Sleep Deprivation

Dr. Nadheer K M (AIIMS)MBBS

January 09, 2019

March 06, 2020

Sleep Deprivation
Sleep Deprivation

What is Sleep Deprivation?

Sleep deprivation is the lack of adequate sleep, which occurs due to many reasons. It is not a disease but a symptom that can result due to various diseases or life situations that disturb the sleep pattern. Lack of sleep can result in numerous health issues and must be corrected at the earliest.

What are its main associated signs and symptoms?

The major signs and symptoms that appear along with sleep deprivation include:

  • Difficulty in sleeping
  • Irritable behaviour
  • Lack of attention
  • Early waking
  • Frequent day time sleepiness
  • Not feeling refreshed after waking up
  • Error in judgement and thinking
  • Snoring

The five commonly encountered sleep disorders include:

  • Difficulty in falling asleep or insomnia
  • Obstructive breathing or sleep apnoea
  • Excessive day time sleepiness or narcolepsy
  • Uncontrolled leg movements due to restless leg syndrome
  • Rapid eye movement sleep disorder

What are the main causes?

There are many causes of having a disturbed sleeping pattern. The major ones include:

  • Irregular or night shifts at the workplace
  • Excessive working hours
  • Asthma
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Alcoholism
  • Stress
  • Certain medications
  • Genetic history
  • Old age

How is it diagnosed and treated?

Your physician may ask certain questions regarding the history of sleep pattern and may ask your family members about your sleep episodes during the night. You may be asked to maintain a sleep diary to check for sleep pattern and to diagnose your condition according to the information provided.

Sleep deprivation can be managed with sedatives, but if these are found to be less effective non-pharmacological methods can be tried as mentioned below.

Self-care tips

  • Inculcate a sleep pattern regime by relaxing yourself
  • Switch off all electronic gadgets and keep them away from your bed
  • Adapt with relaxation techniques to improve sleep
  • Maintain a sleep schedule by going to bed and waking up at a specific time
  • Eat a light snack or drink milk, which can aid in sleeping
  • Do not consume a heavy dinner and excess fluids right before going to bed
  • Avoid using mobile phones or laptops in your bed, as it may disrupt your sleep
  • Avoid smoking or drinking alcohol or other stimulants like tea and coffee in the evening
  • Reduce dependence on sleeping pills
  • Avoid doing anything in the bedroom, especially on the bed, except sleeping.



  1. UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital [Internet]. University of California San Francisco; Tips for a Better Night's Sleep.
  2. UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital [Internet]. University of California San Francisco; Insomnia.
  3. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Sleep Disorders .
  4. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia: US National Library of Medicine; Insomnia.
  5. Department of Neurology [Internet]. Columbia University Irving Medical Center, New York; Sleep Deprivation.
  6. Cleveland Clinic. [Internet]. Cleveland, Ohio. Causes of Sleep Problems.

Medicines for Sleep Deprivation

Medicines listed below are available for Sleep Deprivation. Please note that you should not take any medicines without doctor consultation. Taking any medicine without doctor's consultation can cause serious problems.

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