We all know that sleep is essential for your mental and physical health. How do you know if you’re getting enough sleep? Within our busy lives, it’s common to feel worn down and tired. With such hectic schedules, it’s crucial that we take care of ourselves.
Just as you should eat healthily and be physically active, sleep is vital for your well-being. Obviously, we feel tired when we haven’t got enough sleep, but what other symptoms surface? The following ten signs are clues that your sleeping patterns may need to change.
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1. Your Cognitive Abilities are Hindered
When you do not getting enough sleep, your cognitive functions are hindered. sleep deprivation symptoms have been shown to negatively impact learning, attention, and memory. When you do not getting enough sleep, you have a hard time concentrating. Due to this lack of attention and concentration, learning is affected.
Also, it is believed that memories are consolidated while you sleep. Memory consolidation means that memory has become stable within the brain. This is an essential step in learning new things. Our brain works hard during the day, so our brain needs time to rest and ‘recharge.’
When you do not getting enough sleep, your neurons become overworked. This causes a decline in their ability to function and coordinate information. You’re also more prone to make poor decisions, as judgment becomes negatively affected.
2. You Can’t Seem to Fight Off a Cold or Flu
Getting enough sleep is essential for your immune system. If you do not getting enough sleep, your ability to fight off a common cold or flu will be impaired. Since your immune system helps you fight off illness, it’s crucial that it’s functioning properly.
Since our immune system is highly complex, we’re still learning new information. However, it is believed that when you do not get enough sleep not getting enough sleep your T-cells decrease. Since our immune system is made up of various cell types and proteins, it’s important that their balanced and functioning. This helps fight off foreign invaders.
T-cells are a type of white blood cell, which scans our body for infections and abnormalities. They’re an essential part of our immune system. When the number of T-cells diminishes, inflammatory cytokines increase. This increases your chances of developing a cold or flu, as well as hindering your ability to fight it off.
3. Your Appetite Increases
Did you eat breakfast, yet you’re ready for your next meal before work starts? Research has shown that sleep deprivation may increase feelings of hunger, as your appetite increases. A study found that individuals who only slept four hours, ate more calories the next day.
Women consumed 329 more calories, while men consumed 263 more. This has sparked new research regarding lack of sleep and being overweight. Not only do individuals eat more, but they also tend to choose high-protein, high-fat options when they did not getting enough sleep.
4. Your Coordination is Impaired
When you’re sleep-deprived, your motor skills become impaired. It has been found that not sleeping for 24 hours, creates the same coordination effects as being drunk. Speech becomes impaired, your coordination is affected, as well as your balance.
This is concerning accidents. Not only will you be more clumsy, but your judgment is impaired. Meaning, you’re more likely to experience an accident at work or be involved in an automobile accident (as hand-eye coordination suffers).
5. You’re Grumpy, Sad, and Irritable
When you do not sleep enough, your mood becomes affected. Within multiple studies, it was found that lack of sleep was directly linked to feelings of sadness, anger, and mental exhaustion. When sleep improved, so did these symptoms.
Insomnia and depression are directly correlated, feeding off one another. Insomnia tends to create feelings of depression, while depression hinders sleep. It has been found that approximately 20% of individuals who suffer from insomnia, will also develop major depression.
6. Your Sex Drive Has Decreased
It has been found that lack of sleep, creates a lower libido and an interest in sexual activity. It is believed that a lack of energy, exhaustion, and increased tension may be large contributing factors. This is seen in both men and women. However, a study found that men suffering from sleep apnea also displayed low levels of testosterone at night.
7. You Can’t Seem to Handle Stress
We live stressful lives, which is why it’s essential to handle stress levels in a productive and healthy manner. If you’re having a hard time fighting off stress levels, a lack of sleep may be the problem. Not sleeping enough can increase levels of anxiety, making it harder to cope with everyday stresses.
Unfortunately, stress and sleep deprivation can create a vicious cycle. Stress can decrease sleep quality, while a lack of sleep can increase feelings of stress. This hinders your ability to properly manage stress levels.
8. You’re Experiencing Problems With Vision
Lack of sleep can affect your eye health. Studies have found that your eyes need at least five hours of sleep for your eyes to replenish. When your eyes do not rest, this hinders their full potential. When a lack of sleep is experienced over an extended period of time, you can actually strain your eyes so much that blood vessels may pop.
When you do not sleep enough, you may experience eye spasms. This is when your eye twitches, which is disruptive and aggravating. Lack of sleep also creates a dry eye, which can create issues with vision, light sensitivity, and redness.
9. Your Overall Health Is Diminishing
As mentioned, your immune system is affected by a lack of sleep. Not only does your body begin to lose its defenses against illness, but other aspects of your health will also noticeably be affected. For instance, blood pressure tends to increase, body temperature lowers, and the heart rate becomes irregular.
If you’re diabetic, you could notice a big difference in your health. When you do not getting enough sleep, your body becomes less sensitive to insulin. Therefore, you lack the ability to metabolize sugar, creating dangerous blood sugar levels.
10. You’re More Impulsive Than Normal
Are you feeling more impulsive than normal? Did you splurge on donuts before work this morning? Perhaps you bought something that you can’t afford. This may be related to a lack of sleep. When you’re sleep-deprived, your prefrontal cortex is affected. This area of the brain is linked to impulse control and judgment.
If you’re experiencing any or all of these signs, focus on your current sleeping patterns. Make changes to your routine, so that sleep becomes a priority. Once you get enough sleep, these signs and symptoms will improve.