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Deadly Signs of Sleep Deprivation

Posted On July 2, 2014
sleep deprivation
July 02, 2014

Do you constantly stare at your computer screen but your fingers don’t connect with the keyboard? Do you find yourself forgetting where you put your car keys, or walk into a room to retrieve an item you need but can’t recall what said item is or why you want it? Or have you safely arrived at your local pharmacy only to discover that you don’t recall making any of the turns to get there? Sound familiar? The above scenarios are some of the signs of sleep deprivation that can prove, if swept under the rug or ignored, to be deadly.

Signs of Sleep Deprivation

Try as we might, invariably, we do not sleep the recommended 7 to 9 hours to keep our minds and bodies healthy. On occasion, a night filled with tossing and turning is okay. Conditions such as insomnia, sleep apnea and other sleep disorders can prevent us from getting a good night of sound and restorative sleep. But unfortunately, if these issues evolve into chronic problems when left untreated, then lack of sleep can become life-threatening.

In the past, disasters have occurred and been attributed to sleep deprivation such as the Exxon Valdez oil spill, the Chernobyl nuclear accident and recently the Metro North crash. And then there is the hot topic in the news, drowsy driving and piloting airplanes, with much debate about whether or not there should be regulations about sleep apnea testing.

Granted, lack of sleep can make us moody and grumpy but it can also impair judgment and decrease reflexes. These two effects from sleep deprivation can almost equal having a blood alcohol level of 0.05 percent. Lack of sleep can also put a person at an increased risk for high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and obesity. Recently a study was published that connected sleep deprivation to lowered immunity due to an inflammatory response.

Over the years, many studies have confirmed the link between sleep deprivation and depression, whereby sleep deprivation can cause depression as well as depression leading to lack of sleep. However, in 2013, a study published in Translational Psychiatry discovered that acute sleep deprivation in rats actually elevated mood.

What Can You Do?

If you are plagued by a night or two of less than stellar sleep, there are a couple of tips to get you back on track.

  • Avoid caffeinated beverages at least 3 hours before bed time.
  • Create a bed haven, free of distractions, especially electronic gadgets.
  • Establish a relaxation routine, where you start getting in the mood to go to sleep.

If these tips don’t help and sleep deprivation becomes a chronic problem, seek help before more issues develop.

If you have trouble sleeping or think you have sleep apnea, please contact one of our medical concierges today at 1-855-863-4537 to schedule a free consultation.

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About Phoebe Ochman

Phoebe Ochman, Director of Communications for Sleep Apnea Treatment Centers of America, manages all content and communications for the company.
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