What would happen if you were constantly sleep deprived?

sleep deprived - worldishealthy

Being sleep deprived is defined as not getting enough sleep overall. Chronic sleep restriction manifests as excessive daytime sleepiness, fatigue, clumsiness, and weight gain or loss in individuals. Additionally, the brain and cognitive function are both impacted by sleep deprivation.

It’s interesting to note that in a small number of situations, sleep deprivation can actually improve mood, alertness, and energy levels. The effects of acute total sleep deprivation and chronic partial sleep restriction have not been compared in many studies, and total sleep deprivation over extended periods of time has not been investigated in humans. Having said that, prolonged complete sleep deprivation led to the death of lab animals.

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Signs that indicate sleep deprivation among adults:

  • Constant yawning
  • The propensity to nod off after being inactive for a while, such as while watching television
  • Fatigue upon awakening in the morning
  • Sleepy and groggy throughout the day (sleep inertia)
  • Lack of focus and mood swings (more irritable).
  • Major sleep deprivation symptoms in children:
  • Children are more vulnerable to the effects of sleep deprivation than adults. Children who are sleepy often speed up rather than slow down. These signs include:
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Throwing tantrums
  • the propensity to “explode” emotionally when provoked even slightly
  • Hyperactive and excessively active behaviour
  • Daytime snooze
  • Fuzziness upon awakening in the morning
  • Reluctance in the morning to get out of bed.

The major causative factors that can lead to sleep deprivation:

Health illness: 

Snoring, gagging, and frequent awakenings are all symptoms of illnesses like colds and tonsillitis, which also have a direct impact on sleep by fragmenting it.

Work related choices:

People who work shifts frequently experience disruptions in their sleep and wake cycles. Regular travellers also frequently have irregular sleeping patterns, such as airline crew.

Sleep disorders:

Sleep disturbances caused by issues like sleep apnea, snoring, and periodic limb movement disorder can occur frequently throughout the course of the night.


Several environmental factors, such as an uncomfortable temperature in the bedroom, obtrusive neighbours, or a partner who snores, can interfere with sleep.

Poor sleep hygiene:

Some people have bad habits, like drinking coffee or smoking right before bed, which stimulates the nervous system and prevents sleep. Another issue is worrying while lying in bed rather than unwinding.

What would happen if you are constantly sleep deprived?

Say someone only gets six hours of the eight they require each night. This two-hour sleep loss may have a significant effect, such as:

  • Reduced alertness
  • Reduced duration of attention
  • Slower reaction time than usual
  • Poor judgment
  • Decreased awareness of the surroundings and circumstances
  • Reduced capacity for making decisions
  • A worse memory
  • Decrease in concentration
  • Increased propensity for mental “stalling” or fixation on a single idea
  • Increased likelihood of depression and irritability
  • Decreased productivity
  • Decline in motivation
  • Making a mistake by failing to do something is known as an omission error.
  • Errors of commission are mistakes made by doing something but selecting the incorrect course of action.
  • Microsleep is a term used to describe brief, involuntary periods of sleep that can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes.

How can lack of sleep impact children?

Selected data from studies on the effects of sleep loss on children and teenagers include:

  • Lack of sleep contributes to a variety of academic issues, such as misbehaviour and lack of focus.
  • Teenagers who lack sleep frequently are more likely to struggle with impulse control, which encourages risk-taking behaviours.

Teenagers who have sleep issues run a higher risk of developing conditions like depression and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Consult the specialist to undergo sleep disorder treatment to restore the quality of life.

Effects of lack of sleep related to health:

Immune system: 

Lack of sleep may make a person more vulnerable to respiratory illnesses and infections, which may take longer to heal.


The hormones that regulate hunger and fullness feelings are influenced by sleep. It may also cause the insulin to be released. Increased fat storage, changes in body weight, and a higher risk of type 2 diabetes can all be results of sleep changes.

Cardiovascular system:

Sleep has an impact on the mechanisms that keep blood pressure, sugar levels, and inflammation under control as well as on the healing and rebuilding of the heart vessels. Cardiovascular disease risk may be increased by getting insufficient sleep.

Hormone levels:

Hormone production, including the production of testosterone and growth hormones, can be impacted by insufficient sleep. Additionally, it triggers the body to release more stress hormones like cortisol and norepinephrine.


The prefrontal cortex, which manages reasoning, and the amygdala, which manages emotion, are both impacted by lack of sleep. A person’s ability to create new memories may be hampered by lack of sleep, which can impact learning.

Are both sleep deprivation and insomnia same?

Although getting insufficient sleep is a common factor in both insomnia and sleep deprivation, many sleep scientists distinguish between the two. Even when they have plenty of time to sleep, people with insomnia have trouble falling asleep. People with sleep deprivation, on the other hand, don’t have enough time set aside for sleep as a result of behaviour choices or daily obligations.

People who are sleep deprived due to a hectic work schedule typically have no trouble sleeping for longer on weekends in an effort to “catch up” on sleep, which serves as an example of this difference. However, a person with insomnia finds it difficult to fall asleep even when given the chance.

Although sleep deprivation and insomnia can often be described similarly, patients should be aware that their insomnia doctor may use more precise terminology. 

Diagnostic procedures that can help in identifying sleep deprivation:

By talking about a patient’s symptoms and sleep patterns, insomnia psychiatrists can frequently identify sleep deprivation. This could entail looking over a sleep diary or completing a sleep questionnaire that provides a thorough examination of sleep patterns and daytime symptoms.

If more information is required or if a sleep specialist doctor has reason to believe that the patient may be suffering from an underlying sleep disorder, additional testing using the sleep tracking technology known as actigraphy or an overnight sleep study may occasionally be carried out. Depending on the diagnosis, sleep deprived treatment is recommended.

Additionally, getting at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night is a good idea. Your body will be able to reset itself thanks to this. Recovery from a sleep deprivation episode can take days or weeks. It takes four days to recover from losing just one hour of sleep. Reach out to a psychiatrist in coimbatore in case you are dealing with sleep issues.