Quality sleep is critical to our overall health so it is important to be aware of our sleep patterns and to note when we are consistently not getting enough sleep. NDTV reports on eight signs of sleep deprivation to help readers understand the importance of sleep and recognize if they are experiencing it.
Sleep deprivation is a type of sleeping disorder but it is not insomnia. It is not the same as having one or two nights of less sleep or even less quality sleep. Instead, this disorder involves a consistent pattern of lack of sleep over a long period of time. Usually, this lack of sleep is due to external reasons such as working long hours.
In a more simplistic sense, insomnia is the inability to sleep and sleep deprivation is the lack of opportunity to sleep well.
Below are eight signs that you are sleep deprived and your body is taking a toll.
- Higher stress levels
Sleep and stress levels are inversely related – the less sleep you get, the more stressed you are. This increase in stress and irritability is due to an increase in the stress hormone Cortisol. Stress levels can also cause lower quality or less sleep, making this a vicious cycle.
- Daytime sleepiness or lethargy
A good night’s sleep gives us the energy we need to successfully get through the day so it makes sense that people who are sleep deprived are lethargic throughout the day. This can affect your ability to make decisions and can also be dangerous if you are too sleepy while driving.
- Feeling overemotional
Low quality sleep can make you overly emotional, irritable, anxious, and less able to manage your emotions well.
- Lower immunity
Good sleep is an excellent immune system booster. This is because your body replenishes while you’re sleeping and produces antibodies that fight infections. If you don’t get enough sleep, your body doesn’t have the opportunity to produce these antibodies and protect you from illness.
- Skin breakouts
Antibodies aren’t the only things the body produces at night – it also produces collagen, which makes your skin firmer. This can also cause acne.
- Effects of alcohol
Alcohol affects you differently when you are sleep deprived. People who are not getting enough sleep have a lower tolerance for alcohol.
Our brains take sleep as an opportunity to solidify our memories into our minds. If we’re not getting enough sleep, we might not remember certain events in a few years. People who are sleep deprived also cannot pay attention or remember small details as well.
- Perpetual hunger
Feeling insatiably hungry while sleep deprived is common because leptin, the hormone that controls your appetite, is not produced normally when the body is tired. This makes the body think that it needs more calories.
- Weight gain
While weight gain is related to perpetual hunger, it also occurs for another reason. Bodies that are sleep deprived have a slower metabolism which leads to weight gain.