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The Benefit of Healthy Sleeping Habits

What are Sleep Deprivation and Deficiency?

Sleep deprivation is a condition that occurs if you don't get enough sleep. Sleep deficiency occurs if you...

...Don't get enough sleep (sleep deprivation)

...Sleep at the wrong time of day (this can throw your body out of sync with your natural clock)

...Don't sleep well, or go through all the types/phases of sleep that your body needs

...Have a sleep disorder preventing you from getting enough sleep or causes poor sleep quality

Sleeping is a basic human need, like eating, drinking, and breathing. Like these other needs, sleeping is a vital part of the foundation for good health and well-being throughout your lifetime.

Sleep deficiency can lead to physical and mental health problems, injuries, loss of productivity, and even a greater risk of death.


To understand sleep deficiency, it helps to understand how sleep works and why it's important.

  • The two basic types of sleep are rapid eye movement (REM) and non-REM.

  • Non-REM sleep includes what is commonly known as deep sleep or slow wave sleep. Dreaming typically occurs during REM sleep. Generally, non-REM and REM sleep occur in a regular pattern of 3–5 cycles each night.

  • Your ability to function and feel well while you're awake depends on whether you're getting enough total sleep and enough of each type of sleep. It also depends on whether you're sleeping at a time when your body is prepared and ready to sleep.

  • You have an internal "body clock" that controls when you're awake and when your body is ready for sleep. This clock typically follows a 24-hour repeating rhythm (called the circadian rhythm). The rhythm affects every cell, tissue, and organ in your body and how they work.

  • If you aren't getting enough sleep, are sleeping at the wrong times, or have poor quality sleep, you'll likely feel...

...very tired during the day

...not refreshed and alert when you wake up

  • Sleep deficiency can interfere with work, school, driving, and social functioning. You might have trouble learning, focusing, and reacting.

  • You might find it hard to judge other people's emotions and reactions.

  • You may feel frustrated, cranky, or worried in social situations.

The signs and symptoms of sleep deficiency may differ between children and adults.

Children who are sleep deficient might be overly active and have problems paying attention. They also might misbehave, and their school performance can suffer.


  • Sleep deficiency is a common public health problem in the United States. People in all age groups report not getting enough sleep.

  • As part of a health survey for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 7–19 percent of adults in the United States reported not getting enough rest or sleep every day.  

  • Nearly 40 percent of adults report falling asleep during the day without meaning to at least once a month.  Also, an estimated 50 to 70 million Americans have chronic (ongoing) sleep disorders.

  • Sleep deficiency is linked to many chronic health problems, including heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, obesity, and depression.

  • Sleep deficiency also is associated with an increased risk of injury in adults, teens, and children.