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What are signs and symptoms of sleep deprivation?

Feeling tired or drowsy at any time during the day is one symptom of not having enough sleep. Being able to fall asleep within 5 minutes of lying down in the evening also may be a sign a person may be suffering from sleep deprivation. People who suffer from sleep deprivation often experience so-called "microsleeps," which are short bursts of sleep in an otherwise awake person.

Sleep-deprived people perform poorly on tests such as driving simulators and tests of hand-eye coordination. Sleep deprivation can also magnify the effects of alcohol, meaning that a sleep-deprived person will be more susceptible to becoming impaired after alcohol consumption than a well-rested person. Caffeine and other stimulants cannot successfully overcome the drowsiness associated with sleep deprivation.

Return to Sleep (How to Get a Good Night's Sleep)

See what others are saying

Comment from: EaglesRest38, 75 or over Male (Patient) Published: January 09

I'm 75 and rarely in the past 65 years have I gotten full night's sleep; between pain and restless leg syndrome (which I don't have any more because I have a pain pump for low back pain that resolved it.). But, I still have 3 or 4 other low back and leg pain problems that still wakes me up night after night after night. All of the back pain problems are inoperable. Therefore, I am very irritable and do not have much energy or zest for living. Luckily, at 75, I don't have many more years to put up with it.

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Comment from: sleep?huh?, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: January 09

I am a male aged 49. I am college educated and teach high school. I have been teaching for about 5 years have been having trouble sleeping for 22 years. I worked nights for many years and would sleep about 3 hours a day and get up and go again. Not being able to sleep fit my schedule so it was not an issue. Now that I teach it is a big issue. I'm not sleepy all day but anxious all the time and I'm not a harsh or strict teacher I'm really easy going so it is not affecting how I treat people. It seems I'm the only one suffering from this. Ambien didn't work, Lunesta seems to be helping and I take Xanax for anxiety. I have been taking it for years and it does not affect my sleep as my tolerance is so high. The doctor has me taking 100mg of Benadryl with the Lunesta which has helped. I would just like to sleep without reaching for a pill.

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Comment from: Tired1, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: January 06

I have gone from doctor to doctor trying to find the answer to my problem to no avail. I think I have now found it. Every night between 6:00 and 1:00 at 1 point the same scenario occurs and I have to immediately get into bed. I then fall asleep between 1 and 2 minutes. The scenario is, brief feeling of hunger quickly followed by nausea sometimes leading to vomiting, pressure in back of my nose in my head, profuse running nose, and extreme weakness sometimes to the point of feeling faint. I wonder if this is sleep deprivation. I do have a history of sleep problems.

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