The amount of sleep you need might differ from how much sleep your neighbor, coworker or sibling needs. If you’re not getting enough sleep, every part of your health and well-being suffers. Here are some signs that you might be sleep-deprived and some tips on what you can do about it.
1. You’re Always Hungry
When you’re sleep-deprived, your body makes a hormone called ghrelin, which makes you want to eat. It also makes your body store more energy as fat around your belly. Your body isn’t getting the energy it needs from sleep, so it’s trying to get it from food. Ghrelin makes you crave sugary and fatty foods, such as doughnuts and candy bars. Poor sleep decreases the amount of leptin your body makes. Leptin is a hormone that makes you feel full. Getting the right amount of sleep balances these hormone levels, so you’re less likely to overeat.
2. Your Clothes Are Tight
Sleep deprivation leads to weight gain. Not only do you crave and eat more sugary and fatty foods, but your metabolism slows down. Your body’s ability to maintain stable blood sugar levels decreases by 30 percent after just a few days of sleep deprivation. Insufficient sleep and poor-quality sleep are leading risk factors for obesity.
3. Behavior Changes
If you’re usually a rational person, sleep deprivation causes you to be more impulsive. You might act before thinking things through. Your memory may be poor. You might forget whether or not you sent in the payment for the electricity bill, or you might forget to pick up your child after a school event. Your ability to make good decisions will decrease. Your thinking won’t be as clear, and you might have a difficult time making up your mind. Sleep deprivation also leads to moodiness or uneven emotions. Without realizing it, you might fall asleep while driving.
4. Increase in Clumsiness
When you’re sleep-deprived, your motor control decreases. You might trip over nothing. Your ability to do fine movements might decrease, causing you to accidentally cut yourself when chopping veggies or using scissors. When driving, your reaction time will take longer, which could lead to an auto accident. Your vision’s acuity decreases because sleep deprivation leads to a decrease in your ability to control your eye muscles.
5. You Catch More Colds
Sleep deprivation decreases your immune system’s ability to fend off germs. You might catch more colds or get sicker than you would if you were getting enough quality sleep. Just a few days of sleep deprivation leads to poor immune system functioning. Poor sleep also makes your skin look dull and dry.
Taking Action on Sleep Deprivation
Sleep deprivation is a problem that can be solved. Go to bed when you feel tired. Maintain a consistent bedtime and awakening time. Install room-darkening blinds and curtains. Get rid of the electronics and extra lights in your bedroom. Choose a comfortable new mattress if your current one is more than five to 10 years old. Select some soft, plush linens for your bed. Only use your bedroom for intimacy and sleep. Maintain a temperature of 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit in your bedroom for optimal comfort.