What is Sleep Deprivation and What Can You Do About It?

couple sleeping peacefully

Sleep deprivation is a condition where you obtain less sleep than what you need to feel alert, awake, and focused throughout the day. Just about everybody at some point in their lives has experienced a poor night's sleep, but many say they don't obtain enough sleep regularly. And, this would indicate sleep deprivation is a serious problem. It affects millions of individuals in the U.S. every year, causing various consequences related to general well-being and health.

Sleep deprivation drains your mental capabilities, putting your physical health at a large risk. Science has associated poor sleep with all types of health issues from a weakened immune system to weight gain.

Causes of Sleep Deprivation

There are many reasons why sleep deprivation could occur, including:

  • Sleep disorders: These include sleep apnea, insomnia, restless legs syndrome, and narcolepsy.
  • Illness: Sleep deprivation can occur with chronic pain syndrome, depression, heart disease, cancer, stroke, schizophrenia, Alzheimer's disease, and Parkinson's disease.
  • Aging: Individuals who are over 65 years old have difficulty sleeping because of aging, health issues they're experiencing, or medicine they're taking.
  • Other factors: A lot of individuals experience sleep deprivation occasionally for other reasons, such as a change in their schedule, stress, or a new baby that disrupts their sleeping schedule.

Sleep professionals say a good sign of sleep deprivation is when you're feeling drowsy in the daytime. In fact, despite something being boring, you should still be alert while performing it if you're not deprived of sleep.

Also, if you often all asleep after lying down within five minutes, this could indicate severe sleep deprivation. Individuals with sleep deprivation can experience short sleep periods during waking time (micro sleeps). Often, sleep deprived individuals might not even realize they're experiencing these micro sleeps.

What You Can Do About Sleep Deprivation

There are various things you can do to help treat sleep deprivation, and enhance sleep.

  1. Relaxation Techniques

You can help calm your body with progressive muscle relaxation, which involves tensing and untensing various muscles in your body. Other techniques include:

  • Breathing exercises
  • Mindfulness training
  • Guided imagery
  • Meditation techniques

There are also audio recordings you can listen to at night to help you fall asleep.

  1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT is designed to help you realize and change your thought patterns behind specific behaviors. It helps challenge the beliefs that might not promote rational and positive thoughts, and are not healthy. It can help your body develop a healthier sleep pattern.

  1. CPAP

If you received a sleep apnea diagnosis, your physician might prescribe a special breathing device you'll use during sleep.

  1. Medications

When non-medicinal treatments aren't working effectively, medications are available to help you sleep. Some may require a prescription, while others you can get over-the-counter. Some examples of medicines that may help are:

  • Melatonin receptor antagonists
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Non-benzodiazepine hypnotics

But, there is the risk of forming a dependency on sleep medicines. It's essential you limit the dose, and when possible, try using non-medicinal methods.

  1. Stimulation Control

This is where you control pre-bedtime surroundings and activities to moderate your sleep pattern. For instance, you can control your stimulus by only spending time in bed when you feel sleepy. This controls the link between feeling ready for sleep, and being in bed.

  1. Use Natural Sleep Aids like a CBD Pillow

A CBD pillow is a great way of distributing cannabidiol (CBD) into your system safely. Some different reasons you'd want to use CBD are:

You absorb the CBD (comes from the cannabis and hemp plant) through your skin and hair follicles, where it gets into your system and stimulates your endocannabinoid system. Unlike sleep medicine or sleep pills, CBD doesn't cause you to feel tired or groggy the next morning. CBD pillows provide a micro-dose of CBD infused-oil throughout the night to keep you calm and relaxed while sleeping.

CBD is nature's all-natural and safe sleep aid.

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