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  • 5 Causes of Sleep Deprivation You Should Know About

    6 min read

    An african black women with puppy in her hands

    5 Causes of Sleep Deprivation You Should Know About

    People often say, "I don't need 8 hours of sleep," we hear this from friends, family and in many cases celebrities too.


    For some reason, being sleep-deprived seems to mean getting more done or excelling at your job as you are putting in more time. However, Matthew Paul Walker, professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, stated that.


    "You are more likely to have a heart attack when not getting enough sleep. Getting just 1 hour less sleep a night resulted in a 24% increased risk of a heart attack."  


    This is just one of many health risks tied to the sleep deprivation. 


    Quality sleep is essential to good health, yet in our modern times, many of us knowingly and consistently deprive ourselves of sleep for no valid reason.


    Sleep deprivation is a growing concern among individuals of all ages and can significantly impact our health, well-being, and daily functioning.


    We all know through experience that insufficient sleep has a negative effect on us, yet sleep is often the one thing we are prepared to sacrifice to get ahead in life. 

    Strictly speaking, this is a bad practice because sleep deprivation affects mental acuity and motor skills.


    Preventing sleep deprivation is simple if you know how but in some cases, you may need the support of your family to achieve this objective. You may even need medical intervention to get back to normal.


    Various factors can cause sleep deprivation. We have listed five common causes of sleep deprivation that you should know about.

    A women with her kids and dog sleeping on the bed in the Thula Tula blanket

    Poor sleep habits and Sleep Deprivation 

    If you are not getting enough sleep due to staying up late or waking up too early, this can lead to sleep deprivation.


    Poor sleep habits can also include irregular sleep schedules and inconsistent bedtime routines. 


    Poor sleeping habits can contribute to sleep deprivation in several ways that, include:

    • Inadequate sleep duration: Individuals who consistently fail to get the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep per night are at risk of sleep deprivation. This can occur due to staying up too late, waking up too early, or simply needing to prioritize sleep.
    • Inconsistent sleep schedule: Irregular sleep patterns, which include staying up late on weekends or sleeping in, can disrupt the body's natural sleep-wake cycle. This can make it difficult to fall asleep at night and wake up in the morning, leading to sleep deprivation.
    • Lack of a bedtime routine: For a consistent bedtime routine, we suggest taking a warm bath, reading a book, or meditating, which can help signal the body that it's time to sleep. A bedtime routine can make falling asleep and remaining asleep throughout the night easier.
    • Use of electronic devices: Exposure to the blue light emitted by electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets, and computers can disrupt the body's production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep. This can make it harder to fall asleep and lead to sleep deprivation.

    Poor sleep habits can disrupt the body's natural sleep-wake cycle, interfere with producing sleep-inducing hormones, and make it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night. 


    This can result in chronic sleep deprivation and its associated adverse health effects.

    a women sleeping with hand on her shoulder and wearing blanket

    Medical conditions and Sleep deprvation

    Sleep deprivation can be caused by medical conditions such as sleep apnea, insomnia, restless leg syndrome, or other sleep disorders.


    Medical conditions can contribute to sleep deprivation in several ways. 

    Some of the most common medical conditions that can cause sleep deprivation include:

    • Sleep apnea is a disorder characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep, which can lead to frequent waking and disrupted sleep.
    • Insomnia is when a person has difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. Various factors, including stress, anxiety, depression, or other underlying medical conditions, can cause insomnia.
    • Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is characterized by uncomfortable sensations in the legs that make it difficult to fall or stay asleep.
    • Chronic pain: Conditions such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, and other chronic pain conditions can make it difficult to get comfortable enough to fall asleep or stay asleep throughout the night.
    • Neurological disorders: Conditions such as Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease can disrupt sleep patterns and lead to sleep deprivation.

    Medical conditions that interfere with the body's ability to fall or stay asleep can contribute to sleep deprivation. 


    This can adversely affect physical and mental health, including increased risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, depression, and anxiety. 


    It is important to address underlying medical conditions to improve sleep quality and reduce the risk of sleep deprivation.

    a women is sleeping on the bed in sick condition

    Stress and sleep deprivation

    Anxiety and stress can lead to difficulty falling or staying asleep, resulting in sleep deprivation‚ÄĒstress from work, relationships, or other personal issues.


    Stress can contribute to sleep deprivation in several ways. When we experience stress, our bodies release hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline, which can interfere with our ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. 


    Stress can also lead to the following:

    • Racing thoughts: Stressful thoughts and worries can keep our minds active, making it difficult to relax and fall asleep.
    • Insomnia: Chronic stress can lead to insomnia, characterized by difficulty falling or staying asleep.
    • Nightmares: Stress can also lead to vivid, disturbing dreams and nightmares, interrupting sleep and contributing to sleep deprivation.
    • Sleep disorders: Stress can worsen sleep disorders such as sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome, leading to further sleep disturbances.

    Chronic stress can make it difficult to relax and fall asleep, leading to sleep deprivation and its associated adverse health effects. 

    It is important to address underlying sources of stress, such as work, relationships, or personal issues, to improve sleep quality and reduce the risk of sleep deprivation. 


    This can include techniques such as relaxation exercises, meditation, or therapy.

    A women sleeping in stress by putting her hands on the face

    Environmental factors and sleep deprivation

    Noise, light, and other environmental factors can disrupt sleep and cause sleep deprivation. 


    For example, loud neighbors, a snoring partner, or a bright bedroom can all interfere with sleep quality. 


    Environmental factors can contribute to sleep deprivation by interfering with our ability to fall and stay asleep. 


    Some common environmental factors that can contribute to sleep deprivation include:

    • Noise: Loud or persistent noise can make it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep throughout the night. This can include traffic noise, noisy neighbors, or snoring partners.
    • Light:Exposure to light, particularly the blue light emitted by electronic devices, can interfere with the body's production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep. This can make it harder to fall asleep and lead to sleep deprivation.
    • Temperature: Extreme temperatures, whether too hot or cold, can make it difficult to get comfortable enough to fall asleep or stay asleep throughout the night.
    • Uncomfortable bedding or pillows: Uncomfortable bedding or pillows can also interfere with sleep quality, making it difficult to get comfortable enough to fall asleep or stay asleep throughout the night.
    • Sleep environment: Factors such as a cluttered or disorganized bedroom, uncomfortable mattress or bedding, or a room that is too bright or noisy can all contribute to sleep deprivation.

    Environmental factors can significantly affect sleep quality and contribute to sleep deprivation. 


    It is essential to create a sleep-conducive environment that is quiet, dark, cool, and comfortable to promote good sleep hygiene and reduce the risk of sleep deprivation. 


    This can include using earplugs or a white noise machine to block out noise, keeping the bedroom dark, and investing in comfortable bedding and pillows.

    Substance use and sleep deprivation

    Consuming alcohol, caffeine, or other stimulants close to bedtime can interfere with the body's ability to fall asleep.

     

    Certain medications can also cause sleep disturbances and contribute to sleep deprivation. 


    Substance use can contribute to sleep deprivation in several ways. Here are some of the most common substances that can interfere with sleep:

    • Caffeine: Caffeine is a stimulant that can interfere with the body's ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. Consuming caffeine, particularly in the afternoon or evening, can disrupt the body's natural sleep-wake cycle and contribute to sleep deprivation.
    • Alcohol: While alcohol may initially make you feel drowsy and help you fall asleep faster, it will disrupt sleep quality and cause frequent waking throughout the night. This can contribute to sleep deprivation and its associated adverse health effects.
    • Nicotine: Nicotine is a stimulant that can interfere with the body's ability to fall and stay asleep. Smoking or using other nicotine-containing products before bedtime can contribute to sleep deprivation.
    • Prescription medications:Some prescription medications, including certain antidepressants, painkillers, and stimulants, can interfere with sleep and contribute to sleep deprivation.
    • Illicit drugs: Illicit drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamine can interfere with sleep and contribute to sleep deprivation.

    Substance use can significantly disrupt sleep quality and contribute to sleep deprivation. 


    Limiting or avoiding using substances that interfere with sleep is crucial, particularly in the hours leading up to bedtime. This can promote good sleep hygiene and reduce the risk of sleep deprivation.


    It's essential to recognize the underlying causes of sleep deprivation and take steps to address them to get the restful sleep that our bodies need.


    If you're experiencing sleep deprivation, consider talking to your healthcare provider for further advice and guidance on improving your sleep habits.

    Other sleep deprivation related blogs to enjoy


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