What are the most common causes of sleep deprivation?
First let’s take a short look at what sleep deprivation is. It is an acute or chronic lack of sleep, acute being a severe shortage of sleep and chronic being a persistent, long lasting, recurring lack of sleep.
Acute sleep deprivation comes on suddenly and may last days or even weeks, but no longer than six months. In most cases it will disappear when the underlying cause is eliminated. Some underlying causes may be easy to fix, while others can be a little more complicated.
Take for instance your room being to hot or to cold – for a cold room you may wish to put an extra blanket on your bed, or tun up the heat a little or even invest in a heated blanket, while your room being to hot could be due to an extra blanket or the heat being to high.
These are simple things to fix. But what about other problems like heartburn? This may be a little more complicated, as it could turn out to be a medical problem, and could involve some visits to the doctor and also mean the addition of medication.
Chronic deprivation is a different matter altogether and can be very difficult to figure out, it could be related to stress, mental problems or an undiagnosed sleep problem.
Other causes of sleep deprivation are:
- Too much caffeine or alcohol. While caffeine can keep you awake some people think alcohol can put you to sleep, however an alcohol induced sleep does not last, research suggests you avoid both at least four hours before bed.
- Pain, this can either keep you awake or wake you up intermittently, and an interrupted sleep is almost as bad as no sleep at all.
- Another culprit is restless leg syndrome, characterized by throbbing, creeping or other unpleasant sensations that are uncontrollable and interfere with sleep as you have an overwhelming urge to move.
- Sleep apnea is a common disorder that interferes with sleep as your breathing repeatedly stops and starts. The most common type of sleep apnea occurs when throat muscles do not keep the airway open, so enough air can not get to the lungs causing pauses in your breathing thus waking you. However another type occurs when your brain fails to send the signal to your muscles that control your breathing, again waking you. Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that needs medical attention if you are ever going to get a good nights sleep.