Sleep Deprivation: Is Your Mind and Body at Risk?


From 24-hour superstores to late night shifts, we are advancing toward a world that never sleeps. Today, approximately 30 percent of adults admit they are getting less than six hours of sleep per night. In addition to late night work and shopping options, the introduction of numerous electronic devices has created new ways to keep us up at night. What are these sleep habits costing us as a society? Discover the effects sleep deprivation has on our bodies.

What is Sleep Deprivation?

Sleep deprivation is a condition that stems from a consistent lack of sleep. This condition is a broad concept, occurring if you suffer from the following:

  • You don't get enough sleep.
  • You sleep at the wrong time of day.
  • You have a sleep disorder that is preventing you from getting enough sleep or causing poor quality sleep.
  • You don't sleep well.
  • You don’t experience all of the types of sleep that your body requires.

Symptoms of Sleep Deprivation?

The symptoms of sleep deprivation affect every individual differently; therefore, signs and symptoms will vary due to different schedules and habits.

Causes of Sleep Deprivation

As sleep deprivation has been continuously on the rise across America, research is pointing to the culprit responsible: electronics. With more than one in three adults getting less than seven hours of sleep per night, the National Sleep Foundation suggests the widespread usage of electronics before bed in the evening is to blame.

Signs and symptoms of sleep deprivation from UnityPoint Clinic.

Effects of Sleep Deprivation

Sleep insufficiency has been linked to occupational errors, unhealthy behaviors, disease and more. Learn about four main effects of sleep deprivation:

1. Physical Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, chronic diseases are becoming increasingly linked to insufficient sleep. Associated chronic diseases and conditions are:

  • Diabetes. Research suggests an increased risk for developing Type 2 diabetes due to sleep deprivation. Optimizing sleep quality and duration may improve blood sugar control for those with Type 2 diabetes.
  • Cardiovascular Disease. Those suffering from sleep deprivation are at an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, such as: hypertension, stroke, Coronary heart disease and irregular heart beats.
  • Obesity. Laboratory research has continued to show the link between short sleep durations and obesity.

2. Healthy Brain Function/Emotional Well-Being

As stated by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, sleep is what allows our brains to work efficiently. Too little sleep leaves us unable to concentrate, and we’re drowsy through the next day. In addition to drowsiness, sleep deprivation may lead to impaired memory and reduced physical performance.

3. Safety

Many studies show how sleep deprivation can be very dangerous and detrimental to not only your well-being but also to the well-being of others around you. According to the National Sleep Foundation, 1,550 deaths and 100,000 motor vehicle accidents occur each year due to driving while drowsy.

4. Daytime Performance

Sleep deprivation can lead to severe issues in your work environment. Approximately 63 percent of American adults have insufficient sleep throughout the work week.

Dr. James Meyer, pulmonologist at UnityPoint Clinic According to Dr. James Meyer, a UnityPoint Clinic pulmonologist, “There are many reasons why sleep is important. Sleep is restorative for the brain. Memory consolidation occurs during slow wave sleep, which means that different pieces of what we have learned during the day come together so that the knowledge can be accessed when needed. Insufficient sleep is associated with a higher incidence of behavioral problems. After a good sleep we make better and quicker decisions. Dreams can help us cope with emotional situations that occurred during the day such as jealousy, anger or grief, so we avoid these emotional situations turning into physical problems like high blood pressure, headaches or ulcers.”

How Much Sleep is Healthy?

The necessity of sleep varies between individuals, though generally adjusts as we age. As stated by the CDC:

  • School aged children need about 10 hours of sleep
  • Teens need about nine to 10.5 hours
  • Adults need approximately seven to eight hours

Are You Suffering from Sleep Deprivation?

UnityPoint Clinic is dedicated to you and your loved ones’ health and happiness. If you feel that you are suffering from sleep deprivation or any other sleep-related issues, talk to your primary care provider or send a message to your care team through the MyUnityPoint portal system.

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