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7 Sleep Deprivation Symptoms to Look Out For

By Adrienne Keller
A lack of sleep is bad for your mental, emotional, and physical health. Learn more about common symptoms of sleep deprivation.

The side effects of sleep deprivation include more than just feeling tired, and identifying signs of inadequate sleep can help you avoid some of its more serious consequences. Read on for more about seven common symptoms of sleep deprivation. 

Feeling Drowsy During the Day

One of the main signs of sleep deprivation is feeling drowsy during the day, explains Cedars-Sinai. Feeling drowsy or sleepy throughout the day is one of the first symptoms of sleep deprivation that should not be ignored.

Lack of Focus

An inability to concentrate is another common symptom of sleep deprivation. If you are not getting enough quality sleep and allowing your body and brain to recover overnight, you may experience difficulty focusing or completing simple tasks throughout the day.

Lowered Immune Response

Another possible side effect of not getting enough sleep is a weakened immune system. According to Cedars-Sinai, one of the early symptoms of sleep deprivation is a reduced ability to fight off infections.

Mental and Emotional Problems

When a pattern of sleep deprivation persists, your risk for mental illness increases. You may also exhibit severe mood swings when you do not get enough sleep. Additionally, chemical reactions that occur in your brain due to a lack of sleep can lead to mental health problems such as depression and anxiety.

Changes in Weight

Chronic sleep deprivation can lead to changes to your weight, including weight gain or weight loss, explains the American Sleep Association. Multiple large-scale national studies indicate that inadequate amounts of sleep could be a contributing factor to the widespread obesity problem in the U.S. The links between inadequate sleep and obesity are strongest in young and middle-aged adults. 

Reduced Working Memory

Studies have found that working memory is directly impacted by the number of hours of sleep deprivation you experience, the American Sleep Association reports. Working memory is the type of recall used during goal-directed activities that require the retention and manipulation of information for completion, according to a 2018 article published by Frontiers in Psychology

The more sleep deprived you are, the more difficulty you are likely to experience remembering how to perform ordinary tasks throughout your day, such as following simple instructions or including the right ingredients in your cooking.

Muscle Fatigue

Reduced physical strength is another sign of sleep deprivation, according to Cedars-Sinai. The American Sleep Association also explains that when you have continuous muscular activity—without enough rest and recovery—cramping, muscle fascia tears, hernias, and other problems related to physical overexertion can occur. These issues have been observed in cases of severe sleep deprivation.

Think you may have a sleep disorder? Start your journey to more restful sleep TODAY.

Untreated sleep disorders can negatively affect your physical and emotional health. Sleep testing can help you get the answers you need to receive the treatment you deserve. WebMD Connect to Care Advisors are standing by to help.