Sleep deprivation is defined as having too little sleep for either a long or short period of time. When an individual sleeps the body repairs and refreshes itself. So if an individual is not getting enough sleep then the body suffers because it does not receive the proper amount of time to repair and refresh itself. How much sleep does an individual need? It depends on the person, but an average adult requires between seven and nine hours per night; however, studies show that individual’s in the United States indicate they sleep less than the required amount. Some people like to think they can “train” themselves to sleep less, this cannot be successfully accomplished – these people are sleep deprived.
Sleep deprivation can occur because of a nightmare, insomnia, stress due to family responsibilities or work, an undiagnosed medical condition, or an undiagnosed sleep disorder. Sleep deprivation can have serious effects on an individual’s health. Someone with sleep deprivation can cause an individual to be tired during the day, be unable to think clearly, memory lapses or loss, unable to make wise decisions or choices, unable to handle stress, irritability, blurry vision, clumsiness, headaches, yawning, and aching muscles. Studies show that sleep deprivation is responsible for a large percentage of lost production. Studies also indicate that sleep deprivation is responsible for accidents which occur in the workplace as well as accidents which occur on the nation’s roadways.
Study results show that there is an increased rate of mortality for adults who sleep less than seven hours per night. The long term affects of sleep deprivation can result in high blood pressure, heart attack, heart failure, stroke, obesity, injury from accident, depression, and poor quality of life.
Sleeplessness, though common in today’s society for many reasons, is not something that should be taken lightly and individuals should seek treatment. Some people know their reason(s) for sleeplessness. For example, an individual who is working full time and attending college will experience sleeplessness.
How do you treat sleeplessness? Consult a doctor. A doctor will ask questions about your lifestyle and sleep habits, they may also perform tests in an attempt to pinpoint the cause of an individual’s sleeplessness and determine if the cause is a sleep disorder. The doctor may request the individual suffering from sleeplessness keep a sleep diary to document medications taken during the day, stressful situations encountered during the day, what food was eaten during the day, and type of exercise if any which was done during the day, along with details of whether you had a good night or a bad night’s sleep.
An individual is usually required to keep a sleep diary for a month’s time. By keeping a sleep diary the medical professional, and even the individual experiencing sleeplessness, can look for perhaps find a pattern that will determine the cause of sleeplessness. Some individuals seek alternative treatment for sleeplessness such as hypnosis, relaxation therapy, or meditation.