There are very few things in life that can hold a candle to waking up after a good night’s sleep. You are full of energy and ready to take on the day with a groovy skip to your step. The day progresses, and you are alert, completing your work tasks with focus and efficiency or you are a full-time parent that deals with your little one’s temper tantrums without so much as breaking a sweat – If the aforementioned sounds familiar, you are most likely getting the perfect amount of quality sleep.
For many of us, the above is a utopian ideal that continually slips through our fingers. Our busy lives, consisting of hectic jobs and familial responsibilities, deprive us of the time we need to get the recommended amount of between nine to ten hours of quality ZZZ’S. As you most probably have already derived from the introductory words in this article, this is a big deal.
A lack of sleep impacts your concentration levels; it leaves your skin looking grey making you look older than you are, it can jeopardize your career and even lead to premature death. So, if you find yourself feeling groggy when you are behind the wheel of your car, it’s time to take a look at some of the other signs of sleep deprivation.
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- You might feel constantly hungry – the human brain is hardwired for survival. If it can’t find the required energy from sleep, it will source it from another place. In this case, the brain will increase ghrelin (colloquially known as the hunger hormone) and leptin levels will fall, consequently increasing the need to eat and reducing satiety – the obvious knock-on effect from this is weight-gain.
- Your memory is not what it used to be – You find yourself forgetting where you placed the house keys or you arrive at the store and have forgotten why you are there. Not getting enough quality shut-eye could be the reason for this as a lack of it deprives the brain of its ability to maintain a well-functioning nervous system.
- You’re an emotional wreck – Sleep and the way you deal with things are directly correlated according to Rest Right Mattress. If you find yourself crying or overreacting to things that never bothered you in the past, you could be missing out on some serious ZZZ’s.
- You get ill often – Already a few nights of poor sleep can lower the defence properties of your immune system.
- Your eyes are wonky – The eyes’ ciliary muscles, which help them remain in focus, are fatigued. If you find yourself seeing double or have fuzzy vision, you are very probably suffering from sleep deprivation.
- Your skin is suffering – When you are a happy resident in dreamland, your skin rejuvenates during the night, repairing any damaged skin cells.
- You are indecisive – this one might be difficult to track for some. However, if you find yourself not able to make the most trivial decisions, you could be lacking sleep – not getting enough impairs concentration and focus.
- The few second sleep drift (micro-sleep) – this could be the most dangerous of the lot, and not only for you but for others as well. The classic example is when you think you’ve fallen asleep behind the wheel of a car and you wake up with a start.
What can you do about it?
- Create balance in your sleeping environment – Conduct some research on the internet for the perfect mattress, use mattressmatchers.com for example. Make sure your bedroom smells good and is not too warm.
- Don’t eat a hearty meal within two hours of bedtime.
- No napping after 3 pm.
- Establish a bedtime routine – e.g., take a warm shower, think of sleep at least one hour before bedtime to banish those stressful thoughts, look forward to reading in bed or listening to a soothing podcast and ultimately drift off.
- No exercise within two hours of going to bed.
- No caffeine (Ideally refrain from it after lunch) and alcohol (at least one hour before).
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