It is important for you to learn to recognize signs of sleep deprivation. If you feel drowsy during the day or if you consistently fall asleep within five minutes of lying down, you may not be getting enough sleep. Some sleep-deprived people go into "microsleeps," in which very short episodes of sleep occur in an otherwise awake person. Often they aren't even aware that they've gone into microsleeps.
Many people also have sleep disorders. The most common sleep disorders in adults include sleep apnea (sleep-disordered breathing), restless legs syndrome, and narcolepsy, marked by uncontrollable episodes of sleep during normal waking hours. Check with your doctor if you develop any of these sleep disorder symptoms:
- You routinely take more than half an hour to fall asleep each night.
- You consistently wake up several times each night and struggle to fall back asleep.
- You snore loudly, gasp, snort, make choking sounds, or stop breathing for short periods during sleep. Your partner may tell you this.
- You feel tingling, creeping or crawling sensations in your legs that make you want to move them while you're lying in bed trying to fall asleep (later, you may wake up because your legs move uncontrollably).
- You feel as though you can't move when you first wake up.
- You often feel sleepy during the day, take many naps, or fall asleep at inappropriate times during the day.