My bed is a magical place, it’s where I suddenly remember everything I was supposed to do today!
Acute sleep deprivation is also known as sleep insufficiency or sleeplessness. It is the condition of not getting the proper amount of sleep that your body requires to support alertness, performance, and health.
In my case, it’s mostly self-induced behavior, but a person’s profession “which I’m all too familiar with from previous jobs,” can cause this too.
Now, this doesn’t mean you need to panic just because you lost an hour of sleep last night, I’m talking about frequent or prolonged sleeplessness.
For most people, a few hours of lost sleep isn’t a cause for concern.
Causes of Acute Sleep Deprivation
The most common cause of acute sleep deprivation is poor sleeping habits, not allowing an individual to get the right amount of sleep that the body requires.
There are many reasons a person’s quality of life can be disrupted and sleep loss is one of those reasons. This can be due to excessive working hours, active leisure, or if you’re like me, just downright stubbornness to put it bluntly. If you don’t believe me just ask my darling wife!
Some professions such as medical, security, and transportation require nighttime hours expecting their employees to sleep less and produce more.
Many other jobs require a lot of overtime and can have tragic results. The good news is there are some businesses today that are starting to realize this and are making appropriate changes to correct the problem.
The bad news is that many employers still haven’t figured it out. ” I could name a few! ” but I won’t.
Another group of sleep-deprived people who suffer from Acute sleep deprivation is the party crowd who enjoy staying up late, playing hard, and dancing the night away until the wee hours of the morning.
Although this is a fun way to blow off steam and forget about the stress and everyday problems it probably isn’t the best answer. ” OK, dad!” Yep, I had to go there! Just call me the party pooper!
“Well, I think I’ve made my point so we should probably move on to the next topic before I lose my audience!”
How Common is Sleep Deprivation?
Sleep deprivation is very common. In a US report, it was reported that 35% of adults get 7 hours of sleep or less in 24 hours.
73% of High school students here in the US report getting less than 8 hours of sleep during the school week.
58% of students in middle school here in the US reported getting less than 9 hours of sleep.
Is this good quality sleep for these age groups?
The National Sleep Foundation recommends that the following age groups are different for each age group.
- Newborns 0-3 months14-17 hours of sleep including naps
- Older infants 4-11 months12-15 hours of sleep each night
- toddlers 1-2 years11-14 hours of sleep each night
- children 3-5 years10-13 hours of sleep each night
- kids 6-13 years9-11 hours of sleep each night
- teenagers 14-17 years8-10 hours of sleep each night
- adults 18-64 years7-9 hours of sleep each night
- eight older adults 65 and up7-8 hours of sleep each night
Stages of Sleep Deprivation
STAGE 1 after 24 hours of no sleep may cause :
- dark circles under the eyes
- puffy eyes
- impaired concentration
- increased stress
- decreased alertness
- reduce coordination
- increase the risk of mistakes or accidents
- food cravings
Stage 2 after 36 hours of no sleep :
At this point, you begin to experience more intense symptoms. You’ll have an overwhelming urge to sleep which can cause you to drift off unexpectedly for a brief time like during tasks at home, work, or driving down the road. Your brain begins having difficulty communicating with its different parts severely impairing your cognitive performance causing symptoms like:
- increased appetite
- impaired memory
- behavioral changes
- difficulty learning new information
- impaired decision-making
- difficulty processing social cues
- slow reaction time
- increased errors
- extreme fatigue
- impaired immune function
Stage 3 after 48 hours :
Well, this is known as extreme sleep deprivation. If you are making it to this point you may want to consult your doctor because this goes past acute sleep deprivation or you’re just a glutton for punishment.
Possible side effects:
- extreme fatigue
- stress levels increase
- increased irritability
Is Sleep Deprivation an Epidemic in the United States?
Sleep deprivation has become a huge problem in the United States, in 2013 a Gallop poll found that 40% of Americans get less than 7 hours of sleep a night, that’s 2/5 of the population not getting the recommended hours of sleep.
Experts agree that drowsiness has become an epidemic here in the U.S.A. It has become such a huge problem that the CDC has declared it a public health epidemic.
- 23.2% of Americans have reported concentration problems during the day.
- 11.3% reported interference in their driving due to lack of sleep.
- 8.6% reported lack of sleep affecting their job performance.
Sleep deprivation costs the American economy $62.3 billion per year in lost productivity according to a scientist from Harvard.
I’m just giving you a peek at all the damage caused by sleep disorder to give you an idea of how important it is to get the sleep your body requires.
Now that we all know what acute sleep deprivation is, we should know that depriving ourselves of sleep probably isn’t a good idea and should be avoided if possible.
We can’t do much about the boss demanding the long hours unless we quit our jobs and well obviously we can’t all do that. Other unavoidable reasons come up also that are out of our control and well we lose sleep.
Everyone enjoys a night out partying and dancing but maybe we should be a little more respectful of ourselves and return home earlier than we normally do and give our bodies the well-earned rest it deserves. It’s entirely up to you.
If anyone has any questions or comments feel free to comment below and make sure you sign up to receive emails, so you can keep up with the latest articles. let’s all work on getting our sleep patterns for our health and the health of others including our countries overall health.