Sleep deprivation can affect anyone, from young teenagers to mature adults. It is a situation that should be dealt with as soon as one can, for it can have negative effects on your health – both physical and mental.
On this previous article, we talked about how to improve sleep quality and how adjustable beds can be a way for you to handle sleep deprivation. But to be able to find ways deal with sleep deprivation, you have to first find out whether you are indeed suffering from it or not.
In order to do so, here are signs that you are in an urgent need of sleep.
Major signs of sleep deprivation
You’ve gained weight – You are always hungry
When you don’t get enough sleep, your brain tries to get the energy it needs from food. The less you sleep and the more your body produces the hunger hormone. That is how you end up craving food more than usual, which leads on to you gaining weight. Weight gain is accentuated by the consumption of sweets and heavy meals since not only don’t you pay attention to what you eat – that takes way too much energy for someone who hasn’t slept properly – but you also crave that specific kind of food that makes your stomach feel full extremely fast. Furthermore, sleep deprivation can also result in a slower metabolism, hence the weight gain.
You have to deal with mood swings
How do you feel after a good night of sleep? Fantastic, right? Well it is the exact opposite of how you feel when you are not getting enough sleep. You tend to be more impulsive, more irritable and more short-tempered. That is quite natural in the way that when running low on sleep, you find it a bit harder to control yourself, and that’s why you find yourself snapping quicker than usual.
The main issue with this is that these mood swings may become more severe and turn into serious disorders. Sleep and mental health are tightly linked, which is why lack of sleep easily impacts one’s mood. It is also why it is so common to have people who suffer from anxiety who also happen to deal with sleep disorders.
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You find yourself falling asleep when driving
One of the first signs of sleep deprivation is you falling asleep at the wheel without even noticing. When you don’t get enough sleep, your mind doesn’t care whether you are driving or not, when it feels like you are in the right place and the right moment to sleep, it forces you to fall asleep.
In such cases, try to avoid driving, or ask a friend to drive instead.
It is hard for you to concentrate
As indicated before, lack of sleep directly affects your brain’s performances. On top of mood swings, sleep deprivation can also cause a tremendous lack of focus, which results in many other issues such as:
Since your concentration drops and you become less attentive to your surroundings, your memory suffers in the sense that you become much more forgetful than usual. Your keys, a phone call, or even worse, an appointment, all those responsibilities get forgotten and add on stress that keeps you up yet again at night.
On top of that, you start making unusual mistakes, that can even turn into accidents sometimes. Since you are easily distracted and you have a hard time focusing on the tasks at hand, you tend not to pay attention to everything, and thus errors pile up and make you panic, which causes you to make more mistakes and panic even more – and that’s how you find yourself in a vicious circle.
It sounds ridiculous, but not sleeping enough can cause you to miss one step or two when climbing the stairs, or even trip on your own feet when walking. That is because your brain needs more time than usual to process the information it needs to have you walking in a straight line without falling.
You get sick frequently
There is a reason why your doctor asks you to sleep as much as you can whenever you catch a cold.
Not getting enough sleep may cause your immune system to weaken. That results in you getting sick more often than usual. It is because your body doesn’t have the energy it demands to help your body fight off diseases and infections. Not only that, but when asleep, your body produces proteins called cytokines that help you fight inflammations. Naturally, not sleeping induces a drop in the production of those proteins. That is why you may find yourself frequently getting sick, which indicates a serious condition of sleep deprivation.