Insufficient sleep syndrome

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By Michael Zupancic MD

Sleep deprivation, or insufficient sleep syndrome, is a serious sleep problem of epidemic proportions. Outlined in this clinical article are the causes, consequences, and management of sleep deprivation and ways of recognizing it. In this update, Dr. Zupancic elaborates on the symptomatology of the condition as well as recent research in the area of pathogenesis and pathophysiology of insufficient sleep. The article also includes information on the adverse effects sleep deprivation has on cardiovascular health and its association with obesity and diabetes. The delirious effects sleep deprivation has on cognitive function are also discussed.

Key Points

  • Insufficient sleep syndrome is the most common cause of daytime sleepiness among the general population.
  • This condition is due to insufficient duration of sleep nightly, resulting in daytime sleepiness.
  • Consequences of insufficient sleep syndrome are often under-recognized by the patient and include sleepiness, tiredness, fatigue, and irritability.
  • Chronic sleep deprivation has been linked to increased risk of automobile and industrial accidents, declining job performance, disrupted sociability, obesity, and diabetes.
  • Treatment consists of extending nocturnal sleep time every day by one to several hours nightly.