Suffering from sleep deprivation? What are the consequences and the solutions?

Sleep is necessary for life. Your body needs to be able to recover and relax. A good night’s sleep is important for physical recovery as well as mental recovery. It stimulates the connections between the brain cells, increasing your staying power. In this blog article, you can read more about the causes and consequence of sleep deprivation and what you can do about it.

Causes of sleep deficiency

Sleep deficiency, also called sleep deprivation, is usually the result of a combination of factors. A distinction can be made between two major causes of sleep deprivation:

1. Not enough sleep

Adults need approximately 7 to 8 hours of sleep on average. There is no fixed standard for the number of hours of sleep that someone needs; it differs from one person to the next. Some people (called short sleepers) need only 5 hours of sleep, while long sleepers need 10 hours.

If your biological clock is disturbed, for example by working shifts or by jet lag, this leads to a disturbed sleep-wake cycle. Then you find it difficult to wake up, stay awake, go to sleep or sleep soundly.

You build up a sleep deficit. Each night’s sleep deficit adds to previous sleep deficits. This leads to a sleep debt, which is not easy to make up. Not getting enough sleep during the week, for example, cannot be made up by sleeping longer at the weekend.

2. Poor sleep

Poor sleep is also a major cause of sleep deprivation. A lot depends on the depth of you sleep. If your sleep is less deep, you night’s rest will not be as good. Sleep is necessary for living well. Your body needs to be able to recover and relax. This involves not only physical recovery (in particular muscles, joints and organs), but also mental recovers (while you are not consciously awake).

Possible causes of poor sleep:

  • Stress, worrying, or not being able to calm down enough before going to bed
  • Physical complaints, such as back pain or breathing problems
  • Sleep disorders, such as sleep apnoea
  • Smoking, alcohol, drinking a lot of coffee or eating a heavy meal before going to bed
  • Poor sleep environment, such as noise hindrance, light in the room, a bad bed or a bad mattress

sleep deprivation consequences and solutions

What is chronic sleep deprivation?

Occasionally not being able to sleep well one night is not so bad. That mainly has consequences for the next day. You feel tired, cannot concentrate as well, or are a bit irritable. But if you persistently don’t get enough sleep, you accumulate a sleep debt. That leads to chronic sleep deprivation. This is difficult to recover from, and it must be taken seriously. It is a risk factor for certain illnesses.

Consequences of sleep deprivation

With regard to the consequence or symptoms of sleep deprivation, there is a distinction between short-term and long-term (chronic) sleep deprivation.

Consequences of short-term sleep deprivation

  • Tired feeling
  • Lack of energy
  • Frequent yawning
  • Being irritable
  • Poorer ability to concentrate
  • Headache

Consequences of chronic sleep deprivation

  • Memory and concentration problems
  • Lack of energy
  • Worse mood, mood changes
  • Degraded ability to speak
  • Slower response time
  • Headache
  • Impaired immune system
  • High blood pressure
  • Depression
  • Skin ageing
  • Higher chance of heart problems
  • Higher risk of developing diabetes

How to solve sleep deprivation

In order to solve sleep deprivation, it is important that you discover the cause. If you don’t tackle the cause, the sleep deprivation can persist and your sleep problem will get steadily worse. If stress, for example, is the cause of your sleep deprivation, you need to work on reducing the stress, such as reading a good book before going to bed or doing sports for an hour to clear your head. Then your sleep deprivation will decline.

It’s important to pay attention to good sleep hygiene. This means that you give attention to things that have a positive influence on your sleep and avoid things that have a negative influence on your sleep. A regular sleep pattern is a crucial part of this. You can achieve this by going to bed and getting up around the same time every day. If you deviate too much from your sleep pattern, that can disrupt your internal clock. Not doing anything strenuous shortly before going to bed, and avoiding caffeine or heavy meals in the evening, are also useful tips. You should also sleep in a dark, calm bedroom and in a good bed.

sleep deprivation sleep hygiene

Are you fighting with sleep deprivation due to a bad bed or a poor mattress? The Dorsoo ACTIVE+ sleep system is the solution to this. Thanks to the hydraulic bed base and the flexible mattress that moves smoothly with it, you are guaranteed a more comfortable and ergonomic sleep. Scientific tests prove that you toss and turn at night 45% less on a Dorsoo ACTIVE+ sleep system. Thanks to uniform pressure distribution and a comfortable mattress, your muscles relax fully so you can sleep deeper.

Sleeping pills may look like an easy solution to sleeping problems. However, studies (Cochrane, 2012) have shown that this medication only works temporarily. Habituation occurs after only one month, with the result that the dose must be repeatedly increased. Sleeping pills also reduce the depth of sleep, and thus the quality of sleep. In addition, they are addictive.

Are you unable to find a cause for your sleep deprivation? Do you think there is an underlying medical cause? Or are you afraid of the consequences of sleep deprivation? In such case, you should consult your family doctor.