Sleep Deprivation Effects: What Happens When You Lack Sleep?

Sleep Deprivation



Sleep deprivation effects are widespread, and may be effecting your body and mind more than you think.

I know that I've felt like the man in the picture many times in my life! When I have been sleep deprived, I have done embarassing things like:

  • Thought I heard someone talking to me...but no one was there
  • Fallen asleep with my head on my desk in college
  • Repeated myself multiple times while talking to a friend...or even worse, forgot what I was saying mid-sentence
  • Felt like the person talking to me was speaking in slow motion (blah...blah...blah...)
  • Forgot to run errands, give my children their medicine, remember appointments--the effects on my memory has a never-ending list!
  • Fell asleep sitting up (okay, so that still happens...I never said that I was perfect!)


"Sleep Deprivation has become one of the most significant causes of error and accident throughout our society"


Sleep Deprivation Facts

Did you know?...

  • Annual sleep-related accidents in transportation alone claim over 5,000 lives, cause hundreds of thousands of injuries, and assess a cost in the billions in health care costs, death, lost productivity, and damage to property.

  • Sleep loss is cumulative. The sleep debt and chronic sleep deprivation are comouflaged by endogenuous and exogenous stimulation and circadian rhythm effects. Thus, an individual may not feel sleepy at one time of day, but may experience the sudden onset of completely disabling drowsiness when all stimulating influences are withdrawn (which explains many of our sleep-related accidents).

  • Napping can immediately reduce dangerous drowsiness.

  • Sleep deprivation statistics show that 40 percent of Americans (about 100 million) are sleep deprived.

Causes of Sleep Deprivation

The causes of sleep deprivation are both voluntary and involuntary. Sometimes we simply ignore the sleep that we need, but at other times our body is incapable of getting our required hours of sleep per night (due to illness, insomnia, etc.). Click here to read about sleep deprivation causes, and how you can avoid them.

Symptoms of Sleep Deprivation

Some obvious signs of sleep deprivation are:

  • Fall asleep while driving;
  • Struggle to stay awake when inactive, such as when watching television or reading;
  • have difficulty paying attention or concentrating at work, school, or home;
  • Have performance problems at work or school;
  • Are often told by others that you are sleepy;
  • Have difficulty remembering;
  • Difficulty controlling your emotions, or
  • take naps on most days.

Sleep Deprivation in Children

The effects of sleep deprivation on babies and children are a real problem for their mental, physical, and emotional development. What are the symptoms sleep deprivation and the common effects of sleep deprivation in young children? Click Here to find out.

Sleep Deprivation on Teens

Is your teen just being lazy, or is he/she actually suffering from teen sleep deprivation? Find out more about this trend in our society, and what you can do to turn your teen's sleeping habits around.

Sleep Deprivation in College Students

College students are one of the most sleep deprived people in our population. One sleep deprivation study showed that about 60 percent of college students are sleep deprived, and about 30 percent of them fall asleep in class at least once a week!

For most people, sleep deprivation and college go hand in hand. It's usually the first time that you're "on your own", and you tend to make poor choices about your health when faced with endless freedom. Late night parties or study sessions eventually catch up with you.

Remember that college students need just as much sleep as any other adult. Lack of sleep will effect the education and grades that you are receiving.

Sleep Deprivation studies have shown that students who get A's and B's get an average of a total of 35 minutes more sleep per night than those that get D's and F's. And, their sleep is consistent--meaning that they go to bed at the same time during the week as they do on weekends.

Effects of Sleep Deprivation

Not only do the effects of sleep deprivation take a mental toll on your body, but they also effect you physically and emotionally. Learn to recognize sleep deprivation symptoms to avoid these unpleasant effects.


"Over the past 100-125 years, we have reduced our average nightly total sleep time by over 20 percent. Yet, no available scientific evidence suggests that we have developed a reduced need for sleep or that our ancestors slept too much"




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