Are you more tired than usual? You may be experiencing symptoms of lack of sleep or sleep deprivation. Here are signs you shouldn’t sleep on.
Signs and Symptoms That You Lack Sleep
Symptoms of Sleep Deprivation
Sleep is an integral, non-negotiable pillar of human health.
When we’re hungry, our bodies can wait a bit more until our meal is cooked. However, when we’re exhausted and lacking sleep, our bodies may automatically shut down. Unfortunately, this causes many car accidents. Our mental performance and physical health also take a hard hit when we deprive our bodies of restful, uninterrupted sleep.
Here are some warning signals that you’re sleep deprived:
- it’s difficult to concentrate
- you have poor memory
- your eyes have dark circles or are puffy
- you’re irritable and moody
- you feel hungrier and experience unintentional weight gain
- you are more prone to sickness
You wouldn’t suspect symptoms like poor memory, poor health, or unintentional weight gain to be the results of your sleeping habits. That’s why it’s important to educate yourself about what it means to be truly sleep-deprived.
If you relate to a handful of these symptoms, then take this as a sign that you need to improve your sleep hygiene.
How Can I Improve the Quality of My Sleep?
Sleep hygiene is a set of good sleeping habits geared toward getting you restful slumber. It’s intended to give you sufficient sleep in an environment that promotes undisturbed shuteye.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends sleep-healthy habits, like:
- Following a sleep schedule that you can stick to both on weekends and weekdays.
- Get enough sleep each night based on your age.
- Create a dark and cool sleeping environment.
- Hopping into bed only when you’re sleepy. If you’re not yet tired, slip out of bed and engage in a non-stimulating activity and come back after 20 minutes.
- Devise a relaxing, stress-relieving bedtime routine.
- Get some physical activity during the day.
- Steer clear of caffeine and alcohol at night or earlier if you’re more sensitive to their effects.
- Don’t drink too many fluids at night.
- Eat a light meal for dinner.
- Reserve the bed for sleep and intimacy only.
Your brain is most sensitive to light two hours before bedtime. So your bedtime routine should actually begin two hours before you plan on sleeping. Dim the lights and try to avoid using your gadgets.
For most of us, it only takes improving your sleep hygiene and building a daily schedule that works around getting you quality sleep to nip the problem at the butt. It may take weeks to form the habit and a lot of willpower to remain consistent, but rest easy knowing that the effects will improve your overall health and quality of life.
How Much Sleep Do You Need?
We tend to sleep less as we age, with younger people needing the most sleep.
- Newborns, 0-3 months old, 14-17 hours
- Infants, 4-11 months old, 12-15 hours
- Toddlers, 1-2 years old, 11-14 hours
- Preschool age, 3-5 years old, 10-13 hours
- School-age, 6-13 years old, 9-11 hours
- Teenagers, 14-17 years old, 8-10 hours
- Young adults, 18-15 years old, 7-9 hours
- Adults, 26-64 years old, 7-9 hours
- Older adults, Over 65 years old, 7-8 hours
What Can’t I Sleep Well?
If you still cannot sleep well after improving your lifestyle and sleep hygiene, there are other possible causes beyond your hectic schedule that may cause you to lose sleep, like:
- chronic pain
- obstructive sleep apnea
- substance abuse
Anxiety and depression share a circular relationship with sleep deprivation. Anxiety and depression might be the reason you can’t sleep. And at the same time, a lack of sleep could also lead to the development of anxiety or depression.
There are other conditions that may offer another explanation as to why you can’t sleep like chronic fatigue syndrome and narcolepsy.
If you’re having trouble fixing your sleep habits, approach your doctor for professional help. An accurate diagnosis may help you tackle the root cause. Your doctor might also be able to help you find a treatment or lifestyle plan that works for you.
How Do I Know if I Improved My Sleep Quality?
Sleeping well isn’t as easy as laying in your bed between seven to eight hours a day.
When we refer to sleep quality, we’re not talking about whether you subjectively feel fully rested or whether or not you’ve slept long enough. There are four things we look at to judge sleep quality:
- Sleep latency is how quickly you can fall asleep. The ideal timing is to fall asleep within 30 minutes of laying down.
- Sleep waking refers to how frequently you wake up in the middle of the night. While waking up once during sleep is fine, waking up too frequently disrupts your sleep quality.
- Wakefulness or wakefulness after sleep onset (WASO) is how much time you spend awake after you first fall asleep. If you wake up for 15 minutes and then again for 5 minutes, then your WASO would be 20 minutes. A WASO with a maximum of 20 minutes may indicate good sleep quality.
- Sleep efficiency is a percentage that indicates how much time you actually sleep in a bed.
If you check all the boxes, then congratulations! You’re doing well!
Treat your body well and your mind and body will perform exactly how you need them to.
What Are the Dangers of Lack of Sleep?
Scientists herald restful sleep, a healthful diet, and physical activity as the three pillars of health.
These three keep you in shape, keep your body functioning normally, and protect you from chronic illnesses.
Sleep deprivation is the stepping stone to a whole lot of dangerous consequences. A lack of sleep may greatly increase cortisol levels, and cause you to gain weight, which puts you at higher risk for serious conditions like:
- insulin resistance
- vascular disease
- high blood pressure or hypertension
- heart attack or myocardial infarction
It could also attack your mental health and might develop into anxiety, depression, and even psychosis.
Sleep deprivation or poor sleep quality may take a toll on your health. It begins with poor concentration and memory and may end with more serious health conditions.
Sleep quality shouldn’t be taken quality. That’s why we at Serta make sure to provide you with beds that provide you with luxurious slumber.
Arm yourself with healthy sleeping habits and a cool and relaxing sleep environment to help you get plenty of much-needed slumber. Take comfort in the fact that improving your sleep quality only takes improving your sleep hygiene.
And an indulgent mattress wouldn’t hurt.
Do you display some symptoms of lack of sleep? What’s keeping you up at night? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below! We’d love to hear from you.