Sleep Deprivation

Sunday, October 24, 2010

It's hard enough having just a few hours of sleep a night, but when you're not sleeping at all, it can be seriously depressing and frustrating. The figures are not known precisely, but hundreds of people commit suicide each year due to sleep related disorders. Not sleeping can have a heavy impact on a person's life and drive them to do desperate things.

Chronic insomnia is debilitating. Its crippling effects it can have on a person's psychological and physical health should not be overlooked. Most people may understand what it feels like to have a bad night sleep, but very few know what it's like to be a chronic insomniac. Not sleeping or barely sleeping night after night for months and years is not a condition to be taken lightly.

Chronic insomnia can change a person's outlook on life completely. Imagine feeling exhausted and miserable every day. Imagine lying in bed every night with nothing but worrying thoughts going through your head. Imagine tossing and turning and not sleeping a wink only to see the sun come up. Imagine getting up to go to work everyday, completely exhausted, irritated, with low self-esteem and confidence. Often insomniacs feel much worse than this.

It's no wonder depression and anxiety disorders are so prevalent in sleep sufferers. Not sleeping for one night can make a normal sleeper feel depressed, experience low mood and feel easily irritable and frustrated. Imagine feeling like this everyday? It's depressing just thinking about it.

Chronic insomniacs feel desperate. All they want is half a decent night sleep, and yet night after night they find themselves not sleeping, no matter how tired and drowsy they are. And that's one of the hardest things to deal with for a sufferer - being so utterly exhausted and still not being able to sleep.

Consider that in some countries, sleep deprivation is used as a form of torture. Yes, that's right inflicted sleeplessness as a form of torture. It just proves what a terrible condition this can be. Often prisoners who are tortured or interrogated under this method agree that nothing comes close to the immense desire to sleep.

There's of course a difference between not sleeping, and wanting to and being forced to stay awake, however the effects of both are comparable. Blurred vision, decreased mental activity, dizziness, confusion, hallucinations and memory loss - these are all things that insomniacs never get used to, but have to live with on a daily basis.
Short-term effects of sleep deprivation: 
  1. Decreased daytime alertness. Loss of 1 ½ hours sleep can result in a 30-35% reduction in daytime alertness.
  2. Tiredness and feeling a need for 0a nap
  3. Irritability, edginess and moodiness
  4. Headache
  5. Loss of balance and coordination
  6. Inability to tolerate stress
  7. Memory lapses and difficulty concentrating
  8. Learning, behavioral or social problems
  9. Blurred vision
  10. Vague body discomfort
  11. Changes in appetite
  12. Feeling lazy
  13. Hypnagogic hallucinations (the state between being awake and falling asleep. For some people, this is a time of visual and auditory hallucination.
  14. Uncooperative attitude
  15. Hallucinations, delusions and illusions (Hallucinations are false perceptions that occur in the absence of appropriate external stimuli, whereas illusions are misinterpretations of external stimuli that are, in fact, present).
  16. Slowing and slurring of speech and difficulty naming common objects.
  17. Episodes of fragmented thinking
  18. Paranoia
  19. Expressionless appearance or looking and feeling dazed
  20. Monotone speech
  21. Feeling frustrated if not being able to nap

Long-term effects of sleep deprivation:
  • Impaired immune system
  • Frequent infections
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart attack
  • Heart failure
  • Stroke
  • Psychiatric problems such as depression and other mood disorders
  • Mental impairment
  • Increased mortality risk
  • Relationship problems with a bed partner
  • Obesity


  1. maggie.danhakl@healthline.comSeptember 25, 2014 at 3:07 PM


    I hope all is well with you. Healthline just published an infographic detailing the effects of sleep deprivation on the body. This is an interactive chart allowing the reader to pick the side effect they want to learn more about.

    You can see the overview of the report here:

    Our users have found our guide very useful and I thought it would be a great resource for your page:

    I would appreciate it if you could review our request and consider adding this visual representation of sleep deprivation to your site or sharing it on your social media feeds.

    Please let me know if you have any questions.

    All the best,
    Maggie Danhakl • Assistant Marketing Manager

    Healthline • The Power of Intelligent Health
    660 Third Street, San Francisco, CA 94107 | @Healthline | @HealthlineCorp

    About Us:

  2. I enjoyed reading this article. PLease continue publishing helpful topics like this. Regards, from beddingstock


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