5 Signs you’re sleep deprived

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5 Signs you’re sleep deprived

You may think you know if you are sleep deprived but would you?  Sure, lack of energy, fatigue or wanting to fall asleep at work, could be clues you are not sleeping well. But, there are other tell-tale signs of too many restless nights of lack of sleep.  These signs can show up in how you look and how you feel (other than tired). Here are 5 signs of different areas of your body telling you, you need more sleep:

1.     Your skin

The largest organ of your body, your skin, has a way of telling the world, “I lack sufficient sleep!” Studies have shown there is a link between too few hours snoozing and acne breakouts, which may be related to how sleep controls hormones in the body. Moisture levels in your skin will also suffer resulting in drier skin. Dull, lifeless-looking skin is another result of not enough sleep. Every day, dead skin cells need to be sloughed off.  It is while you sleep that your surface skin cells undergo repair. Dark circles under your eyes may not always be due to being sleep deprived but falling short on sleep can make them appear or become more prominent. One more reason to give your body the chance to refresh and renew after a good night’s sleep, is to reduce signs of aging. When you fall short on sleep, your skin takes the brunt with visible signs of aging such as crow’s feet and fine lines.

2.      Your eyes

Look into your eyes and what do you see?  If what stares back at you is redness, puffiness, dark circles, and undereye bags, very likely it’s caused by lack of sleep. Again, when you are deficient on sufficient shut-eye, your body will miss out on the hormone control and tissue repair that happens during deep sleep stages. 

3.      You gain weight

Not enough Zzzz’s can cause weight gain. If you are chronically sleep deprived, your sleepiness may be registering to you as being hungry.  Often when we feel sluggish, we tend to seek out food to give us a boost of energy.  If this sluggish feeling is happening several times a day, our caloric intake rapidly adds up. 

There are also two hormones, leptin and ghrelin, whose levels are affected by lack of sleep.  These two hormones are critical to whether we may gain too much weight or not.  Leptin tells us when to stop eating while ghrelin tells us it’s time to eat.  Lacking sufficient zzzz’s causes leptin levels to go down while ghrelin levels go up.  

Here’s a twist on having a sleep debt – it can alter brain chemicals making individuals unable to resist snacks, particularly for sweet and salty foods.  A 2015 study in the journal Sleep found sleep-deprived individuals had 33% higher levels of a chemical compound which increases the pleasant feelings of food, especially of sweet or salty high-fat foods.   Sweet and salty foods tend to be higher in calories which will make it harder for a person craving these foods to keep weight off. 

4.      Your mood changes

Lashing out at others, feeling irritable or moody, are not always necessarily because you are a difficult person to be around.  It could be related to poor sleep. A study has found that people who were limited to only 4 ½ hours of sleep each night, felt more stressed, angry, and mentally exhausted. Once they returned to normal sleeping habits and hours, the participants felt much better.

Another way lack of sleep affects us is by increasing depression. Generally, people who are depressed have poor sleep. What’s worse, is these conditions are circular – depression can lead to insufficient sleep and insufficient sleep can lead to depression

Feeling groggy from not enough sleep can affect your concentration and memory.  This can leave you feeling less productive or skilled at your job.  Even worse, when you are driving, you may find yourself wanting to nod off due to excessive sleepiness.

5.      You wake up feeling poorly

If you find yourself waking up with a sore throat, dry mouth or a headache, this often indicates to a medical reason for not sleeping well – sleep apnea, snoring, or acid reflux, as examples. If these symptoms continue, discuss them with your healthcare provider to figure out the cause and how to treat it.  

Tips on getting a good night’s sleep

Adequate sleep is necessary for good health. The average adult requires between 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night.  If you are lacking on that amount and need help to achieve, here are some tips on having a better night’s sleep:

·      Stick to a sleep schedule.  As much as you can, go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, even on the weekends.

·      Always make your bed every day.  Yes, this makes a difference.  There appears to be a correlation between a clean sleeping environment and how well we sleep throughout the night.  Clean your bed sheets often and tidy up the bed before going out for the day.

·      Resist afternoon naps.  As tempting as they are, taking a snooze mid-afternoon, can disrupt your ability to fall asleep at night. If you must rest during the day, make it no longer than 20 minutes.

·      Avoid heavy meals and caffeine before bedtime.  Eating a big meal right before falling asleep can cause discomfort with indigestion making it harder to fall asleep.  Eat at least 2 to 3 hours before crawling into bed for the night. 

·      Keep all electronics out of your bedroom.  This even includes the TV.  Having a habit of watching TV or browsing through social media can make it hard to fall asleep due to the particular type of light emanating from the screens. 

·      Each day, get in some exercise.  Vigorous activity is best but even light exercise can be helpful. 

·      Keep your bedroom set at a cool, comfortable temperature.  When drowsy, your body temperature goes down and then rises again once morning comes.  To avoid restlessness throughout the night, it is recommended to set your thermostat to 65 degrees in your bedroom. 

·      Sleep in light clothing.  Wear comfortable, lightweight clothing to bed. Bundling up too warm will only make it harder to fall asleep.