Skip to main content

The effects of sleep deprivation on your mind

Sleep deprivation increases your chances of experiencing bad moods tremendously. All of us have been sleep-deprived at some point in our lives and I’m sure we can all relate with that ‘heaviness in the head’ feeling, dizziness, irritability, and lack of good judgment caused by sleep deprivation.

Sleep rejuvenates and replenishes not only your body but also your mind, particularly the conscious mind. During the day your conscious mind, the information processor, the data interpreter, is busy receiving and processing information from the environment. It shuts down its activities as soon as you sleep at night, rests and begins afresh the next morning.

Effects of sleep deprivation

Lack of sleep deprives your conscious mind of this precious rest period which is, on an average, 6-8 hours for us humans. By not sleeping or sleeping little, your conscious mind remains tired and this hampers its tasks the next day. Neurologically speaking, if you don’t get proper sleep your nervous system gets tired and the conscious thinking power of your brain is hampered.


The sleep-deprived state is very similar to the mental state you experience when you’re about to sleep at night. If you’re not a night owl, then most probably you know how it feels like when you’re mentally exhausted at night. You feel heavy, dizzy and would give anything to just drop asleep. Throughout the day, your conscious mind was busy processing information and at night it demands a well-deserved rest.

So we can say that your conscious thinking ability gets sort of decreased at night. Conscious thinking is required for making rational decisions, resisting temptations, controlling emotions and anticipating consequences of your actions.

This is why, if you read a challenging book at night, you might catch yourself whispering to yourself, “I don’t understand a word he’s saying. I’ll read it tomorrow.” This is also why you’re more likely to engage in addictive behaviors at night. Saying no to temptations requires considerable conscious thinking power.

Now, this mental state of reduced conscious thinking ability that we experience at night is carried on to the next day in an aggravated manner if you don’t get enough sleep or don't sleep at all. So throughout the following day, you become vulnerable to temptations, bouts of uncontrolled anger, irritability and lack of good judgment. This is the perfect recipe for experiencing bad moods and negative emotions. In short, sleep deprivation has the potential to completely ruin your day.    



It is important to point out here that all people are not equally affected by sleep deprivation. Night owls, for example, may be more productive at night. Genetics plays a role too. Some people can sleep for only 3-4 hours and suffer no consequences. Unless you’re among these rare individuals, sleep deprivation is a thing to avoid.

sleep deprivation joke
It's possible to fall asleep with your eyes open. Some sleepwalkers sleepwalk with open eyes too. 

Recovering from sleep deprivation

If for some reason you had to stay up late and couldn’t prevent sleep deprivation, a good recovery sleep on the following night will be sufficient to get over the effects of sleep deprivation. But what if you want to get over your dizzy feelings as soon as you can and don't want to wait for the next day?

Let’s say its noon and you’ve been feeling dizzy all morning due to sleep deprivation. You’ve been dawdling all morning and strongly desire that it shouldn’t continue that way for the entire day. There’s something that can help you recover from the effects of sleep deprivation very quickly- a short and sweet nap!

Yes, even a half-an-hour nap can be surprisingly effective in completely eliminating the effects of sleep deprivation and make you fresh in the mind all over again. When you’re sleep-deprived your mind is beseeching you to give it some rest. It’s like a thirsty person crossing a desert and dying to have some water.

Even a sip of water at an oasis can infuse the person with a new life and probably make him conscious enough to wonder why he undertook such an arduous journey without water in the first place.

For your mind too, tomorrow is pretty much like crossing a new desert. With enough sleep tonight, you ensure that you don’t run out of water tomorrow.


Popular posts


Body language: Gestures of the head and neck

The head nod
Nodding the head almost everywhere in the world means ‘Yes’ and shaking the head from side to side means ‘No’. A slight head nod is used as a greeting gesture, especially when two people greet each other from a distance. It sends the message, ‘Yes, I acknowledge you’.

Body language: The truth of the pointing foot

When we communicate with others, our attention is focused mainly on the words they speak and the facial expressions they make. We pay little, if any, attention to gestures of the body and when it comes to the feet, we almost never look at them.

Body language: Clenching and clasping of the hands

Clenching hands in front of the body
This gesture has three main positions: hands clenched in front of the face, hands clenched resting on the desk or lap and, while standing, hands clenched over the lower abdomen.

Body language: Hands touching the head

Scratching the hair
When we scratch our hair using one or more fingers anywhere on top, back or side of the head, it signals the emotional state of confusion. Watch any student trying to solve a difficult problem and you are likely to observe this gesture. There isn't a better place to observe this gesture than an exam hall, where students often have no idea what the question paper is trying to say!

Body language: Crossing the arms

Crossing the arms across the chest is a classic gesture of defensiveness. This defensiveness usually manifests as uneasiness, shynessor insecurity.

What makes a person stubborn

Stubbornness is a personality trait in which a person refuses to change his opinion about a situation or refuses to change his mind about the action that he has decided to take.

Body language: Hands touching the neck

Rubbing the back of the neck
Ever seen two furry animals, like dogs, in a fight? If you have then you might have noticed that when they are about to attack each other, the fur over their neck stands on its end and makes the animals appear bigger. The bigger the animals appear the more they are able to intimidate each other.

How our past experiences shape our behavior and personality

Our beliefs and needs are the strongest factors that govern our behavior. Ultimately, it all comes down to beliefs because a need is also a belief- a belief that we lack something.

Body language: The crotch displays of men

When it comes to attraction, males and females use different signals to display their attractive qualities. 

Body language: Crossing the legs

Crossing the legs, like crossing the arms, indicates a defensive attitude. While arm-crossing is a subconscious attempt by a person to protect his vital organs- the heart and the lungs, crossing the legs is an attempt to protect the genitals.