Feeling tired, groggy, irritated, hungry – all at the same time but can’t figure out why?
Can’t seem to lose weight even after sacrificing your favorite foods and struggling through your rounds at the gym?
A bigger but unknown reason might be at play: Sleep.
Research, time and again, has proven that lack of sleep or sleep deprivation leads to unprecedented health damages such as increasing the risk of obesity, type-II diabetes, cancer, and high-blood pressure. Chronic sleep deprivation can have serious repercussions and can turn into serious disorders such as Sleep Apnea.
So how to check if you are getting sufficient sleep?
The amount of sleep your body needs on a regular basis for optimal performance is called Basal Sleep Needs. While sleep needs are most directly influenced by age as shown below, individual sleep needs might vary considerably. However, they tend to fall within the stipulated range.
The problem starts when you are unable to meet your Basal Sleep Needs due to poor sleep habits, environmental factors, sickness, or other factors leading to an accumulation of insufficient sleep called Sleep Debt.
While temporary Sleep Debt of few hours can be compensated by sleeping in more on weekends or a few hours longer on weekdays, chronic Sleep Debt can lead to serious health complications such as the heightened risk of obesity, cancer, type-II diabetes, and high blood pressure.
Symptoms that you’re not getting sufficient sleep
Sometimes it might get difficult to keep a check on whether you are getting your complete quota of sleep every day, especially if you remain active at work for long hours, hit the gym, follow the right diet, and maintain a healthy social life. However, to maintain such a perfect yet hectic life, you often resort to compromising on sleep. In the short run, you can’t really tell the difference because you are mostly shot up on caffeine, but missing those signs can prove highly harmful if not lethal. Your body drops subtle hints that you can use to identify if you are indeed getting sufficient sleep or you have been giving your bed the cold-shoulder.
Listen to your body and check if it gives you any of the following signs:
1. You’re constantly tired
Though you manage to waddle through the day with utmost sincerity and energy and even put in the extra hours at work and gym, you feel constantly tired. Your mood and spirit take a beating and you wish to just relax and unwind. It is natural to feel tired by the end of the day, but if you feel tired throughout the day and can’t shake off the lazy over a period of days – you need to snooze off!
2. You’re sleepy throughout the day even after drinking few cups of coffee
No matter how much coffee you gurgle up, you are always sleepy. You can sleep anywhere at anytime. Even the bench at the park looks like a great place to take a quick nap. If you are craving sleep throughout the day, you need to improve your sleep schedule.
3. You’re always cranky
You are acting like an emotional-minefield lately. Even the smallest of mistakes is pissing you off. You can’t seem to control your emotions. You keep blowing things out of proportion. And, you are doing it when you are not even PMSing! You clearly need to get more sleep.
According to a study from Harvard Medical School, people get more irritable and less capable of handling stress when they are sleep deprived. Sleep deprivation can lead to severe emotional concerns such as anxiety and depression.
4. You have difficulty concentrating
Poor sleep can considerably bring down your ability to concentrate and reduce your memory. In a survey of the nation’s sleep, it was found that sleep deprived people reported 62% lower ability to concentrate and think clearly.
5. Your cognitive skills have declined
Been clumsy lately? Can’t seem to maintain your motor skills? Poor sleep can have a considerable impact on your cognitive skills and hand-eye coordination. Being sleep deprived is similar to being drunk. Imagine driving to work without proper sleep.
6. You’re groggy in the morning
Your morning grogginess doesn’t go away even when you have reached school or work! It might considerably affect the quality of your life, especially if this persists over a considerable period of time. Maintaining a regular sleep schedule and exposing yourself to more sunlight in the morning might help. Yes, draw out those curtains as soon as you wake up.
7. You constantly feel disoriented or confused about your life
Lack of sleep has a direct impact on your thought patterns and reduce your emotional stability. It makes you feel dull and low and can make you confused about the direction of your life. If you find yourself getting lost about your life too often, maybe you are not getting enough rest.
8. You’re constantly hungry and crave high-carb, high-fat food
For some reason, you are constantly hungry and you only crave for greasy-tempting food. It’s not your fault. Sleep deprivation manipulates the hormones in our body to increase hunger. So, if you are constantly reaching out for junk food or waking up mid-night for snacks, you are clearly lacking good sleep.
9. You fall asleep as soon as you hit the pillow
Natural deep sleep flows through five stages of sleep in which the first stage includes light to moderate sleep for about 5 to 10 minutes with the conscious brain working. If you are skipping the first 5 to 10 minutes of light sleep and snore away as soon as you hit the bed, then according to the Institute of Neurological Sleep Disorders and Stroke, you are likely suffering from severe sleep deprivation.
10. Your immunity has declined
You could earlier stay out in negative temperature all night, take an ice-bucket challenge, eat a dozen ice creams, ride in crowded public transport, eat any street food, and yet get away with any diseases. But you now seem to fall ill even if someone sneezes at the workplace. Clearly, your immune system has taken a beating and lack of sleep might be the culprit.
The next time you see yourself feeling unnecessarily hungry, tired, and cranky or find yourself falling ill more than usual, it is time to take close look at your sleep habits. Make sure you are hitting the bed at the right time!
If you want to fix all the sleep habit errors and return to your deep sleep schedule, check this out.
Source: Sleepfoundation.org and HealthCentral.com