Being sleep-deprived can be dangerous, but it can be hard to tell whether your lack of sleep is affecting you. The good news is that there are some very clear signs that you might be sleep-deprived. If you find yourself consistently nodding off or struggling to keep your eyes open during the day, consider these ten signs that might mean you need more sleep.
There are a lot of signs to look out for in order to find out if you’re sleep-deprived. If you suspect that your lack of sleep is having a negative impact on your health or life, you should seek advice from a doctor or mental health professional.
Yawning is often associated with boredom or exhaustion, but it’s also a sign of sleep deprivation. According to the National Sleep Foundation, it’s believed that sleep deprivation causes the brain to produce more histamine, which is what causes your mouth to open wide and your eyes to close. When you feel yourself yawning excessively, try taking a nap or getting some extra shut-eye.
Moodiness & Irritability
Sleep is one of the most important things you need to function well. Sleep deprivation can make you cranky and grouchy. You might feel like your brain doesn’t work as well, and you might even be more prone to illness. If you’re not getting enough of it, your health, mood and productivity will suffer.
People often think they are immune to the ill effects of sleep deprivation. But you have to sleep — if you don’t, you’ll be in a bad mood and unable to focus on what’s important in life. Here are the top 10 signs that show when you’re getting too little shut-eye.
Lack of sleep will make you feel tired, but the way it affects your body goes beyond that. Your coordination and motor skills will decrease, and you can experience short-term memory loss. Sleep deprivation even affects your vision: People who aren’t getting enough sleep tend to have more visual errors and perceive objects as farther away than they really are. The CDC recommends that adults get about seven to eight hours of sleep each night. If you’re not getting that much sleep, it can cause changes in your physical coordination. Although you might be able to function while sleep deprived, your body is definitely suffering.
Sleep deprivation may make headaches worse through a number of possible mechanisms. Sleep deprivation reduces the amount of pain-killing chemicals (endorphins) produced in your brain. This lower pain tolerance may result in headaches that are more painful following a lack of sleep.
You know sleep is important to your health, but do you know how important it is to your memory? When you’re sleep deprived, your brain truly is foggy. You won’t be able to think as clearly or remember information as well. Your memory becomes less efficient, you have trouble concentrating and learning new information, and you become more easily distracted. Lack of sleep makes it harder for you to make good decisions about everything from work matters to personal issues. This affects your social interactions as well as your professional work life.
Unusual Hunger & Weight Gain
Sleep deprivation also stimulates the body’s stress response, which plays a key role in causing weight gain. It does this by increasing cortisol and adrenaline — hormones that increase appetite and urge the body to store fat. These changes in brain chemistry can quickly take a toll on your waistline. Sleep deprivation makes you weak, so you burn fewer calories. It also makes you irritable and anxious, so you’re more likely to overindulge when you do eat. Sleep deprivation has been linked to other problems as well. For example, it can exacerbate menopause symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats. Some research also suggests that chronic sleep problems may raise your risk for heart disease and cancer.
Sleep deprivation can be one of the most difficult and undesired health conditions to fix. It is also one of the most common problems in today’s society, so chances are you know someone who has dealt with sleep deprivation at one time or another. Here are some tips that can help you get enough sleep:
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. This will help establish a routine that will promote good sleep habits.
- Make sure your mattress and pillows are in good condition and meant for your specific needs. There are many different types of sleep textiles available today, making it easier than ever for you to curate your perfectly comfortable sleep space.
- Avoid caffeine, stimulants, alcohol, large meals, or exercise for several hours before you plan to hit the hay. These all impact your brain chemistry and physiological responses to sleep cues.