Sleep Deprivation Symptoms and Risks


Sleep Deprivation Symptoms

Or Less Sleep = Becoming A More Productive Person?

Have you had a big project on the table or been launching a new company/product/department and opted to create more workable hours by forgoing sleep? It seems a simple equation you need several focused hours a day to get “this” done and the best way to accomplish “this” is to start earlier or stay up later, Right? If you have made this decision in the past or are contemplating it in the future, all indicators say you will actually lose productivity rather than gain it!

There are many known risks now associated with sleep deprivation symptoms both short and long term. Have you considered these when setting the alarm two hours earlier in the morning or waiting until the house is quiet at night and dragging those files out of the briefcase?

Research studies have been conducted regarding sleep, the amount required for each individual and the side effects associated with either too much or too little sleep. Each person has their own internal clock and the amount of sleep required for optimal functioning is varied based on those needs. However, it has been established that most require between 7-9 hours a night. Are you designing your day to fulfill this need on a regular basis?

The risks with sleep deprivation can be surprising and if you are a chronic night owl or up at the crack of dawn you may already be struggling with some of these. Right at the top of the list is the increased chance of heart disease or diabetes. Some other potential results from sleep deprivation symptoms are:

  • Obesity – More waking hours set off hunger messages and hence the need to eat
  • Increased car accidents – Lack of sleep decreases focus and motor function
  • Depression – Without the necessary REM sleep the body is not allowed to rest properly; hence chemical and hormonal levels are not in balance creating emotional instability
  • Increased risk for substance abuse – When depression becomes chronic, the sleep deprived seek alternative methods for mood elevation
  • Decreased ability to pay attention or react to outside stimulus – the reactive nature of bodily functions are slowed; as a result response time is affected
  • Inability to remember new information – not having enough sleep affects short memory and many important details are forgotten.

You can find more details about the long range impact of sleep deprivation symptoms in this article:

These are some of the methods which can help you move toward a more restful sleep and reduce the symptoms of sleep deprivation to enable becoming a more productive person:

  • Avoid caffeine at least 10 hours before bedtime.
  • Try to nod off quickly, meditation can often be helpful in this process
  • Sleep in a darkened room it helps prepare your brain for sleep; that means no TV or computer!
  • A restful environment and good, comfortable mattress are paramount for conducive sleep
  • Exploit power naps but limit them to only 10 to 20 minutes otherwise they affect your ability to sleep at night

Additionally, research has shown that certain foods actually assist in curtailing sleep depravation symptoms. They include:

  • Tea; specifically Chamomile, its contents act as a sedative and produce a calming effect.
  • Warm Milk; Yep, grandma was right!, contains tryptophan, an amino acid which behaves as a sedative.
  • Honey; the glucose in honey instructs the brain to turn off orexin, a neurotransmitter which produces alertness
  • Potatoes; clears away acids that interfere with production of tryptophan, the yawn inducer
  • Bananas; which contain magnesium a muscle relaxant along with melatonin and serotonin; all of these effect the body like a sleeping pill
  • Oatmeal; melatonin is also found in this food and it induces sleep
  • Almonds; contain both tryptophan & magnesium; sleep inducing & muscle relaxing all in one
  • Flax seeds; contain omega-3 fatty acids and are a natural mood lifter; so while you are yawning away you will be feeling great!
  • Whole Wheat Bread; releases insulin; which assists the voyage of tryptophan to the brain where it’s converted to serotonin which sends the messages of sleepiness
  • Turkey; best known source of tryptophan which encourages sleep like any sleeping pill

For a great bedtime snack try this recipe:

Provide your feedback or success tips toward the prevention of sleep deprivation symptoms by subscribing to my blog on the right!

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  1. mention

    Sometimes I catch that power nap you mention right at my laptop here; and when I do and wake up I have clicked somewhere or changed something on my page due to my “power nap.” They help, but then I give up and remove myself from my laptop altogether and go to sleep for the night. Sleep is important, and I wonder about people who say they can function on as little as four hours of sleep. I would have to believe there are other, and potentially more important issues going on that could have an adverse effect on their overall health.
    Saber recently posted..Comment on Your Living Will Is Important by Donna Thomas

  2. donna thomas says:

    Saber, I had to laugh as many times I too have had the head bob sitting in front of my pc.. I have not as yet actually fallen asleep and clicked a key along the way but it may one day happen…however the bigger picture for me personally, is why am I not listening to my body’s message telling me it’s time to sleep!! Researching this post has made me keenly aware of it’s importance!

  3. important

    Thanks Donna for the reminder of how sleep is so important to our health. And being on a schedule can actually help as well. I find that if I don’t get at least 7 hours of sleep, I am no good the next day or I am tired by mid day. I also enjoy working out every other day in the morning which is a great way to start. Thanks for the checklist you provide and especially the information about what you eat.

  4. contribute

    Wow this is a great reminder of how sleep or the lack of it can contribute to our over roll health. *Sleep in a darkened room it helps prepare your brain for sleep; that means no TV or computer! is a great tip for me as I spend a lot of time online that I forget to sleep. Learning the online tools is great but if the lack of sleep is contributing stress to everyday life then end results are the brain ain’t functioning right, loss on productivity and achieving goals. Thanks for the well researched topic and all the helpful tips:-)
    Rona MacFrland recently posted..My attractive traffic tips

  5. donna thomas says:

    Lynn, Glad you found the information helpful.. when I was doing my research I was flabbergasted to discover that BANANAS actually help promote sleep, never would have guessed! It appears you are managing your sleep quota effectively and I give you kudos for sticking to the schedule.

  6. donna thomas says:

    Rona, I have some of the same issues when it comes to sleep.. that last email that demands my attention and the newest webinar that I can’t miss. But I need to realize that going without only makes me less responsive, and less effective.. so 7-9 hours of bed rest is now a priority!

  7. another

    I have been “sleeping” on your post! So sorry! This was awesome, Donna! Great tips! I love potatoes so thanks for giving me another reason to tell my children why we need to eat potatoes! Lol! I have such bad sleeping habits but, it is what it is. Well written, loads of good information, and very interesting! Thank you for posting!
    Tracy Allen recently posted..3 Tips For Conducting Business Calls During The Holidays

  8. especially

    Tracy, I am guilty also of shorting the sleep equation but one of the things that helps me is that short power nap.. especially with kids, maybe an hour before they come home from school, prepare nice quiet dark room and set the alarm 15 minutes before they are due in the door, you have the chance to rest, get up do a little splash on the face, maybe a cup of coffee and you are refreshed to meet them with open arms!

  9. sometimes

    During my school days, sometimes I don’t get enough sleep because of insomnia. I was advised to drink warm milk before bedtime. It works, but not always. Thanks for sharing us this informative post about sleep deprivation and how to curtail it.
    Felicia recently posted..PokerStars SuperStar Showdown- Haxton to play against Isildur1

  10. unfortunately

    Felicia, thanks for your input. I have never been fond of warm milk but I am trying bananas lately and the first two nights did seem to help! Wish I knew more about poker but unfortunately I have never gained much skill in this arena. Tell me about your cat?
    Donna Thomas recently posted..Sleep Deprivation Symptoms and Risks

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