Table of contents
Sleeplay logo

About us

Sleeplay helps you achieve the best and deepest sleep during the night. If you suffer from snoring or sleep apnea, CPAP machines are the solution. Find here the top brands in the market like ResMed and Philips Respironics.

All You Need to Know about Sleep Deprivation

Jun 27, 2023
· 8 mins read

Sleep is essential for our bodies to work properly in all stages of life, but plenty of people struggle getting a full amount of sleep. This results in sleep deprivation, which can cause significant negative effects on our physical and mental health, brain function, and emotional well-being

Continue reading to learn more about sleep deprivation and how it can be treated effectively.

What Is Sleep Deprivation?

Our bodies are ruled by their own internal clock, called the circadian rhythm, which regulates various physiological processes in a 24-hour cycle. Our brains respond to the perception of light and darkness to regulate certain biological functions, such as sleep, metabolism, and hormone production. 

A good night’s sleep and a healthy sleep cycle are fundamental for maintaining a healthy circadian rhythm, which in turn is important for preventing health problems and promoting wellbeing.

sleep deprivation

Sleep deprivation is a condition that affects millions of people worldwide, and it occurs when an individual does not get enough sleep, either due to their lifestyle, work demands, medical conditions or mental health-related issues. 

The amount of sleep you need every night is mainly going to depend on your age. However, some people can need more or less sleep than others to feel well-rested and not experience daytime sleepiness

According to sleep specialists, the National Sleep Foundation and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, these are the sleep time recommendations for every age group:

  • •Newborns: 14 to 17 hours of sleep a day
  • •Infants: 12 to 16 hours of sleep a day
  • •Children from 1 to 5 years of age: 10 to 14 hours of sleep a day
  • •School-aged children: 9 to 12 hours of sleep a day
  • •Adolescents: 8 to 10 hours of sleep a day
  • •Adults: 7 to 9 hours of sleep a day.

In children up to 5 years of age, naps are included in the recommended sleep duration, while in people 6 years and older only nighttime sleep is taken into account.

Sleep deprivation can affect anyone, regardless of their age, sex or ethnicity, but it seems that pregnant women, infants and young children are more susceptible to its side effects. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around one third of adults in the United States report having insufficient sleep. And according to the NIH, around 40% of adults state that they fall asleep during the day without meaning to at least once a month.

What Is the Difference Between Sleep Deprivation and Insomnia?

Even though sleep deprivation and insomnia can be intertwined, they are two distinct sleep disorders. Insomnia is characterized by difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, and it can be caused by several factors, such as stress, anxiety, depression, chronic and acute health problems, and certain medications.

Sleep deprivation is not getting enough sleep, regardless of the cause. You can experience acute sleep deprivation because you stayed up all night watching movies and had to wake up early in the morning the next day, or you can experience chronic sleep deprivation because you do shift work.

sleep deprivation

Sleep deprivation can be a consequence of insomnia, and both are a disturbance of your sleep patterns, can be caused by your sleep habits, and have negative effects on your physical and mental health.

What Are the Causes of Sleep Deprivation?

While there are many factors that can contribute to sleep deprivation, identifying the causes is crucial to finding an effective solution. Here are some of the most common causes of sleep deprivation:

Lifestyle factors:

Life can be too demanding on our bodies sometimes, and certain situations, such as shift work, busy schedule, working long hours, and frequently participating in nighttime social activities can interfere with our ability to get adequate sleep.

Other lifestyle factors related to sleep deprivation are excessive alcohol consumption, and the use of stimulants such as caffeine, black tea and energy drinks, later in the day.

Having bad sleep habits, such as having an irregular sleep schedule can disrupt your natural sleep-wake cycle, which makes it more difficult for you to fall asleep and stay asleep during the night.

Inadequate sleep environment:

If your bedroom tends to be loud and illuminated at night, or if it tends to get too hot or too cold, it’s going to be harder for you to fall asleep and get a sufficient amount of sleep.

Sleep disorders:

People suffering from sleep problems such as insomnia, obstructive sleep apnea, and restless leg syndrome are at an increased risk of having sleep deprivation.

Medical problems:

People with chronic medical conditions, such as chronic pain, heart disease, neurological disorders, respiratory disorders, and cancer are more likely to have a low quality of sleep, which can result in sleep deprivation.

Also, the use of certain medications, especially allergy medications, corticosteroids, medication for mental health disorders, such as antidepressants, and other stimulant drugs, such as Adderall, can also cause poor sleep quality.

Smart device distraction:

Excessive exposure to the blue light emitted by electronic devices, such as smartphones, computers and tablets, at nighttime can interfere with your body’s production of melatonin, making it harder for you to fall asleep.

What Are the Symptoms of Sleep Deprivation?

Whether you are experiencing sleep deprivation due to lifestyle habits, medical conditions, or other factors, it can cause several symptoms that affect your day-to-day life. Understanding these symptoms is crucial in identifying the problem and taking steps to improve the quality of your sleep.

The bodies and brains of people who are sleep deprived don’t have the opportunity to undergo the restorative process that happens while we sleep. Some of the most common symptoms that derive from this are: 

Constant yawning:

This is one of the earlier symptoms of acute deprivation. Yawning is a natural reflex, and its main function is to increase oxygen intake and regulate brain temperature. People who are sleep deprived yawn constantly during the day as an attempt from their bodies to compensate for the lack of restorative sleep.


People who experience sleep deprivation often tend to fall asleep or experience microsleeps when they are not actively engaging in a physical activity. This can lead to falling asleep while working and drowsy driving.

Cognitive impairment:

Sleep loss can interfere with your ability to focus for long periods of time, and it can also affect other brain functions, causing impaired memory, judgment and decision-making, slowed reaction times and decreased performance at school and work. People experiencing sleep deprivation can have issues processing information, solving problems and completing tasks.

Emotional distress:

A less than optimal amount of sleep can worsen your mood, and make you have unpredictable or abnormal reactions to situations that wouldn’t have bothered you otherwise. People with sleep deprivation also tend to have issues regulating their emotions, resulting in mood swings. This can have a big impact on interpersonal relationships and mental wellness.

Physical symptoms:

People with sleep deprivation usually feel that they have less physical strength, and they can also experience headaches and muscle aches at a much higher rate than people who consistently have a good night of sleep.

The symptoms of sleep deprivation can vary from one person to another, and they are going to depend on their age, sex and underlying medical conditions. For example, older adults are more likely to experience daytime sleepiness than younger people, due to the higher prevalence of sleep interruptions in that age group.

older person tired

What Are the Effects of Sleep Deprivation?

Sleep deprivation can be detrimental to your physical and mental health, and it has a negative impact on your overall quality of life. There are short-term and long-term effects of sleep deprivation, the most common of which are:

Susceptibility to infections:

Sleep deprivation hinders the functions of the cells and signals of your immune system, making you more prone to catch an infection, and once you get an infection, it will take longer for it to resolve.

Weight gain:

Lack of sleep increases your appetite and diminishes fullness signals. This results in overeating and increased fat storage. People with sleep deprivation are more likely to struggle with obesity.

Chronic health conditions:

Sleep deprivation negatively affects your long-term health. Individuals who are chronically sleep-deprived are at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes mellitus, high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, heart attacks, strokes, and hormone imbalances.

Sleep deprivation has also been associated with mental health disorders, such as anxiety, depression, and even visual and auditory hallucinations in those who experience extreme sleep deprivation.

Diminished pain threshold:

People who have chronic pain often feel that their pain worsens when they are sleep deprived. This creates a vicious cycle in which the worsening pain interrupts sleep, and the lack of sleep increases pain perception.

Reduced fertility:

Insufficient sleep can decrease the production of hormones related to fertility, such as estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. Also, a lack of sleep can decrease sex drive.

How to Treat Sleep Deprivation?

The treatment for sleep deprivation will mostly depend on its cause and the factors that contribute to it. By understanding the cause of your sleep deprivation, as well as the different treatment options available, you can make informed decisions on how to improve the quality of your sleep and lead a healthier life.

These are some of the options you can try if you are experiencing sleep deprivation:

Sleep hygiene practices:

More often than not, sleep deprivation is caused by lifestyle factors, and the way to combat this is to make sleep a priority. Sleep hygiene practices are everything we do before we go to sleep to ensure a good night's rest. 

To have a good sleep hygiene is recommended to have a consistent sleep schedule, stop using electronic devices 60 minutes before laying in bed; avoid doing activities other than sleeping and engaging in sexual relations while in bed, as well as using stimulants later in the day.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and relaxation techniques:

In the case of insomnia, CBT can help create habits to solve the difficulties around sleep. And relaxation techniques, such as meditation and breathing exercises, can help reduce the stress that people with insomnia often feel around bedtime.


Some people with insomnia that’s difficult to treat and underlying health conditions may need some help from sedative and hypnotic medications, and supplements such as melatonin pills, to be able to get enough sleep. These medications need to be taken under doctor’s instructions as they can cause adverse effects.

CPAP therapy:

CPAP machines are the prime treatment for obstructive sleep apnea, which is a condition that causes your breathing to stop and start repeatedly throughout the night, resulting in micro-awakenings and sleep deprivation

CPAP therapy can also decrease snoring, so it not only improves the quality of your sleep, but also the sleep of your bed partner and roommates.

At Sleeplay we have the best CPAP machines, CPAP masks and supplies to help you sleep better and improve your quality of life, and the quality of life of those around you.

Sleep deprivation is experienced by hundreds of millions of people around the world, and it can have devastating effects on our physical and mental health if left untreated. Fortunately, there are plenty of treatment options you can try to improve or completely avoid the negative effects associated with sleep deprivation.


View Product
Best Seller
Front view of the ResMed AirSense 11 CPAP Machine.

ResMed AirSense™ 11 AutoSet™ CPAP Machine

$1,004.00 $1,299.00 22.71%

free shipping

If you believe that you may be experiencing sleep deprivation due to an undiagnosed sleep disorder or underlying health conditions, you should contact your healthcare provider, so they can conduct a physical examination and the necessary tests.

Sleep apnea is one of those factors that can lead to sleep deprivation. If you suspect you are experiencing it, don't wait any longer and schedule a consultation for a home study. And visit Sleeplay to get the best options to combat sleep apnea and sleep deprivation through CPAP machines.

Join the conversation!, login and comment.

Get Our Free E-book

Get your guide to understanding sleep apnea, adjusting to CPAP machines, and choosing the right masks for your needs.