The human body needs adequate amounts of sleep on a regular basis to stay healthy. Sleep deprivation can have many detrimental effects on your physical, mental, and emotional health. Without the required rest, a person’s ability to think, process, and cope with the activities and stressors of everyday life becomes impaired.

Sleep: Rest For the Weary

All of the organs of the body require rest. Sleeping is the way that the body gets the rest that it needs. The brain, heart, lungs, digestive system, immune system, skin, and other systems quickly deteriorate under conditions of sleep deprivation. Not only is quality of life compromised when a person becomes sleep deprived, but complete sleep deprivation has actually been found to be fatal under some conditions.

Common Symptoms of Sleep Deprivation

Some of the most common symptoms of sleep deprivation include fatigue, depression, irritability, weight gain, hypertension, memory and concentration impairments, heart disease, slowed reaction times, hallucinations, and tremors. People who are sleep deprived often experience an increase in common immune reactions, catching every cold or virus that passes by. Others eventually find that they develop more serious medical conditions. Remaining in a constant state of poor health has cumulative negative consequences.

Sleep deprivation can lead to dangerous cycles. People who become sleep deprived often turn to unnatural ways for increasing their energy and attention, including using high levels of caffeine, trying stimulants like nicotine or other substances, sleeping in short, unhealthy spurts, or overeating. All of these methods of addressing sleep deprivation are known to make the problem worse.

Poor Decision Making, Limited Brain Power

A person that is sleep deprived has an impaired ability to make decisions. Whether the decision is simple or critical, it becomes more difficult to process and problem-solve using the necessary information to make a wise decision. This impairment can become quite magnified if a person is required to have a quick reaction time (e.g., driving, operating heavy machinery, etc.).

As people age, sleep disorders become more common. Hormonal and physical changes, and accompanying medical problems, can adversely affect a person’s sleep cycle, resulting in chronic sleep deprivation. Being unable to experience the deep, restorative sleep that a body requires can become a challenge for older people.

Common Causes of Sleep Deprivation

Some of the common causes of sleep deprivation include insomnia, anxiety, menopause, sleep apnea, snoring, and narcolepsy. Determining the underlying cause for sleep deprivation is important for finding a remedy or solution. After making a serious assessment of lifestyle and any changes that could be made to improve healthy sleep patterns, a person that becomes sleep deprived may require medical evaluation to rule out any more serious underlying conditions that could be interfering with the rest required.

Restore Quality of Life

If symptoms of sleep deprivation are present, then uncovering the potential causes of sleep disturbance is an important step toward restoring quality of life. Conquering sleep deprivation and getting better sleep and the rest that a body needs is critical for healthy physical, mental and emotional function.

Author's Bio: 

Colleen Lilly writes a blog on Personal Development, Spiritual Growth, Self Help at