Sleep deprivation is a common sleep disorder that usually affects adults. We spoke to Steven Y. Park, M.D., board-certified otolaryngology surgeon and author of the book "Sleep, Interrupted: A Physician Reveals The #1 Reason Why So Many Of Us Are Sick And Tired," for one approach to the medical problems you or your loved one may suffer from when trying to sleep.
If you think you might have sleep deprivation, use this as a reference point before getting personalized medical advice from your doctor or other accredited sleep expert. --Wendy Gould
Sleep deprivation results when you don't get enough sleep and are tired as a result. It can affect your quality of life, your health or your mood. Memory and executive function can be severely impaired. You'll also feel excessively tired or sleepy during the day.
Get Adequate Sleep"Most people need anywhere from seven to eight hours of sleep for optimal health," says Dr. Park. "Getting less than six hours regularly has been shown to significantly increase your risk of depression, diabetes and heart disease. Even mild degrees of sleep deprivation are dangerous."
Set A Consistent ScheduleDr. Park recommends that patients "go to bed at regular times and wake up at regular intervals, sleeping your ideal number of hours." Setting a consistent schedule helps you fall asleep more easily once you're in bed and wake up feeling refreshed.
Take A Nap"If possible, taking short naps in the mid- to late afternoon can help. Most people just drink lots of coffee, but a 15- to 30-minute nap is just as effective and better for your health," Dr. Park explains.
Use Your Bed For Sleeping Only"Refrain from eating, drinking, reading or watching TV in bed," Dr. Park advises. "This trains your body to fall asleep quicker since it associates the bed with sleeping instead of other activities."
Determine The Cause Of Poor Sleep"If you get an adequate amount of sleep and have a consistent sleeping schedule," explains Dr. Park, "your sleep deprivation is likely caused by poor sleep quality. In most cases, this is due to an inability to breathe properly at night. As a result, you'll keep waking up from deep to light sleep, never able to achieve deep, restorative sleep." Dr. Park advises that you speak to your doctor to determine the cause of your sleep deprivation.
Steven Y. Park, M.D., is a board-certified otolaryngology surgeon and author of the book "Sleep, Interrupted: A Physician Reveals The #1 Reason Why So Many Of Us Are Sick And Tired." In addition to serving as a Clinical Assistant Professor of Otolaryngology at the New York Medical College, Dr. Park is a member of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the American Academy of Otolaryngology.
Have you ever suffered from a sleep disorder? What worked for you?