Causes of Sleep Deprivation

sleep deprived woman

Sleep loss is a common issue in modern society that affects many people at some point in their lives. In fact, estimates show 50 to 70 million individuals in the U.S. chronically struggle from a condition of sleep and wakefulness, which hinders day-to-day functioning, and negatively affects their longevity and health.

Sleep deprivation occurs when you acquire less sleep than you need to feel alert and awake. Individuals vary in the amount of sleep they require to be considered sleep-deprived. Some individuals, like the elderly, seem to have more resistance to the impact of sleep deprivation, while other people, particularly young adults and children, are more susceptible.

While periodic interruptions in sleep are typically nothing more than bothersome, a chronic lack of sleep could result in:

  • Emotional problems
  • Obesity
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Lowered perception of life quality
  • Poor job performance

There's no questioning how important restful, restorative sleep is, and to prevent and manage sleep deprivation, you should learn what some common causes of it are, and what you can do if you're experiencing it.

Causes of Sleep Deprivation

Some reasons for sleep deprivation are:

  1. Playing Catch Up

You may be waking up early and staying up late to catch up on things you need to do. Parents of younger kids and babies often struggle with sleep deprivation. And, individuals who are taking care of others like a disabled relative or sick child are also vulnerable to sleep deprivation.

  1. Medical Conditions

You might also struggle with sleep deprivation because of a medical condition. Certain ailments like tonsillitis or a cold can cause:

  • Gagging
  • Snoring
  • Wakefulness

These altogether can interrupt a regular sleeping pattern. Individuals with sleep disorders like snoring, sleep apnea, or periodic limb movement disorder could find it difficult to obtain enough sleep. Also, certain medical problems like asthma or psychiatric disorders like anxiety and depression can disrupt the normal sleep-wake cycle.

  1. Work Hours

Some occupations require certain work hours that could produce sleep deprivation.

  1. Stressful Situations

If you experience a sudden stressful situation in your life like losing or changing a job, moving to a new place, or losing a family member or close friend, you could face short-term or acute sleep deprivation.

  1. Age

Individuals older than 65 often experience sleep deprivation due to age-related health problems and aging. Older people often lack daytime physical activity, which could make it difficult for them to fall asleep at night.

  1. Environmental and Lifestyle Factors

Various environmental factors can disrupt sleep at night, such as:

  • Loud noise
  • Extreme hot or cold temperatures
  • Bright light

Certain lifestyle factors could stimulate your nervous system, delaying the onset of sleep. Smoking cigarettes or drinking coffee before bedtime are good examples.

How to Help with Sleep Deprivation

Sleep deprivation treatments vary based on its severity. Sometimes, your doctor might have you try self-care remedies first before recommending medication.

If you're struggling with mild sleep deprivation, you can try these simple strategies to help you obtain better quality sleep at night:

  • Avoid substances containing nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol, which all can interrupt your normal patterns of sleep.
  • Exercise a minimum of 20 to 30 minutes daily, a minimum of five hours before you go to bed. This should help you fall asleep later on.
  • Use natural techniques, such as taking a warm bath, or substances, like CBD, that can aid sleep.

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CBD (cannabidiol) is one of the primary compounds found in the cannabis plant. These compounds interact with your endocannabinoid system (ECS), helping your body maintain a state of stability and balance, or homeostasis. Research, along with anecdotal reports, show CBD could also help you obtain a good night's sleep.

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