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Signs and Symptoms of Sleep Deprivation: Are You Getting Enough ZZZs?

Signs and Symptoms of Sleep Deprivation: Are You Getting Enough ZZZs?

Do you awaken most mornings exhausted, as if you r...

Signs and Symptoms of Sleep Deprivation: Are You Getting Enough ZZZs?

July 14, 2020
Do you awaken most mornings exhausted, as if you ran a marathon in your dreams? But you still get behind the wheel of your car to commute to work, don’t you? Beware -- it is estimated that drowsy driving causes about 100,000 automobile accidents a year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, resulting in 71,000 injuries and 1,500 deaths. And if you experience a certain type of sleep disorder, your performance is on par with a drunk driver. You are 15 times more likely to have a motor vehicle accident than if you were driving refreshed.

Sleep Recommendations

The recommended hours of sleep for an adult is seven to nine hours a night, according to numerous sleep reports. But that doesn't take into account time spent awake during the night, and it doesn't specify how much time is ideally spent in each sleep cycle.

A better definition would include sleep quality and efficiency, instead of hours in bed, said Chris Berka, CEO and founder of Advanced Brain Monitoring lab. "A complete sleep cycle typically takes about 90 minutes, and the rule of thumb is that you need 4-5 full sleep cycles," said Berka. Full sleep cycles include all four stages of sleep; stage 1 is the bubble between wakefulness and sleep. Stage 2 restores alertness. Stage 3 and 4 are “slow-wave sleep.” This is when protein rebuilding, enzyme regeneration, healing and immune functions refresh themselves, and REM sleep occurs. Though REM sleep is not fully understood, it seems to impact emotions and memory.

Experts agree that chronic sleep deprivation affects your health, safety and performance. Sleep disorders affect nearly 70 million Americans with up to one-third of that number reporting symptoms of insomnia. But only about 10 percent of these sufferers have been diagnosed by their primary caregivers. Most sleep-related problems remain undiagnosed.

Everyone has problems falling asleep every once in a while. Temporary worries and other issues can have you up beyond your bedtime but as long as this doesn’t become a chronic condition, there isn’t much to worry about.