It is estimated that one in five adults experiences sleep deprivation, a condition categorized by the inability to get enough sleep. On average, our bodies require seven to eight hours of sleep, and numerous studies have shown the consequences associated with too little sleep.
The causes of sleep deprivation can range from voluntary behavior – a person simply does not allow themselves to sleep long enough, personal obligations – pulls them away from sleep, work hours and medical conditions – may keep a person awake at night. Regardless of what is causing the sleep deprivation, getting adequate sleep is essential for good health.
If you’re concerned that your lack of sleep is negatively affecting you, here are five signs that reveal if you have sleep deprivation or not.
5 signs of sleep deprivation
You can’t make simple decisions
Should you order food or make it at home? Should you use your visa or debit card to pay for your purchase? We encounter many simple decisions every day, but when you’re sleep deprived they can seem like the most difficult and daunting task in front of you.
When you’re tired your ability to distinguish between important or irrelevant details becomes impaired and even the easiest decision becomes an ordeal. Therefore, if you are having trouble deciding between pizza and burgers, you may be sleep deprived.
You’re hungry even though you’ve eaten
If you’ve been snacking and eating all day and yet you could still go for more food, that’s another sign of sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation plays a negative role in blood sugar, making you feel hungry all the time. Worse yet, it has been shown that tired people often reach for sugar-loaded, carb-rich foods, which are even worse for your waistline and health.
If you keep making numerous trips to the refrigerator, try hitting the sack instead.
You’re sick often
Sleep deprivation is linked to a weakened immune system, leaving you defenceless the moment a bug becomes airborne. In a study where healthy individuals were injected with the cold virus, those who slept less than seven hours were three times more likely to develop a cold compared to those who slept eight hours or more.
Additionally, those who slept for four hours for several consecutive nights were found to have weaker immune responses to the flu virus than those who achieved regular sleep.
If you want to ward off illness, it’s advised you get some sleep.
You cry at the weirdest things
Does a puppy on the TV have you in a pool of your own tears? Sure, changing hormones can affect your emotional response, but so can sleep deprivation. In brain-imaging scans of well-rested and sleep deprived individuals, the sleep deprived group had a higher response level of fear and anxiety when shown disturbing images, compared to the well rested group. Furthermore, the sleep deprived group had less response in the part of the brain that regulates emotional response, which reveals they did not do a good job controlling their emotions.
If everything you grab seems to slip away or you continuously bump into objects, you can blame sleep deprivation for that. Sleep deprivation contributes to slower response times and weakened motor skills.
There are a few different reasons why this occurs. For starters, sleep deprivation impairs reflexes and reduces focus. On the other hand, being tired throws off balance and depth perception. Worse yet, if the desire to sleep becomes too strong, it can cause a momentary blackout or unconscious episode, leading to a higher risk of injury. If you’ve become a butterfingers as of late, once again, the best thing you can do for your health is head straight to bed.
Aside from the effects that sleep deprivation can have on your body, these signs can wreak havoc on your health overall. It’s important to recognize the signs and symptoms associated with sleep deprivation in order to combat them.
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