Lack of Sleep

Lack of Sleep: Overview

Sleep is essential for staying healthy.  When a lack of sleep is suspected, it may require a determined effort to get more.  The effort, however, is worth it since life is more enjoyable when you feel refreshed.  If a sleep deficit is chronic, it may take many weeks of adequate sleep to fully recover.

Causes and Development

Lack of sleep can occur a number of ways.  Total sleep deprivation is complete absence of sleep.  Partial is insufficient sleep night after night.  Sleep can also appear to be sufficient in amount yet be poor in quality.  This occurs with sleep apnea, marked by heavy snoring and occasional gasps for air – the person is awakened often hundreds of times a night without knowing it, gulping air due to a closed airway in the throat.

Signs and Symptoms

Sleep deprivation symptoms include irritability, fatigue, blurred vision, slurring of speech, memory lapses, and inability to concentrate.  In extreme stages bizarre behavior and hallucinations can occur.

Diagnosis and Tests

A common measure of sleep deficit uses the Epworth Sleepiness Scale.  Score your answers to the eight questions below as follows:

0 = no chance of dozing
1 = slight chance of dozing
2 = moderate chance of dozing
3 = high chance of dozing
  • Sitting and reading
  • Watching TV
  • Sitting inactive in a public place (e.g.  a theater or a meeting)
  • As a passenger in a car for an hour without a break
  • Lying down to rest in the afternoon when circumstances permit
  • Sitting and talking to someone
  • Sitting quietly after a lunch without alcohol
  • In a car, while stopped for a few minutes in traffic
...and add the total score.

If your score is 1-6, you are getting enough sleep; 7-8 is common but 9 or more means you should think about seeking the advice of a sleep specialist.

Complications

In a February, 2011 study published in European Heart Journal it was reported that researchers at the University of Warwick have linked a lack of sleep to a range of disorders which often result in early death.  This major long-term study followed over 470,000 patients in 8 countries for between 7 and 25 years.

According to this research, the current trend of late nights and early mornings creates chronic lack of sleep, which in turn produces hormones and chemicals in the body that increase the risk of developing heart disease, strokes and other conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and obesity.

Lack Of Sleep

Information On This Page

Signs, symptoms & indicators of Lack of Sleep:

Symptoms - Head - Eyes/Ocular

Dark areas under eyes is often a sign or symptom of Lack of SleepDark areas under eyes
Fatigue will add to the problem of dark circles under the eyes.
Bags under eyes is often a sign or symptom of Lack of SleepBags under eyes
Being tired will add to the problem of bags under the eyes.

Symptoms - Mind - General

Symptoms - Muscular

Symptoms - Sleep

Conditions that suggest Lack of Sleep:

Allergy

Circulation

Coronary Disease / Heart Attack may suggest Lack of SleepCoronary Disease / Heart Attack
If you sleep less than six hours per night and have disturbed sleep you stand a 48% greater chance of developing or dying from heart disease.
Stroke may suggest Lack of SleepStroke
If you sleep less than six hours per night and have disturbed sleep you stand a 15% greater chance of developing or dying from a stroke.

Hormones

Lab Values

Laboratory Test Needed

Elevated Insulin Levels may suggest Lack of SleepElevated Insulin Levels
A study found that people who do not get enough sleep on a regular basis may become less sensitive to insulin which, over time, can raise the risk of obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes.  Chronic sleep deprivation (under 6.5 hours per night) had the same effect on insulin resistance as aging.

Mental

Metabolic

Susceptibility To Hangovers often suggests Lack of SleepSusceptibility To Hangovers
Lack of sleep increases susceptibility to hangovers.

Organ Health

Risk factors for Lack of Sleep:

Diet

Caffeine Intoxication may increase risk of Lack of SleepCaffeine Intoxication
It almost goes without saying that coffee decreases the quality of sleep and is one of the leading causes of sleep disturbance.  Coffee drinkers are sleepier and groggier than non-coffee drinkers when they get up in the morning, causing them to depend on coffee to get them going.  This grogginess may be the result of their entering caffeine withdrawal during the night, or that drinking coffee kept them from sleeping well in the first place, or both.

Symptoms - Sleep

Counter-indicators:

Lack of Sleep suggests the following may be present:

Metabolic

Counter-indicators:

Lack of Sleep can lead to:

Laboratory Test Needed

Lack of Sleep often leads to Elevated Insulin LevelsElevated Insulin Levels
A study found that people who do not get enough sleep on a regular basis may become less sensitive to insulin which, over time, can raise the risk of obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes.  Chronic sleep deprivation (under 6.5 hours per night) had the same effect on insulin resistance as aging.

Lack of Sleep could instead be:

Mental

Schizophrenia is very occasionally misdiagnosed as Lack of SleepSchizophrenia
In extreme stages bizarre behavior and hallucinations can arise from lack of sleep.

Recommendations for Lack of Sleep:

Diet

Habits

Increased Sleep is highly recommended for Lack of SleepIncreased Sleep
By ensuring that you have about 7-8 hours' sleep a night, you will protect your future health and reduce the risk of developing various chronic illnesses.

Hormone

Melatonin may help with Lack of SleepMelatonin
Melatonin improves the quality of sleep.

Physical Medicine

Massage may help with Lack of SleepMassage
Researchers at the University of Miami School of Medicine found that massage is helpful for improving alertness and performance in office workers.

KEY

Weak or unproven link: may suggest; may increase risk of; is very occasionally misdiagnosed as
Weak or unproven link:
may suggest; may increase risk of; is very occasionally misdiagnosed as
Strong or generally accepted link: is often a sign or symptom of; often suggests; often increases risk of; often leads to
Strong or generally accepted link:
is often a sign or symptom of; often suggests; often increases risk of; often leads to
Definite or direct link: is a sign or symptom of
Definite or direct link:
is a sign or symptom of
Strong counter-indication: often decreases risk of; often reduces the likelihood of
Strong counter-indication:
often decreases risk of; often reduces the likelihood of
May be useful: may help with
May be useful:
may help with
Very useful: is highly recommended for
Very useful:
is highly recommended for