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sleep deprivation symptoms?

  I had a baby 9 months ago and haven't had a full night's sleep since. Right now I probably average 7 hours a night, but it's broken at least 2 times by nursing my baby. I was just wondering how this kind of sleep deprivation can affect a person. How significantly can it affect memory? I have many instances of thinking of something and then not remembering what it was a few minutes later, trouble concentrating, etc. Also, can lack of sleep cause muscle twitching and/or shakiness? Thanks for any insight. Amanda
Thanks for your question.  The symptoms described in your message are quite
consistent with those of sleep deprivation.  Although long-term memory
(name, birthday, faces of family members, etc.) are not affected, the proper
functioning of short-term memory (recalling a phone number that you just
read, forgeting the task that your were performing, etc.) can be affected
because it is so dependent on proper attention and concentration.  The
fasciculations ("muscle twitching"), and tremors in limb extremities
("shakiness") are very common when one is sleep deprived.  Although none
of these symptoms are of any inherent danger, they are very clear warning
signs that you require more rest than what you have at present.  One should
be forwarned about how many activities we participate in a daily basis
(driving, crossing a street, doing house chores, etc.) where a momentary
lapse of attention can have very serious consequences.  Please try to get
some more sleep.
I hope this information is helpful.  Best of luck.
This information is provided for general medical education purposes only.
Please consult your doctor regarding diagnostic and treatment options.

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