Depending on how much sleep you're currently getting, your body may be sending you sneaky signs that you're sleep deprived. Since the Centers for Disease Control estimates that 50 to 70 million U.S. adults suffer from sleep wakefulness disorder, it's clear that America is seriously sleep deprived. You might think that you're getting more than enough sleep to function, but it might be time to examine your own definition of "function." Functioning isn't thriving, just as surviving isn't really living. The bare minimum is never the goal, and sleeping the shortest amount of time in order to get through the following day is no way to present your best self to the world.
Sometimes it can be hard to tell, though, if you truly are sleep deprived. Especially if you work hard, eat right, and sleep as much as you can given your insanely hectic lifestyle. You're doing the best you can, so what more can be done? However, your body is extremely trustworthy in letting you know what you need, so really, you just need to pay attention in order to find the answer. Listen up, and your bod will give it to you straight. Here are all the sneaky signs that you need more sleep, and should go take a nap immediately.
1. You're in a state of constant crankiness
When a baby gets fussy, it might be time for a nap. And apparently, humans never really grow out of that. A study from Harvard Medical School shows a connection between sleep disorders and emotional and mental health issues. The more tired you are, the more irritable you become. You become less equipped to handle stress. And that can lead to anxiety, depression, and other disorders down the road.
2. You're always hungry
No matter how often you're feeding that hangry stomach of yours, it's never satisfied. You might find some charm and humor in that, in sort of a Liz Lemon-always-snacking kind of way. But, a study by NCBI found that lack of sleep leads to a decreased level of leptin (the hormone that inhibits hunger and regulates energy). So if you're constantly craving a snack, it could be because you're sleep deprived.
3. You pass out as soon as your head hits the pillow
If putting your head down on a pillow is all it takes for you to dive into a deep sleep, then you need more sleep. According to the Institute of Neurological Sleep Disorders and Stroke, if you fall asleep within five minutes of lying down, you are probably suffering from severe sleep deprivation.
4. You look hungover even when you're not
This is not a good look. Puffy, bloodshot eyes and a dull complexion are not always the direct result of too much booze the night before. This also occurs when you haven't gotten much sleep. Why do you think they call it "beauty sleep?"
5. Your immune system sucks
Dear Immune System, You had one job — to keep the diseases away. WTF?
If you keep getting colds and always feel like garbage, lack of sleep might be to blame. Need proof? In one study, healthy people were injected with the cold virus. Those who had gotten less than seven hours of sleep each night the week before were three times more likely to develop cold symptoms compared to those who got eight hours or more. Oh the difference an hour makes.
6. You're spacing out on the reg
Daydreaming and taking imagination breaks during the workday is not the same as staring into a blurry void of nothing. One stimulates the brain, and one is a sign that you are lacking in cumulative Zs. And to those who think staying up late to complete a project is a good idea — sorry, but you are incorrect. You simply do not become more productive the longer you go without proper rest. So know when it's time to call it a day, and return to your work when you are fully rested.
7. You ugly cry over every little thing
Harvard Medical School also found that a good night's sleep promotes emotional resilience, while lack of sleep leads to emotional vulnerability. So outside of PMS, if random things are making you weep, it's time to evaluate your sleep habits.
8. You can't fully wake up with the help of coffee
Coffee is your savior, but what about when it doesn't seem to save you at all? If you're still tired throughout the day and have trouble waking up after your routine cup of joe, then you didn't snooze long enough the night before.
9. Your sex drive is MIA
It's hard to get into sexytimes with your partner when the moment you lie down, you're out like a light. And in a study by NCBI, sleep deprivation has been linked to lowered sex drive. So, go to bed so you can become once again interested in sex. Because what is life without it?
10. You doze at the end of yoga or in the movie theater
If it's still daytime and you're on the verge of snoozing when placed in a dark room or environment, your body is telling you to catch more Zs. So it's time to listen!
11. You're clumsier than J.Law
Clumsiness brings a certain level of charm to someone's persona, but it could also be a signal that you need more rest. Your motor skills take a dive when you're sleepy. And a 1997 study even found that a person who has gone a night without sleep is as lacking in hand-eye coordination in the morning as someone who is considered legally drunk. Now imagine that same person driving to work. Yikes.
12. Your skin is a war zone of blemishes
Oh yeah, acne arrives in full force when you're overtired. So that's fun. Especially when you're in your 30s and should be past your pimple prime. Your skin works to repair itself throughout the night and when it's deprived of that time, your hormones spike and your skin's collagen breaks down, according to an NCBI study.
13. You're suddenly a night owl
Your body wants you to get into a healthy routine, so when you're running on not much sleep, it tries to regulate itself by providing a surge of energy at the worst possible time — right before bed, according to Dr. Rafael Pelayo of Stanford University Sleep Medicine Center.
Moral of the story? Go to bed. Now.
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