Sleep Deprivation Dizziness: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Prevention, Risks

About Sleep Deprivation Dizziness

The modern lifestyle has a lot of negative effects on a person’s health. One of the most common effects of this fast paced life is lack of sleep. Sleep deprivation happens when a person stays awake and alert, ignoring the body’s signs that it needs rest and does not sleep. The amount of sleep one requires is subjective from person to person. Sleep deprivation affects different people differently. Children and young adults are more likely to be affected by the causes of sleep deprivation. Older adults are not so much affected and have a stronger resistance to the effects of sleep deprivation. One of the common affects or symptoms of sleep deprivation is dizziness where the sleep deprived person feels as if the external world around him/her is spinning when in reality it is not. Dizziness is also accompanied with loss of coordination and balance.

You can have days where your normal sleeping routine is interrupted and you have to stay awake for long periods of time. This might make you irritable and can cause a nuisance, but it would not severely affect your work. However, if sleep deprivation becomes an everyday routine for you, then it becomes a serious issue. Sleep deprivation can make you really sleepy during daytime and also cause dizziness. It can also cause terrible mood swings, weight loss or weight gain, poor job performance and also a decreased quality of life.

Sleep Deprivation Dizziness

What are the Causes of Sleep Deprivation Dizziness?

Sleep deprivation dizziness is simply caused when a person does not get a healthy amount of sleep which has been prescribed and optimized systematically according to specific age range. The patient feels weak and dizzy s if he/she is losing balance.

How Much Sleep Do We Need?

The National Sleep Foundation had recommended in the year 2015 the optimized sleep duration that is appropriate for specific age ranges. The following list is in accordance with the recommendation:

  • Newborns (0 to 3 months of age): 14 to 17 hours per day.
  • Infants (4 to 11 months of age): 12 to 15 hours per day.
  • Toddlers (1 to 2 years of age): 11 to 14 hours per day.
  • Preschoolers (3 to 5 years of age): 10 to 13 hours per day.
  • School-age children (6 to 13 years of age): 9 to 11 hours per day.
  • Teenagers (14 to 17 years of age): 8 to 10 hours per day.
  • Adults (18 to 64 years of age): 7 to 9 hours per day.
  • Old Adults (over 65 years): 7 to 8 hours per day.

Hence, it can be seen that sleep is almost directly connected to the amount of energy that is spent during the day. Some people think that sleep is a waste of time, as it leads to nothing and a lot could have been achieved in that time. However, sleep is not a duration that is wasted, as while sleeping we harbor the energy that is required for us to go about all the day-to-day activities. The international sleep deprivation is immensely common and has affected the teenagers and working adults all over the world. What we fail to see is that sleep is actually very necessary because without sleep, we won’t be able to function. There are many people who do want to sleep on time, but cannot, because they have a lot of family obligations or because of their work pattern. Consistent sleep-wake pattern is also very common among people who go to bed late. People who are awakened from time to time may also have a consistent accumulation in the sleep debt. Other medical causes, such as depression, obstructive sleep apnea, hormonal imbalance or other chronic illness may also be a cause for sleep deprivation and its resulting dizziness.

What are the Symptoms of Sleep Deprivation Dizziness?

When a person is chronically sleep deprived then there are many negative affects occurring in that person’s body, one of which is dizziness. Dizziness caused by sleep deprivation can be felt at any time, especially when standing up. Other associated symptoms of sleep deprivation dizziness are:

Yawning: Since your body did not get enough sleep, it could not make up for all your oxygen needs, this leads to constant yawning in order to make up for the reduced oxygen level of the body.

Moodiness: Sleep deprivation may make you irritable. Since the daily quota of sleep has not been met, your body is on a state of unrest, and this will cause you to become moody along with experiencing the sleep deprivation dizziness.

Fatigue: Of course, if your body did not sleep the amount that is necessary, it will never be ready to face the world. This will cause your body to be tired and respond less to stimulation.

Irritability: As already mentioned, lack of sleep lowers all your body mechanism. This further leads you to become irritable along with having dizziness.

Depressed Mood: Depression may be termed as both the cause and effect of sleep deprivation. When deprived of sleep, the body is not able to give you the energy that might be needed to feel refreshed and rejuvenated.

Difficulty in Learning New Concepts: This is especially true for school going children. As the body is deprived of sleep, it becomes very hard to work up the energy to concentrate, which is required in learning new concepts.

Forgetfulness: As your body is already fatigued, the mental resources that are required for recollection and memory work poorly which results in forgetfulness.

Lack of Motivation: Not having enough mental capacity us impossible to feel motivated to do anything.

Clumsiness: Lack of sleep causes us to have little or no hand-eye coordination. This causes clumsiness in addition to sleep deprivation dizziness.

Increased Appetite/Cravings: As the body feels fatigued, it requires energy providing substances. A sleep deprived person craves food, especially carbohydrate rich food.

Reduced Sex Drive: Being tired, even the drive for sex is reduced.

Weak Immune System: If you don’t get enough sleep, the body does not get the time for the immune system to get charged up. The immune system produces cytokines which are related to preventing infections. Thus, not getting enough sleep makes you prone to infections and increases the chances of chronic illness.

Respiratory Problems: Sleep deprivation may lead to advanced respiratory problems.

Hypertension: Sleep is important in building and rebuilding the arteries and veins that pump blood to and fro from the heart. Hence, not having enough sleep may be directly linked to increased blood pressure.

Increased Risk for Heart Diseases: Not having enough sleep may also hassle with the inflammation control of the body and increases the risk of cardiovascular disorders.

Weight Gain: A lack of sleep also influences the body weight. The hormones leptin and ghrelin, which are indicative of our hunger and fullness are affected by sleep. So patient also experiences weight gain along with dizziness as a result of sleep deprivation.

Increased Risk of Diabetes: Sleep deprivation may also lead to release of insulin which may further lead to type-2 diabetes over a prolonged duration.

Hormonal Changes: Lack of sleep also has hormonal effects. It changes the level of growth hormone and testosterone especially in men.

What is the Treatment of Sleep Deprivation Dizziness?

Treating the dizziness which occurs as a result of lack of sleep, we need to treat the underlying cause of the dizziness, which is sleep deprivation. A person has to be clinically treated when he cannot physically get to sleep either due to physical or psychological reasons. In either of the cases, the patient needs to visit a therapist or a sleep specialist who will be able to offer guidance and coping techniques which will be required to get the amount of necessary sleep. The behavioral and cognitive treatments for treating sleep deprivation dizziness may include:

Relaxation techniques: Tensing and relaxing various muscles of the body are included in progressive muscle relaxation programs. This helps to calm the body. Besides, other calming techniques involve meditation and mindfulness training. Controlled breathing may also be practiced. Audio and visual recordings are also available that helps people to sleep and hence resolve the dizziness occurring from lack of sleep.

Stimulation Control: This involves the changing the pre-bedtime activities and the surroundings that might be effective in falling asleep. For example, a person may control stimulation by sleeping in bed only at the time when he or she actually feels sleepy, this enables the person to make a cognitive association of the bed to sleep and hence results in good sleep and treats the sleep deprivations dizziness.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Also known as CBT, this type of therapy is mainly designed so that people understand and change their behavior according to given stimulus. It helps to challenge irrational beliefs and lets a person become more rational and logical.

There are also medications that are available that might treat a person with chronic disability to sleep. These medications should be taken after consulting a sleep specialist. Along with these, there are also certain home remedies that might also help in getting the optimum amount of sleep. Not getting ample sleep is quite hazardous and the dizziness caused due to sleep deprivation might even be life-threatening if not dealt with on time.

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Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:April 19, 2019

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