What Is Sleep Deprivation?

December 15, 2021

What Is Sleep Deprivation?

What Is Sleep Deprivation? 

We've all gone through and can remember a time we were in a zombie-like state after a night of minimal sleep. Even just one night of insufficient sleep can impair your thinking, disrupt your body's biological processes, and impact energy levels. In this article we answer the question; what is sleep deprivation and discuss the consequences of sleep deprivation.  

Meaning of Sleep Deprivation

Sleep deprivation is when you don't get the sleep you need, usually around 7-9 hours each night. It is estimated that over one-third of American adults suffer from insufficient sleep—a problem that, unfortunately, has only gotten worse over the years. 

Types of Sleep Deprivation

Sleep deprivation and sleep insufficiency can be categorized in a few different ways: 

  • Acute sleep deprivation: This is defined as a short period (one to three days) when a person has a significant reduction in their total sleep time. 
  • Chronic sleep deprivation: Also referred to as insufficient sleep syndrome—this persist for three months or longer. 
  • Chronic sleep deficiency: This can describe ongoing sleep deprivation as well as poor sleep. 

Lack of sleep impacts how we think, feel, and act. While the short-term impacts are more apparent, over-time sleep deprivation can dramatically increase the risk of developing serious long-term diseases.   

Consequences of Sleep Deprivation 

The consequences of sleep deprivation can be serious and far-reaching. For example, according to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, each year nearly 100,000 traffic crashes can be directly attributed to drowsy driving resulting in more than 70,000 serious injuries and 1,500 deaths. 

Chronic sleep deprivation can also contribute to a number of health problems. Such as: 

  • Diabetes: Lack of sleep affects the body's ability to regulate blood sugar levels which can increase the risk of developing diabetes. 
  • Cardiovascular disease: Research shows there is a strong correlation between sleep deprivation and different forms of cardiovascular disease like high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke. 
  • Obesity: People who are sleep deficient tend to consume more calories and more carbohydrates which can lead to weight gain. 
  • Low levels of testosterone: Little-to-no sleep can negatively affect testosterone levels
  • Immunodeficiency: Sleep deprivation has been linked to a weekend immune response. 
  • Mental health disorders: Sleep insufficiency can increase your risk of developing depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder.  

It should come as no surprise that lack of sleep is linked to a lower quality of life and an increased risk of death. The CDC (Center for Disease Control and prevention) states that over 6,000 deaths are caused each year by drowsy driving. Furthermore, sleep deprivation is thought to add over $400 billion in productivity loses and healthcare cost in the United States alone each year. 

Learn To Spot Sleep Deprivation  

There are many symptoms of sleep deprivation. These include: 

Getting Diagnosed With Sleep Deprivation 

Your doctor can often diagnose sleep deprivation just by discussing your symptoms with you. This, however, may not always reap the greatest result. Meet Reveal, the world's first online insomnia quiz that is powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and has questions formulated by licensed therapist. Reveal can give you a percentage-based diagnosis and then recommend the most appropriate next steps to take.

What Is Sleep Deprivation?

This can include supplement recommendations like Easy Sleep, helpful tips and content, and even connecting live 1-on-1 with one of our therapist. 


Even just one night of poor sleep can impair your thinking, disrupt your body's biological processes, and impact energy levels. 

Sleep deprivation is when you don't get the recommended amount of sleep each night (7-9 hours). Over one-third of adult Americans suffer from insufficient sleep. 

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