Most people are familiar with the classic daytime sleepiness and mental fog that comes from not getting enough sleep. But what about the less obvious signs? Feeling like a zombie isn’t the only sign that you’re sleep deprived. In fact, you may feel completely rested during the day but still not get the recommended amount of sleep you need each night.
While you may feel fine during the day, research shows that even an hour’s lack of sleep can dramatically increase your risk of disease and negatively impact your everyday health. To avoid long-term health consequences, here are some less obvious signs that you’re not sleeping.
Your mood is everywhere.
You probably know there’s a link between sleep and mental health. When you don’t close your eyes enough, you may notice that you get annoyed easily and feel overwhelmed by little things. According to WebMD, the reason for this is that one night of poor sleep reduces your ability to deal with everyday stress.
Unfortunately, acute and chronic stress can also make it difficult to get a good night’s sleep. To reduce stress and close your eyes better, try developing a gentle bedtime routine. Make yourself a cup of chamomile tea, bury yourself in a heavy blanket, and relax with a good book. The calmer you are before bed, the more likely you are to fall into a peaceful sleep.
You are hungrier than usual.
Feeling nauseous? Lately, craving all kinds of junk food? A restless night can be to blame. When your brain doesn’t get the energy it needs from sleep, it changes the hormones that control your appetite to get energy from food instead. The result is an incessant stomach growling and cravings for chips, donuts, and other high-calorie foods with a signal of abundant energy.
Not surprisingly, this can lead to weight gain if the problem (poor sleep) isn’t fixed. If the bathroom scale inched up, it could be another sign that you’re not getting a good night’s sleep.
You have dark circles under your eyes.
Dark circles under your eyes can be a sign that you’re not getting enough sleep to restore your health. Regular sleep deprivation causes your blood vessels to dilate, increasing blood flow throughout your body. The blood vessels under the eyes are especially noticeable because the skin around your eyes is thinner. (Hence the darkness you get when you oversleep.)
Similarly, lack of sleep can also lead to water retention around the eyes. If you wake up with dark circles and/or puffy eyes in the morning, you can try sleeping with a sleep mask. Along with blocking out light and helping you feel more relaxed before bed, many warming and cooling sleeping masks can help soothe tired eyes.
You are making exceptionally poor decisions.
We all make bad decisions at some point. Mistakes are how we learn and become better people. But if you’ve been making a series of poor decisions lately, sleep deprivation could be the culprit.
In a study published in the journal Sleep, researchers asked 26 healthy adults to make decisions based on fictional dilemmas before and after being awake for 53 hours. The results of the study showed that sleep-deprived participants responded more slowly to ethical dilemmas and had more difficulty deciding the appropriate course of action.
Similarly, research has also shown that sleep deprivation tends to increase your impulsivity. This is because your sleep-deprived brain processes information more slowly – like a possible negative outcome of the action you want to take.
Key point? Don’t make important decisions when your sleep quality is being affected.
You are more forgetful.
Feeling more forgetful, lately? It could be a sign that you’re not sleeping well.
Adequate REM sleep is important for new information processing and memory consolidation. According to the National Sleep Foundation, a bad night’s sleep can reduce your ability to learn by up to 40%.
Sleep deprivation can negatively impact the brain in another way. According to a 2018 study, even a night of tossing and turning can cause a build-up of beta-amyloid, a metabolic waste product that has been linked to reduced mood, memory, and overall brain function in children. people with Alzheimer’s disease.
You are clumsier than usual.
Some people are just born clumsy. But if your normal foot stumbles and bumps a lot, it could mean you’re too tired. Closing your eyes without journaling can mess up our motor skills, which are your body’s ability to process movement. Exhaustion can decrease your reaction time and make it difficult to concentrate, both of which are not ideal if you are playing a team sport or doing a dangerous job that requires complete concentration. whole.
It’s worth mentioning that unusual clumsiness can also be a sign of a serious underlying health condition, such as a stroke or brain tumor. If you’re already clumsy at a late hour, you shouldn’t schedule a checkup with your doctor.
Your sex drive is going up in smoke.
If you want a healthy sex life, start prioritizing your sleep. Studies have shown that getting more sleep can improve your sex drive, while not getting enough sleep can have the opposite effect.
It’s not hard to see how lack of sleep can lower your sex drive. When exhausted, the last thing you might feel like doing is an energy-burning activity like sex.
But there could be more to it than simple burnout. Poor sleep can also suppress the production of sex hormones such as estrogen and testosterone, ultimately leading to a decreased sex drive.
Get the rest you need
We all know that sleep is essential for better health, so why don’t many of us make our sleep a priority? If you’ve recently burned candles on both ends, consider this your friendly reminder to build a better bedtime routine and start getting the quality Zzzs you need.