Do You Suffer From Sleep Deprivation?

There are many reasons people don’t get enough sleep. If you suspect that you suffer from sleep deprivation and have problems sleeping, try natural sleep aids, such as herbal insomnia remedies or even yoga postures for insomnia.

The Symptoms of Chronic Sleep Deprivation

How do you know if you suffer from sleep deprivation? Sleep requirements vary from person to person, but here is a good rule of thumb to gauge whether you are meeting your sleep needs. If you need an alarm clock to get up in the morning—or if you regularly feel sleepy during the day when your mind is not actively engaged—you are not getting enough sleep.

Most active adults don’t get enough sleep. According to a survey by the National Sleep Foundation, 75 percent of adults feel sleepy or drowsy during the day. Forty percent report that this drowsiness is so severe that it interferes with their daily activities.

We often accumulate sleep debt without realizing it, because sleep deprivation is easily masked. The biological clock of the body is programmed to keep us alert during certain hours of the day. At specific intervals, our internal clock orchestrates a series of biochemical changes that cause us to feel wide awake and alert, even if we carry a large sleep debt. If we have a chronic sleep debt, however, we will again begin to feel tired as soon as these biological alerting mechanisms ease off.

The biological alerting system appears to function in two waves. One crest of alertness occurs in the morning when we wake up, and the other in the late afternoon. The afternoon fatigue many people experience around 4 p.m. takes place during a circadian trough, when the activity of the alerting system has subsided. As the biological alerting mechanisms again kick in, we experience a renewed wave of energy, which lasts into the evening.

Chronic sleep debt is not only concealed by the alerting mechanisms of your biological clock. It is also easily masked when your mind is actively engaged in interesting or stimulating activities. But participate in a long meeting, go to a lecture, or take part of any other activity that doesn’t engage you fully, and your sleep debt will begin to assert itself, causing you to feel drowsy and fatigued.

The Rising National Sleep Debt – And the Importance of Getting Enough Sleep for Yourself

Daytime fatigue is the most obvious sign of sleep debt. However, chronic sleep deprivation affects our life in many other, and much more serious, ways. For years sleep researchers have tried to call attention to the numerous harmful effects that the rising national sleep debt is exerting in the life of the individual and society. In a testimony to Congress about the risks of sleep deprivation, Stanford researcher William Dement—who is one of the more outspoken sleep experts—declared that, “Our national sleep debt is a greater threat to our country than the national monetary debt.”[i] 

Sometimes lack of sleep simply comes from lack of knowledge about the importance of sleep. Lack of sleep is reaching epidemic scope, and it affects our life in numerous ways that we are barely even aware of.

If you don’t get enough sleep, try going to bed early enough that you can get at least eight hours of sleep and wake up naturally, without the alarm. If you have problems sleeping, try natural sleep aids, such as herbal insomnia remedies or Ayurvedic insomnia remedies.

Yoga also offers natural therapy for insomnia as yoga postures targeting insomnia can help settle mind and body down. See here to learn more about yoga for insomnia.

[i] Dement, W. C., and Vaughan, C. (1999). The Promise of Sleep. New York: Random House, p. 63.

Recent articles


Upcoming courses


Yoga for
every body

How to Avoid the Top 3 Pitfalls of Forward Bends

With Julie Gudmedstad

Recent articles


Sorry, You have reached your
monthly limit of views

To access, join us for a free 7-day membership trial to support expanding the Pose Library resources to the yoga community.

Sign up for a FREE 7-day trial