How Does Lack of Sleep Affect You?

Many people seem to have problems getting sufficient sleep, there are plenty of articles published regularly that explain the modern, 24/7 lifestyle as being inappropriate for getting a decent night’s rest. The most ‘popular’ effects are usually bad driving, cognitive impairment, over-eating, and other unwelcome and unhealthy general bad stuff that you’d prefer not to have.

I put the above as lazy journalism and was wondering what the Straight Dope of being sleep-deprived is. Are there commonalities that have escaped the wider public because those who suffer from them are too forgetful or just too tired to answer to the poll? Rather than looking for generic risks of not getting enough shut-eye, I’m wondering if those who don’t sleep as much as they need have some common traits in their lives which a simple poll wouldn’t uncover.

For example; those who are sleep-deprived pay more for their car insurance, are generally more likely to be professionals, are more likely to be members of the NRA, are less likely to be out of work, are more likely to be serial monogamists, prefer Japanese cars, have newer phones, older friends, and are more/less comfortable with online surveys? Could sleep issues only occur when sharing a bed? Do you benefit from having your own bed, with a temperature and lack of/abundance of light that cannot be continued with a partner who has his/her own sleep issues?

Poll is for those who are/have been affected by a lack of sleep so as to be detrimental to their day-to-day lives.

Trouble is, the functional, everyday sleep deprived who are not under medical care, are not registered as such, and that makes it hard to study them.

I was a night owl all my life. Worked nights, slept till noon most days. This worked wonderfully for me for 30 yrs as sleep deprivation brings out the worst in me.

Then came menopause. The few years of inconsistent sleep, disrupted patterns and uncomfortable night sweats were hard enough. But then my world just turned upside down. I could no longer sleep for 8 or more hrs. I struggle to sleep six now!

And, in the evilest twist of all, I am now a damned morning person! Up with the sun. It is insufferable to be honest. When it started I would not only wake up before daybreak but I would immediately be fiercely angry because I was awake. And, of course, ain’t no going back to sleep if you’re pissed. I slowly learned to calm that, avoid the anger. But most attempts to force myself back to sleep ended up leaving me with a headache or a pained neck! So irritating!

Now, I still don’t like it, but I’ve accepted it is what it is. So I shuffle around in a silent predawn world of darkness. When I manage to stay up past 11pm (the flip side of being up at dawn!) and sleep till, say, 8-9am, I’m dancing a jig with joy and bragging to anyone who will listen!

Getting older isn’t for wimps.

When I wake too early I also have negative thoughts, I’ve been wondering whether those negative thoughts are a consequence of waking too early or they’re a symptom of not getting enough sleep? I’ve had weeks of getting 2/3 hours sleep, weeks (on medication) of getting 8/9, and all of the variables in between. Conversely I sometimes wake up with plenty of energy on only 4 or 5 hours sleep, feeling very positive, and will crash late morning or early afternoon. I never suffer those consequences after 8+ hours, but will be neither overly optimistic or pessimistic.

I need a full 8 hours every night. If I don’t get it I feel like I have a terrible hangover. I can function with only 6 or 7 hours for one day but fortunately I sleep like a log so it’s pretty rare that I don’t get my 8 hours.

When I was younger I went without sleep without much affect. Now, every day is a struggle, I’m always tired. If I’m up 20 hours in the day I don’t think I’m fully awake for more than half of that.

Wow - I’m surprised how many people chose “numerous, varied issues”. Like most people, I’m reluctant to leave bed in the morning, but I wouldn’t say I’m sleep deprived. I get around six hours a night; without any obligations, I naturally switch to a semi-nocturnal schedule (go to bed at 3 or 4, wake up at noon).

My main problem is falling asleep - I’ll often get exhausted around 4 or 5 PM, but soldier on until 10. Then something weird happens and I get incredibly energized until after midnight.

That’s a big part of my problem. If I catch a nap early it just means I’ll be up longer in the end. I’m thinking that staying awake makes my body produce some of them chemical thingies to keep me going, and when it finally is late I’m all full of that home grown energy.

As a side note, I have improved the problem of waking up in the night and not getting back to sleep by taking a simple OTC acid reducer every night. I had a very frequent problem with GIRD that became more frequent over time so I started taking them, and started staying asleep longer. I suspect the GIRD was just enough to wake me up more frequently than I realized.

Usually, but not always, it takes 2-3 days in a row of bad sleep for me to feel any meaningful fatigue. So I’m lucky in that regards I guess. However that isn’t always true but in my experience if I only get 4 hours sleep (or even if I pull an all nighter) I am usually fine just so long as I get enough sleep the next night.

I have no trouble sleeping at all. It’s just that for the last three years I have had time only to sleep most days about 4-1/2 hours a night. The result is that at certain times of the day (early afternoon) I can’t think as clearly as I want–just more mechanically, enough to get things done, but not very creatively. So I’d say that lack of sleep makes me less creative. On those rare occasions when I can sleep more, my thinking because much more productive.

I’m pretty good, mentally, until I get 10, 12 hours beyond when I should have been asleep (been there more than once - including yesterday, due to a medical emergency)… At which point, I begin to have trouble focusing on anything, and get real irritable.

But, physically? My body gets weird pretty soon after I should have been asleep. I get heartburn. I have to pee like I’ve been drinking a diuretic all day. I have no idea why lack of sleep should do this, but it does.

In between there, I start getting dizzy at the slightest provocation.

elbows -

If your constant battle to sleep is a big enough problem, see a MD - at least get a real sleep study done.
A CPAP may cure your insomnia.

If not, there are pills - I use them, and now require them - they may or may not be preferable to the vodka and diphenhydramine I was using.

At least get the study done. In my case, in addition to not being able to get to sleep, I was also sleeping 14 hours/day because that is how long it took to get enough REM sleep (dreaming).

People that lack 8 to 10 hours of sleep a day suffer in a day of mental concentration and memory problems.

Person reflex is slower and short term memory is effected.

If you getting 10 hours a sleep or more and still have these problem you may have sleep Apnea or sleep insomnia.

May be make a appointment at sleep clinic so they can find out why you not getting 8 to 10 hours of sleep in a day.

The single greatest factor in my anxiety issues is lack of sleep. I have tried to think of 7.5 - 8 hours of sleep per night as my prescription for anxiety - there seems to be a direct correlation between how little sleep I get and how much anxiety I feel. The effect is cumulative, so a half hour less one night isn’t too much of a problem, but another half hour the next, and an hour the next, and pretty soon my anxiety is completely out of control. I also find that when I don’t get enough sleep I am usually able to function fairly well in the morning – I don’t have problems getting up and out – but by 2 or 3 in the afternoon, I am no longer able to focus effectively and unlikely to get much work done.

What’s even more troubling is that my anxiety tends to increase the night before a work day. So I cannot sleep because I’m thinking about work, which leads to not getting enough sleep for work, which leads to more anxiety and less sleep.

I sleep better on weekends.

None of the above. I get by on about 5 hours (I can manage on 4 or less - and kept this up for years).

Extreme tiredness will tend to skew my mood in a fairly unpredictable direction. Sometimes I will get very irritable, but other times, I could be very serene, or wickedly cynical. It can be fun, but not so much for the people around me.

I’m finding out right now. The past two nights I’ve gotten probably a total of 6 hours sleep because of a cough. Meds are doing shit and I even cough sitting up soooo…I’m in a pissy mood, I have constant headaches and I have a hard time staying focused. Working out awesome for me at my call center job lol

I almost always get 8 to 9 hours of sleep. Good sleep, as I don’t have any problems falling asleep or falling back to sleep if something wakes me. When I have an occasional night where iI sleep much less, I function okay. I don’t know how I would handle routine sleep deprivation. The reports of varied problems make sense to me.

Chronic long term insomniac most of the time. I consider 4 hours sleep as good as it gets. 2 hours sleep is typical with one decent night a week maybe at about 4 hours. I am tired most of the time but still have decent energy. I usually take a 1/2 hour nap at some point durring the day.

I had a 15 year stretch after my divorce where I slept like a rock for about 6 hours a night, I don’t think I even rolled over. Got back into a relationship and the insomnia came back.

When I have time off work (vacation time that has to be burned in December every year), i tend to evolve to a 3 AM to noon sleep schedule. When I don’t have time off, I still don’t tend to want to sleep before midnight and often later. Needless to say, this means I’m chronically sleep deprived.

Add to that, the fact that even when I do sleep it doesn’t work. I mean, I’m not in that “90 minutes of sleep makes me feel nauseous” mode, or “the world looks bleak without hope of improvement” mode of severe sleep quantity deprivation… I mean I literally never feel well rested.

All this is addressed (with varying degrees of success) by a combination of CPAP, and daytime and nighttime medications, but it definitely affects the entire family. The meds merely elevate me from “so sleepy it’s scaring me” to “very tired”.

More “normal” sleeplessness - e.g. up way too late one night - results in me being cranky, nearly-uncontrollable urge to eat, and definitely functioning worse than usual, but I’m usually fine the next day after a semi-normal (for me) amount of sleep.