How Sleep Deprivation Impacts Mental Health?
Sleep deprivation affects mental health. It can lead to long-term depression and anxiety. Consult with our Doctors if you are unable to have a good sleep. Contact our dedicated team at Koala® Centers For Sleep & TMJ Disorders or visit us online to book an appointment. We have convenient locations across the U.S. in Bloomington IL, Peoria/Dunlap IL, Mishawaka IN, Kansas City MO, El Paso TX, and Wausau WI.
Table of Contents:
How does sleep deprivation affect mental health?
What are the main effects of sleep deprivation?
What are the symptoms of severe sleep deprivation?
How long does it take to recover from sleep deprivation?
Sleep deprivation can cause all kinds of ailments, but mental health is most certainly highly affected by lack of sleep. Irritability, lack of focus, poor decision-making abilities, even slowed reactionary responses, such as reflexes and hand-eye coordination, are all severely impacted by quality and amount of sleep.
Prolonged sleep deprivation has long been associated with an increase in anxiety levels by adding unnecessary stress to the body. The body heals fastest while asleep by producing hormones; when deprived of this natural healing time the brain is the first affected. Short temperedness, and overly emotional reactions, are very common when sleep deprived, often leading to long-term depression and anxiety.
Waking up groggy, cranky, and tired are guaranteed when lacking sleep. The long-term effects of sleep deprivation are very real and can cause very severe reactions in the body and mind. Draining of mental abilities, and lack of physical strength are two of the most noticeable. However, many people don’t realize the impact it can have on the immune system as well, causing it to break-down and become weak, leaving you more susceptible to illness both short-term and long-term. Weight gain can also be a side effect, as well as high blood pressure, diabetes and even stroke. Sleep deprivation isn’t something to be taken lightly or to be ignored as it can lead to multiple health issues.
There are the obvious signs of sleep deprivation, such as excessive yawning, daytime fatigue and excessive sleepiness, but there are also many others too. Symptoms, such as irritability, lack of focus and motivation, are also quite common too. Memory issues, such as forgetfulness and ‘zoning out,’ are often reported as well as emotional problems, such as anxiety and depression. Changes in weight, such as weight gain or weight loss, can also indicate a state of sleep deprivation along with a loss or increase in overall appetite. Muscle fatigue and a feeling of overall weakness can also be noticed.
Less noticed and not as often reported symptoms can include high blood pressure, and irregular breathing which severely affects one’s overall health that can lead to long-term ailments. Excessive movement during sleep, as well as frequent waking are all commonly noted symptoms too. Irregular sleep-wake cycles are also a sign to watch for, and the ability to fall asleep and stay asleep.
The amount of sleep required by adults can vary from person to person, but typically the average adult requires 7-9 hours of sleep a night in order to maintain full mental and physical health.
As it turns out, recovering from sleep deprivation takes longer than one might think. The method of ‘catching up’ isn’t as effective as one might assume, as ‘make up’ sleep is harder to achieve than expected. Studies show that even getting 1-2 hours less of one’s regular sleep routine a night, for just a week, can cause significant sleep deprivation symptoms that can take longer than 10 days to recover from. So many people’s strategy of ‘catching up on the weekend’ isn’t going to work. Lifestyle and environmental changes can help. This includes reducing caffeine intake as well as sugars and processed foods, and alcohol. These combined efforts can all help the mind and body to heal quicker and removes some of the causes of sleep deprivation to begin with.
Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercises and yoga are great tools to help the body heal and return to a more normal sleep cycle. Removal of any unnecessary stressors and triggers can also have a positive effect too. Overall, one must not ever take sleep deprivation lightly and strive to take steps to avoid the condition.
Koala® Centers For Sleep & TMJ Disorders offers sleep deprivation treatment for patients.