Most often the causes of sleep deprivation are due to external factors. Some we can control and others we can't.
Don't assume being tired is normal. There are of course certain seasons in our lives that leave us more sleep deprived such as being new parents, preparing for a big presentation, traveling internationally, or working odd shifts.
Sleep deprivation causes are due to a number of factors such as life stages, living situations, work schedules, personal or family issues, or health conditions. All of these situations can deprive us of our much needed sleep. Sleep deprivation can affect anyone and everyone has experienced it at some time in their life.
Although a little tiredness now and then may be normal, such as a really busy week or two, but chronic sleep deprivation can become a serious health concern.
Some people choose to live a lifestyle of chronic sleep deprivation while others experience it due to other external factors. I remember discussing sleep with a man in his 40's who boasted he got about 5 hours of sleep every night - by choice. He got up at 4:00 AM to exercise, worked long days, spent time with his family and worked again into the night.
Another friend complained about being tired, only to find out she was staying up late regularly just surfing the web and playing games on her computer.
I've experienced seasons of chronic sleep deprivation as well, but they were the result of life's circumstances - being a young mom with 3 kids four years old and younger, working strange hours as a registered nurse, and starting a new job in a new state.
The first thing you need to do is to determine the cause of your sleep deprivation. Try to look at your life style and schedule and see if any of these situations listed may be affecting the amount of sleep you are getting:
Here are some of the more common reasons for sleep deprivation:
Do you work overtime? Are you a new mother? Do you live with other people or in a dorm? Do you have a hard time falling asleep? Does your brain run in circles when your head hits the pillow?
Can you identify with one of the sleep deprivation causes listed above?
Review your daily schedule. What time are you going to bed and how much sleep are you allotting yourself?
Most people need around 7-9 hours of sleep. I do fine with 7 hours of sleep, but I don't complain if I can get in 8 hours. I rearrange my bedtime based on what time I have to get up in the morning. For years I got up at 5:30 AM so I made it a point to be in bed between 9:30 and 10:00. Sleep needs to be a priority for a healthy mind, spirit and body.
Determine what time you need to be in bed to get your 7-9 hours of sleep and don't let a silly TV show, computer game, late night phone call, or load of laundry distract you.
Many times, the causes of sleep deprivation are due to a snoring bed partner, a blaring TV program or a bedroom reading light. These habits can prevent us from getting a good night's sleep. Have a discussion with your bed partner and let them know that you are working to make sleep a priority and that you need their help. Check out some ways to make your bedroom more conducive to sleep.
My husband likes to watch TV after I have gone to bed. Even though he was watching it downstairs, the noise traveled upstairs and kept me awake. With his support (and a new TV for him) we moved the TV to a different room where he could close the door and I couldn't hear the TV any more.
If your bed partner likes to keep reading when you want the lights out, get him/her a little book light so that the bedside lamp is turned off and the room is darker. Wear a sleep mask - even a little bit of light can interfere with melatonin production.
Determining the cause of your sleep deprivation is the key to finding a solution. To begin treatment, you need to know where to start. Take the first step to getting better sleep and rid yourself of sleep debt.
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