7 Surprising Signs You Need More Sleep
Are you getting enough sleep? Modern life is full of stressors and distractions that tempt us to cut corners on our snooze time. Sleep plays a crucial role in our health, mood, and daily functioning, but it can be all too easy to overlook the warning signs that it’s time to catch more Zs. Our body has various ways of signalling when we’re not getting enough rest; some of these indicators may surprise you. In this article, we’ll explore the less obvious signs your body is telling you that you need more sleep. Stay tuned to discover how to maintain a healthier, more energised version of yourself.
You Can’t Shake That Unhealthy Craving
Did you know that a lack of sleep can lead to unhealthy food choices? When you’re not well-rested, your body might crave quick energy in the form of high-calorie, high-carb foods like doughnuts or pizza. Moreover, sleep deprivation can disrupt the balance of appetite-regulating hormones in your body, like ghrelin and leptin. When these hormones are out of whack, you’re more likely to feel hungrier throughout the day. Listening to your cravings and paying close attention to your eating habits can play a significant role in determining whether or not you’re getting enough sleep.
After a long day of activity, our bodies need some downtime for restoration and recuperation. If we don’t get enough sleep, this can cause us to search for energy in other places such as food. That’s why it is so important that we ensure we are getting adequate rest each night! Prolonged periods of inadequate sleep can lead to serious health issues like diabetes, obesity, and other chronic illnesses.
The most effective way to overcome this is to get enough sleep. Unfortunately, sometimes this isn’t possible, so if your hunger has become insatiable due to lack of sleep, it’s wise to opt for high-nutrient food sources like porridge and fruits as opposed to sugary treats and fast food.
Your Skin and Eyes Reveal the Truth
Have you noticed your skin or eyes looking withdrawn and lacklustre? Your complexion might appear dull, your eyes may be puffy, or you may develop under-eye bags or dark circles. When you sleep, your body goes into repair and regeneration mode, which includes producing more collagen and elastin; these proteins keep your skin smooth, firm, and youthful. Denying your body proper shut-eye means missing out on this crucial process, inviting earlier signs of aging and overall fatigue.
To combat these obvious signs of fatigue, you need to get your beauty sleep. In the meantime, keeping your skin hydrated will help improve your complexion.
You’re More Forgetful
A vital function of sleep is to help your brain process, consolidate and store memories. When you’re sleep-deprived, you might be more prone to forgetfulness and have trouble recalling information. Sleep plays a critical role in maintaining cognitive functions, so if you notice yourself becoming increasingly forgetful, your body might be trying to signal that you need more sleep.
This often happens to sleep-deprived new parents – so-called ‘Mummy Brain’ affects cognitive function and memory. If getting more sleep is not an option for you, try simple things to jog your memory, like reminders on your phone, sticky notes, putting things away in the same place, tying a ribbon to your keys, and writing lists.
You’re More Accident-Prone
If you’re finding yourself bumping into objects, tripping on stairs, or fumbling with things that usually come naturally to you, you may not be getting enough sleep. If you are worried about safety, visit your doctor to make sure there are no unlying reasons for your lack of coordination.
When we’re tired, our reaction times and motor skills become impaired. This means that operating machinery, driving a car or even just going about your usual day-to-day tasks might become challenging and unsafe. Therefore, if you find that you’re feeling abnormally clumsy, take an extra nap or two to get your energy levels back up and make sure you are well-rested. Most importantly, don’t drive or operate heavy machinery while tired. Research has shown that fatigue when driving is as dangerous as drunk driving, and 24 hours without sleep is equivalent to having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.10%, twice the legal limit.
Your Mood is all Over the Place
While it’s normal for our moods to fluctuate throughout the day, if you’re constantly feeling irritable, anxious or depressed, lack of sleep could be the culprit. Sleep deprivation can wreak havoc on our emotions because it compromises our ability to manage stress and regulate our mood. When we don’t receive enough REM (rapid eye movement) sleep – a type of light dream-filled slumber that helps our minds to restore from everyday stressors – managing emotions can become exceedingly difficult. As a result, you may be prone to mood swings and heightened negative emotions.
By recognising this sign, you can make the necessary adjustments to prioritise better sleep and improve your mental well-being. REM sleep occurs mostly at the end of your sleep, so make sure you are getting enough sleep to include the light REM sleep period. If you’re looking for an excuse to sleep in – this might just be it!
You’ve Got all the Aches and Pains
Are aches and pains turning up even when you haven’t been hitting the gym hard? It could be another sign that you’re not sleeping enough. If you are getting unexplained gentle pain in your body it can mean that you are not getting enough non-REM sleep. We already talked about the importance of REM sleep for your emotions – non-REM sleep is the key to a healthy body. During this part of sleep, our body is repairing from the day.
When it comes to aches and pains, the quality of your sleep is just as important as the quantity. Optimise your sleep environment and sleep hygiene practices to improve the quality of your sleep. This includes checking your mattress and pillow are right for you.
If you suspect your pains may be more than just a lack of sleep, it’s best to consult with your doctor or another healthcare professional as soon as possible.
You’re Feeling ‘Under the Weather’
We’ve already established the fact that our bodies repair themselves while we’re sleeping. But if we’re not getting enough rest, the proteins released to strengthen our immune systems don’t go to work, making us more susceptible to illness. Whether you’re always feeling a bit off or you are catching an illness like the flu over and over again, sleep can help.
As we slumber soundly, our bodies are hard at work releasing proteins that protect and strengthen our immune systems. A healthy diet or supplements can help boost your wellness, but it won’t prevent sleep deprivation from taking its toll on your body.
Our bodies are complex machines that need proper maintenance and care – and that includes a sufficient amount of sleep. Even though modern life may relegate rest to the back burner, it’s important to stay tuned to the signals our body is sending us. By paying attention to these surprising signs and being honest with ourselves about how well-rested we feel, we can prioritise our well-being and ensure our day-to-day lives are infused with optimal energy, focus, and health. Make a conscious effort to respect your body’s needs and create a sleep schedule that helps you feel your absolute best. Sweet dreams!
Please note: This article is not to be used as medical advice. If you have any questions about your sleep health, speak to your doctor. This post may contain affiliate links.
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