming alcohol or caffeine or eating too close to your bedtime
- Go to bed and wake up at the same times each day
- Plan to sleep the number of hours the National Sleep Foundation recommends for people in your age group every night
- Create a bedroom environment that’s conducive to sleep
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