What Sleep Deprivation Can Do to You

Sleep deprivation is classified as the lack of adequate sleep to function properly and can occur because of deliberate acts, medical reasons, or as a result of a sleep disorder. Being deprived of sleep can have many negative effects on the physical and mental health of the person affected and the effects can linger for a long period of time. It is very important for a person to get the right amount of sleep each day to prevent the effects of this sleep disorder from occurring.

Sleep deprivation can create problems in many areas of the body and the effects will only get worse the longer the person has been denied proper sleep. The body can experience muscle fatigue, pallor of the skin, nausea, muscle tremors, significant weight gain or loss, and a weakened immune system. The eyes may experience blurred vision, dark circles beneath the eyes, color blindness, or involuntary eye ticks.

Sleep deprivation has been known to cause dizziness, fainting, headaches, irritability, and slurred speech. If the lack of sleep continues, memory loss, confusion, loss of concentration, hallucinations, and clinical depression can occur. Lengthy cases of this particular sleep disorder have been known to result in psychotic episodes, which may or may not disappear once the person resumes their normal sleeping patterns.

The inadequate rest associated with sleep deprivation can impair a person’s ability to think, to control their emotions, to react to external stimuli, and to handle everyday stresses. If the deprivation persists, it may even result in the person’s death. Studies have shown that lab rats that were deprived of sleep all died within three weeks because their bodies could not handle the effects of constantly being deprived of sleep for extended periods of time.

Cases of sleep deprivation that occur naturally and not as a result of some external stimuli often affect older people and senior citizens at some point in their lives. The older we become, the more susceptible we become to sleeping disorders that may result in long periods of not being able to get asleep. It is estimated that more than half of people over the age of 64 across the nation suffer from some type of sleeping disorder and experience long periods of simply not being able to sleep enough to be rested properly.

Younger people are less likely to experience sleep deprivation, but are more likely to be adversely affected by it quickly. In these people, the effects of this sleep disorder appear to resemble drunkenness, with delayed reaction times, slurred speech, and marked dizziness. Testing has shown that people that get behind the wheel of a car after experiencing a period of being deprived of sleep are worse drivers than people that are legally drunk under the law. This specific sleep disorder can have many different effects on the body and not a single one of them is pleasant to experience or simple to reverse.