Current guidelines suggest healthy adults should aim for seven to eight hours of sleep each night. According to healthcare experts, sleep deprivation is defined as a failure to obtain sufficient total sleep. Sleep deprivation has a cumulative effect, and individuals vary in how little sleep it takes to feel sleep-deprived. For example, one person may feel sleep-deprived after six hours of sleep, and another might only feel sleep-deprived after two or three hours of sleep. Sleep deprivation is associated with increased risks for obesity, type II diabetes, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease. Insufficient sleep weakens the immune system, and sleep-deprived patients do not respond as well to vaccines as individuals who have had sufficient sleep. Sleep deprivation is also associated with kidney disease, stroke, and increased signs of skin aging. Patients struggling with sleep issues may want to see a sleep specialist for advice. The specialist will ask about the patient’s sleep routines and sleeping environment, and the patient might be asked to participate in a sleep study to check for underlying medical conditions that could be affecting sleep quality and duration.
The major symptoms of sleep deprivation are discussed below.
Yawning And Fatigue
Yawning and fatigue are both signs of insufficient sleep, and these can occur after even just one night of poor sleep. For example, patients might find themselves yawning on their commute to work or at the office the next day, and they may yawn more frequently as the day progresses. Fatigue can make patients feel groggy, and it is often difficult for patients to stay awake throughout work. After a night of poor sleep, it is common for individuals to feel like they need to take a nap during the day to catch up on sleep. Both yawning and fatigue increase with each successive night of poor sleep, and fatigue is known to impair coordination. This could increase a patient’s risk for motor vehicle accidents, trips, and falls. Patients who experience fatigue that is not relieved by a few nights of sufficient sleep should see a doctor to check for underlying health issues. While fatigued, patients might want to use public transportation if possible, and it could also help to avoid operating heavy machinery during this time.
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