by Ryan Blair
It’s universally understood that a good night’s sleep is crucial to one’s mental, physical, and emotional health.
Most specialists recommend seven to nine hours of sleep a night, though let’s face it: we’ve all been guilty of skimping. Whether it’s a late night out or a project that keeps you up till dawn, missing the occasional full night’s sleep is a normal aspect of being a busy human being. However, chronic sleep deprivation can lead to serious illnesses, from an increased risk of type 2 diabetes to cardiovascular disease, as well as excessive weight gain and depression.
Here are seven signs you may not be getting enough sleep, some of which may surprise you:
Sleep is the body’s time to recharge and build up necessary defenses so you can face another day. Research has detected that the body’s rate of producing germ-fighting cells corresponds with one’s circadian rhythms, so if you’re slacking off on sleep you’re lowering your immunity. If you find yourself getting sick more often than usual, take that as a sign to slow down and log in more sleep time.
Hunger = Weight Gain.
Studies have shown that people who get five hours of sleep or less showed significantly lower levels of the hunger-suppressing hormone leptin than in people who get the recommended eight. Leptin keeps your appetite stable, so the more it decreases the more likely you are to overeat and thus, gain unwanted weight. If you notice yourself putting on some extra pounds, add a few more hours of sleep to sleep regime. And for those who often wake with midnight cravings, try taking a supplement such as casein protein powder before bed. Derived from the primary protein found in milk, casein protein powder has been proven to properly maintain the immune system and muscle health. It is also known to keep the body sustained during its sleep cycle, which will ward off any hunger pangs.
Delayed Motor Skills.
Sleep deprivation affects all aspects of how we function in our daily routines, including neurologically. Simple activities such as climbing stairs and reaching for objects can be dramatically impaired if the brain hasn’t gotten enough rest. If you find yourself tripping or dropping things at an embarrassing rate, that may be a sign sleep deprivation is hindering your ability to process and react.
You’re moodier than ever.
We all have ‘off’ days when we just aren’t feeling the daily grind. But chronic crankiness and an impulsive temper may be the mark of insufficient snooze time. Just as your body needs sleep for restorative purposes, your mental health is also largely dependent on inactivity and repose. If your stress levels seem higher than usual, turn in earlier at night. Even if you lie in bed reading for an hour or so before sleep, this will give your mind some much-needed down time.
Your eyesight isn’t up to par.
According to ophthalmologists, when you’re fatigued, it’s harder to control the muscles of the eye, which can impair vision. Lack of sleep weakens the ciliary muscle, which helps your eyes maintain focus, particularly when reading up close. Double vision is also a common occurrence for those suffering from sleep deprivation.
Poor skin appearance.
The term “beauty sleep” exists for a reason. Your skin produces vital collagen and regenerates cells while you sleep, so if you’re not getting enough shut-eye you may see more lines, under eye circles, and even breakouts as a result.
This might seem like the most obvious sign of sleep deprivation, but you may be surprised at how easy it is to overlook or dismiss the many symptoms. If you find yourself nodding off throughout the day, experiencing extreme exhaustion after seemingly low energy activities, or feeling the need for multiple naps at odd hours, it’s possible that you’re not getting a sufficient amount of sleep.
Nearly 10 years as a personal trainer has given Ryan a vast amount of knowledge and expertise within the health, fitness, and nutrition space. His love of writing, combined with his passion for helping others guarantees the delivery of helpful and challenging information. He loves interacting with his readers and is dedicated to helping them live healthier, more fulfilling lives.