Sleep deprivation

Sleep deprivation

Domain 4. Activity-rest
Class 1. Sleep-rest
Diagnostic Code: 00096
Nanda label: Sleep deprivation
Diagnostic focus: Sleep

Sleep deprivation is one of the most common nursing diagnoses and it is an important health issue for many people. Sleep deprivation can cause physical, psychological, and emotional problems that can adversely affect health and well-being. It is important to understand the reasons for sleep deprivation and develop interventions in order to provide appropriate individualized care for patients.

NANDA Nursing Diagnosis Definition

Sleep deprivation is a state or condition of inadequate or poor quality sleep due to disruption of the sleep/wake cycle. This diagnosis focuses on the consequences of lack of sleep or impaired sleep quality that results in decreased ability to function effectively.

Defining Characteristics


  • Difficulty sleeping at night
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Low energy


  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty staying awake during the day
  • Difficulty with daily tasks
  • Impaired performance
  • Increased errors

Related Factors

Sleep deprivation may be caused by a variety of factors, including:

  • Psychological and physiological stress – Stress can lead to difficulties with falling asleep or staying asleep.
  • Substance use such as alcohol or caffeine – Use of these substances can disrupt a person’s normal sleep cycle.
  • Medications – Certain medications can cause drowsiness or interfere with normal sleep patterns.
  • Environmental factors – Noisy, bright, or uncomfortable environments can make it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep.
  • Health conditions – Certain medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, or depression can lead to sleep deprivation.
  • Lifestyle habits – Habits such as working late at night or going to bed too late can disrupt a person’s natural sleeping pattern.

At Risk Populations

Some individuals are more likely to experience sleep deprivation and the associated health risks, including:

  • Children and teenagers – Young people often have difficulty balancing school, activities, and social commitments with enough sleep.
  • Shift workers – Employees who work overnight shifts often have difficulties sleeping during the day.
  • Individuals with mental health conditions – Mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety can interfere with sleeping patterns.
  • The elderly – Aging can lead to changes in sleeping patterns, making it more difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep.

Associated Conditions

Unhealthy sleep patterns or sleep deprivation can increase the risk for certain health conditions, such as:

  • Depression – Sleep deprivation can be both a symptom and a cause of depression.
  • Diabetes – Poor sleep patterns can disrupt the body’s hormones and put individuals at risk for developing diabetes.
  • Heart disease – Lack of sleep can increase the risk of high blood pressure and other heart conditions.
  • Memory loss – Even short periods of sleep deprivation can affect memory and concentration.
  • Weight gain – Poor sleep patterns are linked to obesity because they can disrupt hormones related to hunger and satiety.

Suggestions for Use

When evaluating a patient for sleep deprivation, healthcare providers should consider the following suggestions:

  • Assess the patient’s sleep environment and any potential environmental factors that may be causing interrupted sleep.
  • Evaluate the patient’s lifestyle habits to identify any potential changes that could improve sleep.
  • Review any medications the patient is taking to determine if they could be contributing to sleep deprivation.
  • Screen the patient for mental health conditions that could be interfering with sleeping patterns.

Suggested Alternative NANDA Nursing Diagnosis

Other related nursing diagnoses include:

  • Ineffective coping – A state of ineffective responses to life events that overwhelm the patient’s abilities to cope.
  • Ineffective individual coping – A state of ineffective responses to changing circumstances experienced by an individual.
  • Breastfeeding, ineffective – A state of insufficient milk production for breastfeeding.
  • Hope, hopelessness, or despair – A state of feeling marked by pessimism and an inability to solve or cope with problems or adverse life conditions.
  • Powerlessness – A state characterized by a sense of being out of control and helpless.

Usage Tips

Nursing professionals should pay special attention to the patient’s symptoms and subjective experiences of sleep deprivation. Understanding the patient’s perspective and factors contributing to the experience will enable healthcare providers to develop individualized interventions and a plan of care that best addresses the patient’s needs.

NOC Outcomes

The following nursing outcomes can be used to evaluate a patient’s progress in overcoming sleep deprivation:

  • Elimination Status – Sleep patterns are regular and without interruption.
  • Fatigue Level – Energy levels are sufficient for normal activity.
  • Mental Status – Concentration, memory, and other cognitive functions are intact.
  • Sleep-Rest Pattern – Daytime naps and nighttime sleep are of adequate duration and quality.

Evaluation Objectives and Criteria

When assessing the patient’s response to interventions, the nurse should take note of the following criteria:

  • Patient is able to fall asleep and remain asleep throughout the night.
  • Patient does not feel excessively tired throughout the day.
  • Patient has increased energy and alertness levels.
  • Patient is able to complete daily activities without difficulty.
  • Patient is able to concentrate and recall information without difficulty.

NIC Interventions

The following nursing interventions may be used to help patients manage sleep deprivation:

  • Sleep hygiene education – Teach the patient good sleep hygiene, such as going to bed and waking up at consistent times and limiting exposure to blue light (e.g., electronics).
  • Stimulus control therapy – Establish a set of relaxed rules to encourage good sleep habits; for example, avoid watching TV in bed or eating too close to bedtime.
  • Exercise – Regular aerobic exercise can improve sleep quality and reduce fatigue levels.
  • Relaxation techniques – Teach the patient relaxation techniques that can be used before bedtime to induce a state of relaxation and help initiate sleep.
  • Light therapy – Use bright light therapy to restore the patient’s natural sleep/wake cycle.

Nursing Activities

Nursing activities associated with caring for a patient with sleep deprivation include:

  • Assessing the patient’s current sleep habits.
  • Developing a plan of care to address the patient’s sleep needs.
  • Educating the patient about good sleep hygiene.
  • Monitoring the patient’s response to the plan of care.
  • Developing strategies to reduce stress levels.
  • Referring the patient to other healthcare professionals, such as a sleep specialist.


Sleep deprivation is a common problem for many people and can lead to significant health issues if left untreated. It is important for healthcare providers to understand the causes of sleep deprivation and be able to recognize the signs and symptoms associated with the diagnosis. With knowledge and skillful assessment and intervention, healthcare professionals can make a significant difference in the lives of their patients by helping them achieve healthier and more restful sleep.


  • What are the signs and symptoms of sleep deprivation?
    Signs and symptoms of sleep deprivation can include difficulty sleeping at night, excessive daytime sleepiness, fatigue, irritability, difficulty concentrating, difficulty with daily tasks, impaired performance, and increased errors.
  • What populations are at risk for sleep deprivation?
    Children and teenagers, shift workers, individuals with mental health conditions, and the elderly are all at higher risk for sleep deprivation and related health conditions.
  • What nursing interventions can be used to treat sleep deprivation?
    Nursing interventions for sleep deprivation can include sleep hygiene education, stimulus control therapy, exercise, relaxation techniques, and light therapy.
  • What nursing outcomes can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions for sleep deprivation?
    Nursing outcomes that can be used to evaluate a patient’s progress in overcoming sleep deprivation include Elimination Status, Fatigue Level, Mental Status, and Sleep-Rest Pattern.
  • What alternative NANDA nursing diagnoses should be considered when assessing a patient for sleep deprivation?
    Alternative NANDA nursing diagnoses that should be considered when assessing a patient for sleep deprivation include Ineffective Coping, Ineffective Individual Coping, Breastfeeding, Ineffective, Hope, Hopelessness, or Despair, and Powerlessness.