Are you not getting a good night’s sleep?

When you get into bed, are you the type of person who’s fast asleep once their head hits the pillow or is tossing and turning more you’re style?  What if you think you are sleeping through the night but in actuality you may not be sleeping well at all. How would you know?

Sleep is a fundamental bodily requirement we must have in order to function well the next day.  If our sleep habits are neglected, we pay the price on how it affects our family relationships, jobs, and quality of life.  Up to 48% of Americans report occasional insomnia and 22% have it almost every night.  With that many people suffering from one of life’s most basic needs, it’s no wonder many of us are barely functioning at our best.

Many of us want to blame anything other than not getting enough sleep when things aren’t going well. Here are some clues sleep may be eluding you more than you realize and how it is affecting many areas of your life:

1.      You’re not getting much done at work

Lack of sleep can mean up to 25-45% reduced productivity at your job.  That results on average to losing 7.8 days of work within a year.  Your boss will not be pleased.

2.      You drink cup after cup of coffee all day long

If downing cups of coffee is a regular habit, you may have a sleep issue.  When you have to drink coffee first thing in the morning to wake yourself up and keep drinking it throughout the day just to stay awake, that’s not good.  Drinking numerous cups of coffee is not the only indicator of a sleep problem – consuming lots of energy drinks and soda can be included in this list.

3.      You’re more irritable

Ever find yourself losing your temper or having a short fuse?  A sleep problem could be the culprit.  A study by the University of Pennsylvania found people getting only 4.5 hours of sleep a night felt more stressed out, angry and sad.  But when they received more sleep, their mood improved.

4.       You feel more anxious and depressed

That lack of shut-eye can take a toll on your mood.  People who are sleep-restricted does tend to take a toll on emotional well-being leading to increased feelings of anxiety and depression.

5.      You’re tipping the scales

Eating habits may not always be the main problem if you find yourself gaining weight.  Lack of sleep can be a major factor for this gain in girth.  A study published in the journal PloS Medicine found people who slept less than 6 hours a day were nearly 30% more likely to become obese than those receiving 7 to 9 hours each night.  When our bodies don’t get the sleep it requires, our levels of leptin (appetite suppressing hormone) are reduced while the hormone ghrelin (appetite stimulating) is increased.

6.      Too much time on social media

Checking and rechecking social media, particular Facebook, could be a sign you need more sleep.  A study from the University of California, Irvine, showed lack of sleep to decrease productivity leading to visiting Facebook more often. When we lack sleep, we are easily distracted and our attention is shifted from looking at one computer screen to looking at your phone or Facebook.

7.      Sleeping late on days you don’t work

Maybe as a teenager or college student it was pretty routine to sleep in until noon but if you find yourself easily sleeping in more than 10 hours on a day you don’t work, your body is making up for sleep deprivation. 

8.      Having a headache, dry mouth or a sore throat are common when you wake up

These symptoms can be a sign of sleep apnea, a disorder where your airway collapses during the night causing you to stop breathing for 10 to 60 seconds at a time.  See a sleep specialist if you suspect you have this disorder as it has been linked to heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke not to mention failure to begin breathing again during the night during the seconds you stop breathing.  See a sleep specialist as treatment is available.

9.      Waking up frequently to go to the bathroom

Many of us will blame going to bathroom multiple times during the night on a small bladder or prostate.  However, sleep apnea could be the real reason for frequent trips to the bathroom.  If this is happening 3 to 4 times a night, a visit with a sleep specialist can help unravel what is really going on.

10.   Having trouble staying awake during the day

Have you ever felt like you could lay down anywhere and fall asleep immediately?  Even if it is during the day and you’re busy doing activities?  This could be a sign of poor sleep.  Just the fact you are trying to keep busy to keep from falling asleep is a telltale sign your sleep habits need help.