Sleep deprivation and sleep insufficiency can be classified in different ways depending on a person's circumstances. This terminology may differ from everyday conversation, where the term sleep deprivation may be used with a broader meaning that refers to lack of sleep in general and not just total sleep duration. An analysis of 15 studies found that short sleep duration is associated with an increased risk of developing or dying from coronary heart disease or stroke. However, people who suffer from sleep problems do not accurately estimate how much sleep they get each night.
The main signs and symptoms of sleep deprivation are excessive daytime sleepiness and daytime impairment, such as decreased concentration, slowed thinking and mood swings. However, it can be a sign of sleep apnoea, a sleep disorder that is associated with major medical problems such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Even a little sleep deprivation - in this case, six instead of eight hours of sleep over two weeks - adds up to amazing results. Michelle Drerup, PsyD, Director of Behavioural Sleep Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic, who is not associated with this study, says these results are in line with other research on hormones and sleep.
Sleep deprivation is when you don't get the sleep you need, and is estimated to affect about a third of American adults, a problem that has only worsened in recent years. The study found that vasopressin, a hormone that regulates the body's hydration status, is released towards the end of the sleep cycle. In a global sample of more than 10,000 people, the researchers concluded that, in terms of brain function, sleeping less than 4 hours was the same as adding 8 years to your age. But if you fall asleep during meetings, exams or at the cinema, consider yourself sleep deprived.
Patients with poorly controlled diabetes and sleep apnoea improve blood glucose control when treated for sleep apnoea. For example, lack of sleep can impair the body's ability to use insulin, which can lead to more severe diabetes. If you have ongoing or worsening problems with insufficient sleep or daytime sleepiness, working with your doctor is a good first step to getting relief.