We all need to get enough sleep to function well. Most of us need at least 7 hours of non-interrupted sleep every night. Our body uses the sleep function to go to work repairing itself. So, when there’s insufficient sleep, it starts to breakdown, affecting the immune system or repair work like healing skin abrasions and more serious health issues too.
The balance of chemicals that each perform a role in the body’s functionality is also not allowed to rebalance overnight when the quality of sleep is poor. Over time, this can cause related problems. Also, during sleep, the day’s events are linked to previous life experiences through making connections in the mental pathways. The brain’s memory center is then updated to include the last day’s activities. With insufficient sleep, many of these activities are badly affected.
Here are 5 signs that you’re not getting enough quality sleep.
1. Memory Problems
If you don’t normally experience short or long-term memory problems, but you have begun to do so, then it could be due to sleep deprivation. Not being able to remember events from a few days ago is a clear sign that you might not be sleeping long enough.
Consider what the causes of lack of sleep might be. This could include poor sleeping posture or a sleeping environment that’s not dark or quiet enough. Also, if you snore or your partner snores, this could be waking you up too. In which case, fixing your snoring will help by looking into sleep aids, such as mouth strips.
2. Repeated Bouts of Sickness
If you’re someone with a decent immune system, then you don’t usually pick up the cold or flu going around. Even if you do, you probably don’t get it too badly and it goes away quicker that other people.
However, if you find that sickness has become a far more common thing that you’re living with, then it could be a sign of not getting sufficient REM sleep. Your immune system gets rundown when you don’t let your body rest. During your sleep cycle, the body produces substances that act to protect against infections, virus and bacteria. This doesn’t happen as well when you are sleep deprived.
3. Digestive Changes
Not getting enough sleep can cause you to put on weight. This is because the amount of sleep changes how much leptin or ghrelin hormones are released. The former tells your body when you feel sated and should stop eating. The latter is a stimulant to encourage you to eat more.
When you don’t sleep enough, leptin is reduced, and ghrelin is increased naturally. It’s possible this corelates to eating at night when staying up late. The weight gain comes into play with increased calorie consumption. Also, a lack of sleep reduces energy levels, making it harder to stay active and keep the calories off.
4. Hormonal Imbalance
The production of hormones is linked to your sleep pattern. It’s necessary to get at least 3 hours of sleep to enter the REM cycle.
Testosterone doesn’t get produced well until you are safely in the REM cycle, so interrupted sleep badly affects the hormonal balance in your body the longer it continues.
If you find yourself yawning halfway through the afternoon, or you’re generally feeling lethargic even when you’ve fueled up with a good meal and adequate H2O, then you may be suffering due to not enough hours with your head on a pillow.
You never really “catch up” with your sleep per se, but you certainly can sleep more to let your body totally rest if you’re exhausted. Make sure your phone is blocking out blue light using an app and prepare your bedroom with close to complete darkness to sleep more deeply.
Sleep deprivation is very real. It can even cause accidents when falling asleep at the wheel. So, we’d recommend taking it seriously and ensuring you get plenty of shut eye every night.