5 Signs of Sleep Deprivation You Must Not Ignore


Are you the one who presses snooze button several times every morning or find it really necessary to sip on a cup of coffee, just to prevent being drowsy during midday hours in the office? Well, if your answer is ‘Yes,’ then you might have been suffering from sleep deprivation all along.

If we are busy or have some excruciatingly important deadlines to meet, sleep is usually the very first thing that we give up on. You might have heard people saying that you can peacefully sleep when you are dead. But, that’s simply irrational. You really need to sleep when you are very much alive too.

Several studies have shown that sleep deprivation could lead to myriads of health conditions, including diabetes, heart conditions and obesity. A study, conducted at Harvard University, revealed that “drowsy driving” is responsible for as many as 20% of all car accidents. [1]

Most doctors and experts recommend sleeping 7 to 9 hours a day. If you are sleeping much less than that on a regular basis, you might be convinced that you don’t need to sleep for much longer. But unfortunately, the health issues caused by prolonged sleep deprivation are much more than your incessant yawning.


Signs That You Are Seriously Sleep Deprived

Here are the signs that would tell your body is really, really sleep deprived:

You Have Rapid Mood Swings

If you tend to be cranky, irritated or unreasonably moody, then it might possibly be due to sleep deprivation. According to a study. Medical community has already conducted extensive research to uncover the association between sleep and mood. Researchers have discovered that prolonged sleep deprivation leads to various mood issues and disorders.

Individuals with anxiety issues or depression, also have trouble sleeping and they might develop insomnia. A study from Harvard University, also supports this fact. Sleep deprivation can make you feel upset about issues that are generally not a reason to be upset for normal people. Feeling sad or depressed might make it difficult for you to sleep, eventually forcing you to get entrapped in the vicious cycle of sleep deprivation and depression.[2]

You Have Trouble In Remembering and Processing Information

According to a study, sleep deprivation might also lead to brain fog, which can make it all the way difficult for you to stay focused in your office meetings. This happens because the hormones that control cognitive abilities lose their balance; thereby, making difficult to stay focused. [3]

Sleep deprivation causes cortisol level to spike (due to increased stress), which in turn, suppresses dopamine secretion. Cortisol manages body’s flight or fight response, whereas dopamine is primarily responsible for regulating motivation and desire. This explains why you have a hard time finishing your assignment when you have low levels of dopamine.

You Feel Stressed (Literally, All The Time)

Stress is an underestimated concept, but in reality, it is one serious issue. Lack of sleep might further exacerbate the stress. Chronic stress can increase your risk of developing a number of cardiovascular diseases.

According to a study, cortisol can really help you out when you in a dangerous situation. But unfortunately, increased cortisol levels for prolonged duration can lead to obesity, hormonal imbalance and difficulty in sleeping. You should exercise, have sufficient sleep, take adaptogen herbs and use essential oils to naturally reduce your cortisol levels. [4]

You Are Unnecessarily Gaining Pounds

Sleeping is necessary for both effectively losing and maintaining your weight. Sleep deprivation causes insulin to go out of whack. Once insulin sensitivity decreases, the body produces even more insulin. This excess insulin causes fat to be stored rather than being removed through blood.

This may lead to diabetes and weight gain. When you don’t sleep enough, two important hormones – ghrelin and leptin are affected. Ghrelin signals your brain when you are hungry, while leptin tells your brain that you are full. When you are sleep deprived, ghrelin makes you feel hungry more than usual. Thus, it takes longer for you to realize that you are full due to reduced leptin sensitivity.

You Crave For Sugary Foods and Carbs

Do you find yourself longing for chocolate or donut at 3 in the morning? Well, that is just a subtle sign that your body is sleep deprived. The fact is that these easily metabolized foods cause an instant yet much-needed surge in the energy levels.

But, within a short span of time, the sugar levels crash, making you carve for these foods even more. The reason behind this is ghrelin, which makes you feel more and more hungry. Not getting enough sleep thus make you look out for highly-processed, sugary stuffs rather than wholesome foods for an instant energy boost.


Experiencing 2 or more of such signs indicate that you have been sleep deprived for quite some time now. It is therefore advised to sleep for 7 to 9 hours every single day. Being stress-free and having a good night’s sleep is crucial for your overall health and wellbeing; as someone has rightly said:

“A good laugh and a long sleep are the two best cures for anything”