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What is sleep deprivation, how many hours do you need a night and what happens if you don’t get enough?

Posted on 22/09/2017 by


Sleep deprivation doesn't just leave you feeling grumpy, it can actually shorten your life expectancy

LACK of sleep can impact your health a lot more than you may realise – and that doesn’t just mean feeling grumpy in the morning.

A third of us suffer from sleep deprivation for a variety of reasons but some may not realise just how important a good night’s sleep for our body is – here’s the lowdown…

What is sleep deprivation?

Sleep deprivation is a common condition that can affect anyone and the consequences can have a huge effect on your physical and mental health.

Essentially, sleep deprivation is when someone doesn’t get enough shut eye or their sleep is poor and around one in three of us suffer from the disorder.

While an occasional night without sleep can make you feel irritable the next day, it won’t harm your health, but several sleepless nights can have a more serious effect.

According to the NHS website: “Your brain will fog, making it difficult to concentrate and make decisions. You’ll start to feel down, and may fall asleep during the day.

“Your risk of injury and accidents at home, work and on the road also increases.

“If it continues, lack of sleep can affect your overall health and make you prone to serious medical conditions, such as obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.”

Sleep deprivation affects one in three of us and it’s when someone doesn’t get enough sleep or has bad quality sleep

What are the symptoms of sleep deprivation?

The symptoms of can vary depending on how little sleep you have had, if you’ve had one sleepness night you’re likely to experience fatigue, lack of focus and a short temper.

However, if you’ve had a number of sleepness night you’ll probably suffer from:

  • a foggy brain
  • difficulty concentrating
  • poor decision making
  • feeling down
  • falling asleep during the day
  • more at risk of injuring yourself or others, particularly on the road
  • in more extreme cases you can become prone to high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease and diabetes

Recently, Brits have been struggling to get to sleep because of the hot weather.

Here are our best tips for keeping cool in bed. 

How many hours of sleep do you need a night?

There isn’t a definitive answer for this as each person is different but most people need around eight hours of solid sleep each night to function properly.

The amount of hours can vary but only you will know how many you need and you should try and ensure you get that every evening.

If you’re not sure, the general rule is if you wake up tired and spend the day wanting a nap, then you haven’t had enough sleep.

Continuous nights of no sleep can actually drastically shorten your life expectancy, which is why it’s important to get a good night’s sleep each night.


  1. Sleep boosts immunity
  2. Sleep can slim you
  3. Sleep boosts mental wellbeing
  4. Sleep prevents diabetes
  5. Sleep increases sex drive
  6. Sleep wards off heart disease
  7. Sleep increases fertility

Source: NHS

What do I do if I have problems falling asleep?

It is so frustrating when you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep.

Many spend hours tossing and turning in a bid to drift back off – but is there an easier way?

Thankfully a ‘sleep doctor’ has now revealed two things you should definitely avoid doing if you want to go back to sleep.

Sleep expert Dr Michael Breus, author of The Power of When, revealed you should not go to the toilet or check the time if you find yourself awake in the night.

And a team of nutritionists recently revealed the foods that we should be stocking up on to help promote sleep. 

A midwife also revealed handy tricks to getting your newborn to sleep.

Source: TheScottishSun