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5 Signs of Sleep Deprivation: Do You Have Them?

By HERWriter Blogger
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5 Signs of Sleep Deprivation: Do They Happen to You? MonkeyBusiness Images/PhotoSpin

People all over the country are walking around sleep deprived on a daily basis. Everyone thinks about the harried new mom or the busy executive, or the college kid with finals creeping up when the term “sleep deprived” comes up.

But there are many more Americans who are not getting enough sleep than you might think. About 20 percent of adults in the United States, one in every five, are considered sleep deprived, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

Sleep deprivation is not just about looking and feeling well rested in the morning. There are some real health risks linked to long-term sleep deprivation.

Anxiety, irritability, forgetfulness and lack of coordination, are just some of the effects lack of sleep can have on a person's life. It can also be associated with medical conditions such as high blood pressure, heart attack, obesity and diabetes.

Getting enough sleep is healthy for everyone. Knowing the signs of sleep deprivation is key for change to take place. Here are five signs that may indicate that you're not getting enough sleep.

Five Signs of Sleep Deprivation:

1) Being able to fall asleep fast
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, people who routinely fall asleep within five minutes of laying down are most likely suffering from severe sleep deprivation or even a sleep disorder. Falling asleep fast does not mean that person is just a “good sleeper”.

2) Being impulsive
When you're not getting enough sleep, the prefrontal cortex is greatly affected. When you are sleep deprived, its effect on this area of the brain can lead a person to poor judgment or impulsive behaviors like buying expensive items or eating unhealthy foods. It can also create irritability and mood issues.

3) Being forgetful
Memory is also affected by sleep deprivation. Sleep helps people consolidate memories and leads to emotional processing. When you don't get the proper amount of sleep, you'll have a harder time forming memories and putting those memories into context. This also makes it more difficult to act thoughtfully and rationally.

4) Being hungry
Yes, sleep deprivation can make you want to eat more. It does so by affecting leptin and ghrelin, two hormones that control appetite and hunger in the body. When you are sleep deprived, ghrelin (the hormone that increases appetite) increases and leptin (the hormone that tells the body to stop eating) decreases.

5) Being clumsy
Lack of sleep affects everything, even coordination. Motor skills can be affected when you are sleep deprived, causing you to stumble or to just feel unsteady on your feet.


Youbeauty.com. Web. 30 June 2014. “10 surprising signs you’re sleep-deprived.”

AASMNET.org. Web. 20 August 2014. “Sleep deprivation.”

Reviewed August 21, 2014
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

Add a Comment1 Comments



Thanks for posting this! Sometimes life gets too ahead of us, and our bodies can't keep up! Some days, the minute I hit my bed - I'm asleep. These are great signs to know, most people don't know when they are sleep deprived.


August 22, 2014 - 10:18am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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