Sleep deprivation can either be a sleep disorder or a condition wherein the person wants to have sufficient sleep but cannot simply do so due to some or the other reason. However, it can sometimes be a choice, in case a person who simply does not want to sleep. Most medical practitioners define sleep deprivation as the lack of adequate amount of sleep. An average adult needs about seven to nine hours of sound and peaceful sleep, in order to function properly and also keep his/her body functions running healthily.
The symptoms of this condition include fatigue, irritation, inability to focus on the task at hand and clumsiness. These symptoms are quite harmless if they occur once in a while. However, if they are frequent, there is something definitely wrong and one needs to consult a doctor.
Forced sleep deprivation basically affects the digestive, respiratory, and nervous system. Thus, the first effect is that the metabolism of the person is affected. The changed rate of metabolism often results into diabetes, weight gain, and obesity. As the sleep-wake cycle is disrupted, the digestive system is not able to process food energy properly and it ends up storing most of the nutrients. Apart from diabetes and obesity, the person may also be affected by hypertension and have a very weak immune system.
The person's skin gets affected and one would observe the appearance of wrinkle lines and visible dark circles under the eyes. Some symptoms also include aching muscles and headaches. The person may also experience dizziness and nausea. These symptoms further lead to increase in blood pressure that is characterized by hand tremors. The increase in blood pressure also leads to irritation and short-term memory loss. If these symptoms are observed for a very long time, it might eventually lead to diabetes, insomnia, hypertension, digestive problems, and even psychological and nervous disorders.
There are several different types of sleeping disorders. They can be classified into medical and psychological.
The medical sleeping disorders are the ones that are caused as a result of medical conditions such as menopause, insomnia, or any kind of undetected medical disorder or disease. At times, sheer pain in the body prevents the person from falling asleep and the body exhibits symptoms of this condition.
The psychological causes include stress, nervousness and anxiety, worry, depression, and jet lag. There are also a large number of psychological conditions that lead to the occurrence of these symptoms. Some of these psychological disorders include sleepwalking, bruxism or delayed sleep phase syndrome. People who do not follow a regular pattern of sleeping and waking up, are often victims of such psychological disorders. The symptoms, in such cases, are more physical in nature and tend to disrupt the bodily functions.
When one does not sleep properly, be it because of work, stress or addictions, one's body starts getting used to this abnormal sleep-wake cycle. And one begins to experience most of the physical symptoms, as mentioned above. This might sound harmless, but it is detrimental to the overall health of an individual. Thus, on observation of the aforementioned symptoms, one should consult the concerned doctor so as to identify the underlying condition causing it if any. Also, to rule out the possibility of further complications or conditions that a lack of sleep could lead to. Moreover, nothing should deprive one of the pleasure of a sound sleep.
Disclaimer: This SleepHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.