Feeling Deprived? 5 Warning Signs of Sleep Deprivation

Many people believe that doctors have said you have to get at least eight hours of sleep to be productive. It’s a common belief that a doctor’s recommended 8-hours-of-sleep is required to be productive.

And yet we all know many people–and others still have proven it themselves–who have lead productive days and lives on far less sleep each night.

That means the whole “eight hours of sleep” schpeel is kind of debunked.

If eight hours isn’t the mark, then what is?

Well, any amount of sleep is better than getting none.


Some people can function on five hours while others need the full eight hours of sleep; but most people agree that you can’t function at your peak if you’re getting no sleep at all.

The sad reality is that some people miss out on good sleep quality and duration. While most people take sleep for granted, many unfortunately suffer from what’s known as “sleep deprivation.”

50-70 million people in the U.S. alone suffer from one or more sleep disorders. Of those people, 10 million remain undiagnosed.


suffer from one or more sleep disorders. Of those people, 10 million remain undiagnosed.

10 million people struggle with getting enough–or any–sleep and have absolutely no clue why.

Since sleep is so important, why is it that some people are deprived of it? What is the cause and the treatment? Is there anything that you can do to prevent the symptoms?

Considering numerous people suffer from sleep deprivation and many don’t have any answers, we decided to delve deep into the topic and uncover the signs of sleep deprivation.

Memory Issues

While you’re sleeping, it’s not only your body that relaxes but also your mind.

Kind of.

During that time, the brain develops connections that help you remember and process new information. So although you’re sleeping, your brain is busy processing the information from the day and forming new memories.

If you can’t remember which outfit you bought last week, that doesn’t mean that there’s anything necessarily wrong with your brain.

However, Doctors have stated that sleeping is crucial to long-term memory.

When the National Institutes of Health researched mice, they discovered that sleep helped them to clear toxic molecules from the brain.

Lack of sleep impairs your brain’s ability to keep the nervous system clear–negatively impacting your short- and long-term memory as a result. 

One of the things that happen during sufficient sleep is the consolidation of memories, which is what makes a memory “stick” and lets you recall it later.

Your brain becoming foggy is one of the things that happens when you haven’t had enough sleep.

If you’re struggling to remember important things that happened a few days or weeks ago, that’s a good sign of sleep deprivation.

Weight Gain

Who would’ve thought that gaining weight was a sign that you’re sleep deprived?

Turns out, it’s true. Although it’s certain foods that make you gain weight, the reason for the consumption can be linked to sleep.

How so?

Why your weight would go up is actually quite interesting.

How do you know when to eat or when to go to the bathroom?

You listen to your body, right?

Your body tells you by the signals it sends, which makes you react. If you’re hungry, your stomach might rumble. It’s through the transmission of chemical signals that you know you’re full.

Here’s what happens when you haven’t gotten enough sleep.

Those chemicals are off-balance.

That leads to confusion.

Although you’ve eaten enough to feel full, you’re more likely to overindulge due to the chemicals being off-balance.

So it’s your brain that tells you that you’re full and not your stomach. If your brain doesn’t get energy from sleep, it will try to get it from food.

Lack of sleep results in the production of ghrelin, a hunger hormone. Excessive amounts of ghrelin result in you craving fatty and sugary foods.

Although you get exercise to keep your body fit, don’t be surprised if you overdo it next time at the fridge when you have gotten enough sleep.

Mood Changes

Ever find yourself getting cranky without having a valid reason? One of the signs that you are sleep deprived is when your emotions are all over the place.

Most people who are sleep deprived experience their emotions getting out of control. When you find yourself getting moody, emotional and quick-tempered, you could be sleep deprived. The unfortunate thing is that it doesn’t stop there.

It could lead to having anxiety or depression and can end up escalating. Doctors stated that some people would become over-reactive to emotional stimuli.

Matters that didn’t bother those people in the past, such as a work deadline of being cut off in traffic, could result in severe anger or sadness.

Some doctors said that the reactions could also go in the opposite direction. Instead of becoming upset and having anxiety, some people will be slap-happy and giddy.

What’s interesting to note is that your mood can also affect your sleep. It seems like it’s a vicious cycle. If you don’t get enough sleep, then you could be in a bad mood, which will negatively affect your sleep.

Basically, if you find that your mood is constantly changing or that you can’t explain why you feel the way you do, a good reason could be that you’re not getting enough sleep.

Frequent Sickness

Yes, it’s true. You can become sick if you don’t get enough sleep. Lack of sleep affects your immune system.

Research has proven that people who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to get sick after exposure to a virus. Lack of sleep impedes the body from being able to fight off infections. Doctors say that you might find it hard to get rid of a cold.

It gets worse. Lack of sleep affects your recovery time once sick.


  • Your immune system releases a protein called cytokines, some of which promote sleep
  • When you’re sick or have inflammation, certain cytokines need to increase
  • Sleep deprivation causes the production of these protective cytokines to decline
  • Infection-fighting antibodies reduce during sleep deprivation periods

Over a long-term period, lack of sleep can have devastating consequences for your health. It increases your risk of diabetes, obesity, as well as heart and blood vessel disease.

Not getting enough sleep could result in your body lowering its defenses against viruses.

Motor Skills

Having trouble getting around because you’re stumbling all over the place? That could be because you’re not getting enough sleep.

If you trip over a step once a day, it might mean that you’re a bit of a klutz. Do that a few times in a day, and it might be because you’re not able to focus. Some doctors stated that when you’ve experienced a lack of sleep that there’s a lapse in how you neurologically function.


What does that mean?

That means you have a lowered reaction time. The other thing that happens is that you struggle to concentrate during movement.

Here’s an example:

Let’s say that you walk up and down a lot of stairs in a day. That is a lot of movement. With sleep deprivation, you struggle to process that rapid movement and end up tripping over the stairs due to delayed reaction time and the inability to focus on what you’re doing.

Also, with a lot of movement, you become fatigued quicker when you have missed out on sleep than you normally would.

You might even become disoriented and uncertain of where you are if you’ve walked around a lot. Some people have also reported feeling dizzy.

Who’s Affected?

The sad news is that sleep deprivation affects many people. The fortunate thing is that there are signs that show you are suffering from a lack of sleep.

We have mentioned some of those.

On average, it takes a person 10 to 15 minutes to fall asleep. If it takes you only a few minutes, that’s a good sign that you’re sleep-deprived. Fortune Magazine reported that lack of sleep costs the United States $411 billion in productivity per year.

The Sleepless Statistics

A media outlet reported that 9 million Americans take prescription drugs to help them fall asleep.

Think that you’re alone when it comes to deprivation? Think again. Many people are suffering from it, and there are certain measures that you can take to prevent it.

If you experience any of the signs that we mentioned above or others that seem irregular, you should consult a doctor immediately. Lack of sleep not only has a negative impact on your personal and professional life, but it also affects your health.


  1. https://www.sleepadvisor.org/sleep-statistics/
  2. https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/sleep-deprivation-effects-on-memory#1
  3. https://www.healthline.com/health/sleep-deprivation/effects-on-body#3
  4. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/insomnia/expert-answers/lack-of-sleep/faq-20057757
  5. https://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20906153,00.html
  6. https://fortune.com/2016/11/30/sleep-productivity-rand-corp-411-billion/
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