Monday, January 3, 2011

How do you know if you are sleep deprived Take this quiz to find out

How do you know if you are sleep deprived? Your body will send you plenty of signals, but some of us are so used to being sleep deprived we don’t even notice. Sleep deprivation is just like a habit we have to unlearn and be conscious of in order to correct our sleep/wake cycle and get our sleep schedule on track. Take this quiz to find out if you are sleep deprived.

[caption id="attachment_806" align="alignright" width="300" caption="How do you know if you are sleep deprived? Hard to do simple tasks"][/caption]

Do you get frustrated easily? Are you overwhelmed by minor details? When you are sleep deprived you have a hard time distinguishing between relevant and important information. The simplest decisions can become an exaggerated importance. Major decisions are put off until the last minute as it is hard to adapt to changing circumstances.

Do you get sick easy? People who are sleep deprived are more vulnerable to infection than those that are well rested. If you sleep less than seven hours at night you are more likely to catch a cold than those that receive eight hours or more.

Do you feel hungry even when you have eaten? Chronic sleep deprivation may alter blood sugar levels causing the body to produce less leptin, a hormone that curbs appetite and more ghrelin that stimulates hunger urges. You are more likely to overeat when you get less sleep and the foods you snack on may be less nutritious or give you short bursts of energy, like sweets. Sleep deprivation also reduces self-control and lack of energy so instead of making a healthy meal you grab something easy like a donut or fast food.

Are you clumsy? Research has determined that people who have less sleep are less accurate with their motor skills. Impaired reflexes and lack of concentration cause people to react slower to things that arise in their path. Scientists at the Stanford University Sleep Research Center have found that people that become drowsy during the day will develop “micro-sleeps” that last one or two seconds that throw off balance and depth perception. Micro-sleep can be just long enough for you to drop something or trip.

Do you experience mood swings? Without proper sleep you can become emotionally unstable, due to more activity in the amygdale an area in the brain that processes fear and anxiety. Bad sleep equates to bad moods such as grumpiness and irritability. If you find yourself affected by mood swings and sudden bursts of irritability throughout a normal day, might be a sign that you aren’t getting the right amount of sleep. Lack of sleep may make your feel more depressed or sad because your brain stores memories that trigger negative responses than those that are positive or neutral.

Are you tired even if you have a full night of rest? This might suggest that you have been waking up periodically during the night, caused by snoring due to congestion or obstructions in the airway passage, identified by doctors as OSA. Obstructive Sleep Apnea or OSA is when people literally stop breathing repeatedly during their sleep, often for a minute or longer and as many as hundreds of times during a single night. Many times OSA is treated by lifestyle changes for instance, losing weight, hormone replacement therapy, avoiding alcohol, sleeping on your side. Severe cases are usually diagnosed at a sleep clinic where the individual stays overnight where their sleep is monitored. The sleep study will tell the physician that the patient will either considered for a CPAP or Continuous Positive Airways Pressure machine which will blow air into the throat during the night or surgery to remove, shrink or stiffen the excess tissue in the back of the throat. If you wake up with a sore achy throat it may be a sign you have OSA and you should consult with your physician.

Drinking alcohol before going to be might allow you to fall asleep easy, but it is known to wake you during the night when the effect wears off. Hormonal problems, increased blood pressure and obesity are also recognized as conditions that cause you to wake up during the night.

Do you depend on caffeine or other stimulants to give you energy during the day? Many people enjoy a few cups of coffee a day without having a sleep disorder. But if you find your base energy level is close to exhaustion and the only way you can function properly is with caffeine you may be sleep deprived. You may also find it easier to fall asleep if you avoid caffeine in the afternoon or at night.

Waking up feeling energized means getting enough sleep by relieving daily stress and anxiety, finding ways to help you relax and finding drug free solutions to maintain healthy sleep cycles. Overtime, sleep deprivation can develop into chronic insomnia. Chronic insomniacs try all manners of treatments in an effort to get a good night sleep like a glass of warm milk or listening to a hypnotic sleep inducing mp3/CD. Many these methods act as a smoke screen  and may work for a period of time, but they will not get to the root of the problem. Before sleep deprivation develops into chronic insomnia you need to address the actual cause.

[caption id="attachment_804" align="alignright" width="242" caption="How do you know if you are sleep deprived? Change negative thoughts"][/caption]

Many experts believe that chronic insomnia is less about sleep and more about negative beliefs about sleep and until we make some mental changes no sleep aid will work. If you believe your problem is incurable, that something is basically wrong with you, that your sleep deprivation is different than anyone else even the strongest prescription sleeping pill will not have an effect. When you try a new sleep aid do you lie in bed and tell yourself that this is not going to work? Just like the symptoms of sleep deprivation being an insomniac can become who we are, it is a part of our identity. By changing not only your lifestyle but the way you think (which may be contributing to the problem) you can start to turn your life around. You need to know that there is nothing different about your problem, identify negative thoughts and attitudes and see how they are reinforcing your sleep deprivation and/or general health and focus on the positive aspects of your life. You may not have anything physically or psychologically wrong with you that is causing your sleep deprivation other than just developing an unhealthy habit.

The content in How do you know if you are sleep deprived? Take this quiz to find out is for information purposes only, intended to raise the awareness of different solutions for your sleep problems and should not be considered medical advice. For medical diagnosis and treatment, please see your qualified health-care professional.
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