Could You be Sleep Deprived? Here’s What to do About It

There’s a fairly good chance you’re sleep deprived. More than a third of adults in the United States don’t get enough sleep at night, and that can cause problems with health and wellness.
According to the CDC, 35 percent of adults in the United States don’t sleep the recommended seven or more hours each night. When you sleep less than seven hours per day, you are at an increased risk of:

  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease and stroke
  • Frequent mental distress

Signs of Sleep DeprivationIf you’re sleep deprived, you probably already know it. It’s not difficult to connect the dots between not sleeping at night and feeling tired during the day. But sometimes, sleep deprivation can be less obvious, especially when you sleep enough hours, but don’t get enough good quality sleep during those hours.

In addition to daytime tiredness, common signs of sleep deprivation include:

  • Frequent hunger and cravings for junk food
  • Impulsive actions and difficulty with self control
  • Increased emotions including anxiety, anger, happiness, or sadness
  • Trouble remembering or retaining new information
  • Clumsiness

Causes of Sleep DeprivationSleep deprivation can be caused by behavior, schedules, medical issues, and more, and may be the result of one or more causes. All ages are at risk of sleep deprivation, but adolescents are at a greater risk. Caregivers, shift workers, people who have a sleep disorder, and people who have a medical condition that causes insufficient sleep are more prone to sleep deprivation.

Some common causes of sleep deprivation include:

  • Late night electronics use
  • Artificial light in the evening
  • Working in the evening
  • Drinking caffeinated beverages too late in the day

Stopping Sleep Deprivation With Healthy HabitsSleep deprivation can make it difficult to function in daily life, but you can improve your sleep with healthy habits, including:

  • Follow a regular sleep schedule and routine. Sleep thrives on consistency, so going to sleep and waking up at about the same time each night and day can help you get to sleep on time and improve the quality of your sleep. Another easy way to improve your sleep is by following a consistent bedtime routine before you go to sleep. A bedtime routine should be relaxing, and can send a signal to your body that you should start winding down for the night.
  • Avoid sleep pitfalls. Some activities can make it difficult for you to sleep well. For example, consuming caffeine late in the day, or exercising late at night can leave you feeling too energized to doze off when it’s time to get to bed. Even screen time just before bed can make sleeping difficult. Consider keeping a journal to identify what may be keeping you up at night.
  • Treat conditions that can interfere with sleep. Whether you suffer from a sleep disorder or have a medical condition that makes sleep difficult, talk to your doctor about your difficulties with sleep. Treatment for these conditions, and subsequently, sleeping better, may involve more than simple lifestyle changes. You may need behavioral therapy, treatment such as a CPAP machine, or medication to manage your condition.
  • Sleep on the right mattress for your needs. Choose a mattress that’s comfortable and well suited to your needs for firmness and support. You should always have a mattress that helps you sleep well, even when you’re moving or traveling, so choose wisely even if you’re just picking out an air mattress to sleep on for a few nights.

Sleep deprivation is common and can present challenges for wellness, but good sleep is possible. Commit to giving yourself the time you need to sleep each night and practice healthy sleep habits so you can rest well and feel refreshed each day.

Amy Highland is a sleep expert at She loves taking naps during thunderstorms and cuddling up with a blanket, book, and cats.

Ellie Porter
Managing Editor |

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