Sleep; hitting the hay; forty winks; catching some Zs; getting some shut eye. Sleep is one of the most important activities of the day, but most of us don’t get nearly enough of it. Sleep deprivation is a real issue to your health, but the signs you’re sleep deprived don’t just mean you have bags under your eyes. Here are some signs that you need more sleep.
1. You’re Always Hungry
When you’re sleepy, your brain doesn’t function enough to tell you that you’re full. Plus your brain needs more energy to function, so it turns to food. Jacci Allanson from Transcend Health shares her expertise. “You’re more likely to eat bigger portions of food as your “hungry hormones” Leptin and ghrelin are influenced by your sleep patterns. Ghrelin signals your brain that it’s time to eat. When you’re sleep-deprived, your body makes more ghrelin. Leptin cues your brain when you’re full. When you’re not getting enough sleep, leptin levels plummet, signalling your brain to eat more food. Sleep deprivation also affects your body’s ability to process insulin -- the hormone needed to change sugar, starches, and other food into energy. Research has found that insulin sensitivity dropped by more than 30% in sleep deprived subjects!” Find out more about Transcend Health by following them on Facebook.
2. You’re Really Cranky
If you’re feeling easily irritated, or you feel like throwing a temper tantrum in the middle of the supermarket because your favourite peanut butter is out of stock, don’t fret. When you’re sleep deprived, your brain can’t recognise emotions accurately, which is mostly observed in children. Kids will throw tantrums and get super grumpy when they’re tired, and adults tend to do the same. Only, they usually act out their aggression in more subtle ways.
3. You’re Always Sick
With sleepiness comes a lowered immune system. If you find yourself constantly sniffing and sneezing, you may need to spend more time snoozing. Remember, more snoozing means less sneezing. Dr Joseph Sgroi shares his expert advice about a lack of sleep and its effect on your immune system. “There is new evidence to suggest a decrease in sleep increases the chance of developing a common cold. This is largely due to increased inflammatory markers. In addition, there have been studies in over 30,000 people which showed that if an individual sleeps less than five hours a night, they might be at a greater risk of developing angina and risk of stroke.” Find out more about Dr Joseph by following him on Facebook and Instagram.
4. Your Hand-Eye Coordination Is Out Of Whack
Your cognitive function gets all messed up when you’re sleepy, so it often will take you an extra second or two to see that ball that’s coming towards you. Sleep helps keep your motor skills under control, so if you’re tripping over yourself constantly, it may not just be a cute Jennifer Lawrence quirk, it could be sleep deprivation.
5. Your Skin Is Shot
Sleep produces collagen in your skin, so with less sleep comes less beauty. Sleep also repairs any cells that may have become damaged throughout the day, and with a lack of sleep comes hormone imbalances, which can make your skin look like a war zone. They don’t call it beauty sleep for nothing.
6. You’re Gaining Weight
When you lose sleep, your body releases leptin and ghrelin, the hormones that essentially make you hungry. With this in mind, your body begins to trick itself into thinking it’s super hungry when really, it’s just lacking energy. Since your body can no longer rely on the energy created by sleep, it needs to rely on the energy that you put into your body, via food. From here, the more tired you get, the less you want to work out, which can also lead to weight gain. Now, we’re not saying that sleep will help you lose a kilo, but a lack of sleep can help gain a couple!
7. Your Vision Is Blurry
When you’re sleepy, the muscles in your eyes don’t function as well. This means your vision can become soft, unfocused and blurry, causing you to lose focus on what you’re doing, where you’re going and pretty much everything. Josh Shephard, from The Lost Passport, offers his advice for keeping your circadian rhythm under control. "A lack of sleep leaves you undercharged all day. While travelling long term I was flexible enough with time to determine my natural sleeping pattern. Going to bed without an alarm clock at 9pm, 11 pm or 2 am gave the same results. Eight and a half hours of sleep per day. When you wake up on that natural cycle, you've had just enough sleep and will be fully charged all day." Find out more about The Lost Passport by following them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
8. You’re Zoning Out
If you’re staring at your computer screen completely in a daze, or you’ve read the same sentence over and over, and you still can’t comprehend what it says, it may be a good sign that you need to sleep more. Your brain doesn’t function as well when it’s tired, so rather than watching another episode of Rick and Morty, why not put your head on a super comfy pillow? It’s not like you were paying attention to Rick and Morty anyway.
9. You Microsleep
A microsleep is where you fall asleep for split seconds, closing your eyes and nodding off for a little while. Half the time, you probably don’t even realise that you’re doing it, which can be extremely scary. Microsleeps are dangerous. They can cause car accidents, missteps in formulas, and most famously, they contributed to the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster in 1986. Microsleeps happen when you’re super sleep deprived, so if you feel yourself falling asleep when you’re behind the wheel, seriously, pull over and have a power nap. It could save your life.
10. You’re Falling Asleep Reading This Article
That’s just rude. I’m not that boring, am I?
Sleep is one of the most important parts of the day, and without it, your body can suffer serious consequences. If you’re having trouble sleeping, or if you’re waking up feeling uncomfortable, perhaps you need an extra layer of comfort, which you can solve with the help of a mattress topper. Now, go have a nap!