The behavioral effects of sleep deprivation vary with individuals depending on their age and on how long or how much the person has been deprived of sleep. There are other factors as well, such as what is causing the lack of sleep - is it another health condition like chronic pain or is it a stressful situation the prevents rest from coming at night.
No matter who you are, sleep deprivation eventually takes a toll on our mental health. Many of us have had sleepless nights due to traveling, studying, moving, sickness, or some other cause. It's not usually the one night of no sleep that makes life more difficult - but rather it's the several nights in a row that can get all of us into trouble with our behavior.
As a registered nurse, I've had many conversations with patients who will preface their question or concern with, "Be patient with me, I haven't had hardly any sleep the last couple of nights." We are more on edge and just feel more fragile when lack of sleep has become more normal than a good night's sleep.
Our ability to cope and handle life is compromised. It's never more evident than it is with a toddler who has missed his nap or woken up after too short of a night. They just seem to cry at the drop of a hat and often times there is no consoling them. What they really need is just more sleep.
Some of the common behavior signs of sleep deprivation are:
1. Mood Swings
2. Loss or lack of a feeling of well-being
4. Compromised memory and ability to concentrate
5. Less motivation
6. Less patience or impatience
7. Easily aggravated
8. Easily stressed or difficulty handling stress
9. Unable to cope with life's aggravations
The upside of getting consistent good quality sleep is finding out that you are more patient with people, are less stressed about life and have the ability to cope with daily aggravations. Not only will you benefit from the resulting new outlook on life, so will your family, co-workers and friends.
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