Sleep deprivation symptoms

Sleep deprivation symptoms - what happens if you don't get enough sleep

A healthy sleep is vital to us. However, as soon as you suffer from insomnia for a long period of time, little sleep can have serious consequences for your health. In this article we will show you how sleep disorders manifest themselves and which symptoms a disturbed sleep can have.

Getting enough sleep is as important to us as eating healthy. If we fall asleep properly and stay asleep, our immune system, organs and muscles can regenerate. Even our brain works on the back burner during sleep in order to process the sensory impressions of the day. So sleep is extremely important not only for our bodies but also for our minds. On average, we sleep almost a third of our lives. Normally, we should be rested and fit for the day in the morning and start our morning routines with energy. For many people, however, the start of the day with little sleep looks different. Because they suffer from Difficulty falling asleep or difficulty sleeping through the night and thus feel limp and tired and are unable to concentrate and demotivated due to their sleep disorders (e.g. insomnia) During the day they suffer from chronic fatigue due to lack of sleep and in the evening they cannot sleep. Little sleep really wears you down and steals both performance potential and quality of life.

woman wakes up happy

Typically, we should sleep seven to eight hours a night to fully recover. Lack of sleep or sleep deprivation robs your body of the opportunity to recover, which is why it is out of its natural balance. If sleep is shorter than six hours, not only sleep disorders, but also depression, headaches, migraines and stress can be the result.


1. Symptom of insomnia: You look damn tired - make up for a lack of sleep

Dark eye rims, reddened eyes, pale skin: sleep disorders, difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep disorders are reflected in your face at some point. At first you can hide the traces caused by sleep disorders with make-up, but the tired eyes cannot be hidden for long. Those who suffer from insomnia over the long term quickly resort to sleeping pills, which can, however, exacerbate the sleep problems. Many sleeping pills (e.g. benzodiazepines) develop dangerous tolerance and dependency very quickly when taken regularly, which can have serious health consequences.

woman wakes up badly rested

If in doubt, those affected should therefore consult their doctor or a sleep laboratory. Because: Chronic lack of sleep and the associated symptoms can also be caused by illnesses. Such disturbed sleep behavior can have many reasons. These include narcolepsy, snoring, breathing disorders, teeth grinding, sleep apnea and parasomnias, which can only be determined in a sleep laboratory. Another cause of chronic sleep problems is sleepwalking. Many people, especially children, sleepwalk in their sleep without realizing it.


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2. Sleep disorder symptoms: You are irritable and stressed

The phone rings all the time, the computer goes nuts, your colleagues are annoying: If you explode because of every little thing, it could be due to a sleep disorder. Sleep disorders make you in a bad mood. The more often people suffer from lack of sleep, the more sensitive and irritable they are. This is mainly because the emotional center of your brain is being jumbled up. Your emotional life is literally upside down due to your sleep disorders. Sleep problems mean that you can no longer properly assess certain situations due to your tiredness, which is why you put every word on the famous gold scales. According to researchers, stress and chronic irritability are also bad for the heart. Sleep disorders are also considered to be stress triggers, as you are constantly worrying about whether you will have sleep problems the following night or not. If you often feel tense or irritable during the day, natural nutrients can be a valuable support in addition to sleep and relaxation methods.

stressed woman holding her head 

3. Symptom of Sleep disorders: Du indulge in daydreaming

If you stare into space for minutes without fixing a certain point, it may be because you have trouble sleeping. Daydreams and daytime sleepiness are a retreat from everyday life if you have sleep problems. If everything becomes too much for you and drowsiness takes over, your brain switches to "sleep mode" and tries not to overload itself with it.

While you overcome the early morning tiredness with several cups of coffee, the need for sleep increases during the day due to your sleep disorders. You suffer from daytime sleepiness, poor concentration and mood swings caused by sleep disorders, which is why you can hardly concentrate.

Since it is difficult to keep your sleep times at work, you sleep with your eyes open. Psychologists call this phenomenon “task-unrelated thought”. Although your brain never sleeps, you don't seem to be thinking of anything when you daydream. Due to your lack of sleep, daydreams put you in a kind of meditative state of consciousness, which is also known as hypersomnia (addiction to sleep).

 guy sleeps in the bus

4. Sleep deprivation symptoms: You suffer from daytime sleepiness and poor concentration

Many people who have difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep after going to bed have a bad one sleep hygiene and sleeping habits. Sleep hygiene is a set of behaviors that have a positive effect on your sleep. If your sleep hygiene is poor, a lack of sleep or a sleep disorder becomes more likely. Many people have irregular bedtimes, rush from one appointment to another during the day, drink tons of coffee and fail to hear the signals from their body that indicate hypersomnia.

The fact is: Anyone who has problems falling asleep after going to bed is not rested in the morning and complains of fatigue. Especially if he wants to eliminate sleep disorders with certain unnatural sleeping pills or alcohol, which can shorten the duration of sleep, impair the quality of sleep and increase daytime sleepiness.

woman works on laptop

If your sleep hygiene is not right, not only will your concentration and judgment dwindle - your performance will also decrease. Since the brain shifts down a gear due to hypersomnia because it needs the energy to maintain vital processes, those affected find it difficult to make decisions and process emotions due to their difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep.

It becomes really dangerous when you drive your car when you are tired. As soon as you fall asleep behind the wheel, the effects of insomnia can be fatal. In Germany alone, 25 percent of accidents are caused by sleep disorders.


5. Insufficient Sleep Symptoms: You are hungry and gain weight quickly

Even if you do sports and eat healthy, your sleep disorders will affect your hips in the long term. This is due to the appetite-stimulating hormone ghrelin, which is increasingly produced due to poor sleep hygiene. At the same time, the production of the hormone leptin, which suppresses your feeling of hunger, is reduced. Chronic sleep disorders lead to food cravings that can hardly be satisfied.

Poor nutrition can eventually lead to further symptoms such as high blood pressure or heart disease. Many also use alcohol to help them fall asleep better in the evening. However, alcohol not only disrupts the metabolism, which can lead to even more obesity, it also inhibits the quality of sleep. So there can be no question of rest in bed either.

dark chocolate cravings 

6. Sleep deprivation symptome: Your immune system is weak

Those who suffer from insomnia are more prone to infections. Poor sleep hygiene and a jumbled circadian rhythm actually make you sick. A study by the University of California in San Francisco even confirmed that people who slept for less than six hours were significantly more susceptible to colds than others.The risk was even greater for people who slept for less than five hours.


7. Consequences of lack of sleep: You do not feel like having sex

Sleep disorders not only affect your immune system - they also have a negative effect on your libido. This particularly affects men whose testosterone levels are falling due to insomnia. Studies have shown that manpower drops 15 percent when men sleep less than five hours in a week.That makes a fulfilling sex life unlikely.

woman sitting listlessly outside

8. Lack of sleep affects the body: You often use caffeinated drinks

When you are tired and have insomnia, you often resort to coffee to compensate for the lack of sleep and to get through the day. Caffeine is almost an everyday drug for people who suffer from sleep problems, especially difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep.

The pick-me-up works relatively quickly because the caffeine reaches the brain via the blood. There it blocks the release of adenosine. This is a messenger substance that makes us tired. However, if we drink too much of it, not only palpitations and nervousness, but also sleep disorders can be the result. Coffee and the associated release of adenosine stimulates the formation of the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol, which releases enormous energy reserves. As soon as the coffee's effect wears off, we feel even more tired, which is why we resort to coffee again to counteract daytime sleepiness. A vicious circle begins.

In this case, the daily dose of 400mg caffeine should not be exceeded in order to avoid problems with blood pressure (e.g. high blood pressure) or heart disease.

Morning coffee 

9. Headache from lack of sleep - lack of sleep affects psyche

People with poor sleep hygiene, who sleep less than six hours a day or who suffer from permanent sleep disorders, often complain of tension headaches. Statistically, 75 percent of sleep deprived patients experience frequent headaches. Two thirds of patients already complain of headaches in the morning, which worsen during the day. The same is true of migraines, where visual disturbances precede headaches. Conversely, sleep disorders and a disturbed circadian rhythm can also be a result of headaches.3

Chronic sleep disorders are even considered a cause of depressive moods and stress, because we use up all energy reserves, so that we feel empty and burned out. The interplay is caused by a disturbed circadian rhythm Melatonin and serotonin out of whack. Serotonin, on the other hand, has a huge impact on our mood and has been heavily linked to depression. Depression manifests itself through fears, dejection and drive disorders, which in the worst case can lead to suicide.

woman sitting depressed in front of the window 

10. Consequences of lack of sleep: You suffer from blemished skin

Sleep is a real fountain of youth. The term beauty sleep is not so far removed from reality. Those who suffer from lack of sleep due to shift work often complain of blemished skin. This is because the nightly release of growth hormones is disturbed. These hormones are used to regenerate our skin. If we have too little of it due to lack of sleep, the skin appears dry, thin and wrinkled. In many cases it is covered with pimples that make you feel like you're back in puberty.



Sleep disorders, often triggered by poor sleep hygiene, sleep apnea, narcolepsy, sleeping pills or shift work, are not uncommon. The causes of poor sleep are extremely diverse. If left untreated, poor sleep can quickly affect performance and wellbeing.

Therefore, you should make sure that you are at night sleep better can. Certain Sleep rituals, such as a bedtime relaxation technique, are a way to improve sleep and help you fall asleep better. Another way to manage the causes of insomnia is to keep a sleep diary.

A sleep diary can help you to understand the causes and possible illnesses and, if necessary, to have the symptoms responsible for your poor sleep evaluated in a sleep laboratory. As soon as the causes and disorders of your insomnia (insomnia) are known, you will be able to fall asleep better at night and have a deep, peaceful sleep with the help of sleep rituals, medication (sleep-promoting) and a treatment tailored to you.



¹Melatonin helps alleviate the subjective feeling of jet lag. Melatonin helps reduce the time it takes to fall asleep.



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