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12 signs of sleep deprivation symptoms

The Signs Of Sleep Deprivation Can Be Far Worse Than Excessive Yawning—Here’s What To Look For, And How To Recover.

When was the last time you woke up feeling like you’d absolutely gotten enough sleep? (Still thinking?) Adults need 7 or more hours a night—and according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 1 in 3 Americans just aren’t getting it. You might try to bank extra sleep on weekends to repay a sleep debt from earlier in the week—and it might make you feel better in the short term. But a continued lack of sleep can wreak havoc on your health and sleep deprivation symptoms are no fun to deal with.

Sleep is your body’s time to restore and renew. Without it, your brain can’t process the sensory information it receives constantly as you go about your day. It’s no wonder that lack of sleep is a common cause for car and other accidents. Signs of sleep deprivation symptoms can be life-threatening and should not be overlooked.

Ongoing sleep deprivation symptoms include chronic daytime drowsiness, poor performance at work, depression, and nervousness, and even obesity. Not sure if you’re truly sleep deprived, or just need a few extra Zzzs tonight? Here are some of the common signs of sleep deprivation symptoms.

1. You don’t feel awake. At. All.

Exhausted, wiped out, half-awake—no matter what you call it, fatigue is the most obvious and common sign of sleep deprivation. You’d expect such a profound feeling of tiredness to make it easier to fall asleep once your head hits the pillow, but for some people, lying in bed waiting… and waiting… and waiting to fall asleep may in fact be the source of your sleep deprivation. The length of time it takes to fall asleep is called the sleep latency period, and people who have a long sleep latency take longer to fall asleep. While only detectable in a sleep study, long sleep latency can be the underlying cause of excessive daytime sleepiness and sleep deprivation symptoms.

2. You’re hungry all the time.

“When the mind isn’t getting the energy it requires from sleep, it’ll frequently attempt to get it from food,” says Chris Winter, MD, of Charlottesville Neurology and Sleep Medicine in Virginia. Running on very little rest may raise the body’s production of the “hunger hormone” ghrelin, making you hungrier than usual.  Lack of sleep can also reduce the production of leptin, the hormone that regulates satiety (your feeling of fullness). So you feel less full, hungrier—and in search of an energy boost. We think you know where this is headed…

3. You’re gaining weight.

One of the most unattractive signs of sleep deprivation. When you’re tired, Winter explains, your body seeks foods that will make you feel more alert. You might find yourself reaching for sweets and candy, which are high in glucose, the brain’s favored fuel source—even if you don’t normally touch the stuff. Eat these high-calorie, low-nutrient foods too frequently and you might notice the numbers on the scale start to climb. Furthermore, according to a study published in Sleep Medicine Reviews, sleep deprivation can lower your glucose metabolism, making you more susceptible to insulin resistance, a known factor for type-2 diabetes and another likely contributor to weight gain.

4. You’re unusually impulsive.

“People tend to behave irrationally when they are overly exhausted,” says Gail Saltz, MD, a professor of psychiatry at New York-Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City. “Your capacity to express, ‘No, I shouldn’t have another candy bar,’ shrinks.” With your cognitive function impaired from lack of sleep, you may find yourself acting impulsively in many ways, from ranting at a coworker to lashing out at your partner.

5. You’re having trouble remembering things.

Can’t find your keys? Don’t remember what movie you watched last Friday? Forgot to pay the phone bill? Before you start worrying about a bigger memory issue, consider your sleep habits. When we sleep, our memories get catalogued in our brains. Without sleep, your ability to recall events, facts, and life’s little details is compromised.

6. Decision-making is harder than usual.

Inadequate sleep messes with your ability to perform crucial functions. Duties involving time management and problem-solving can become much more challenging when you’re sleep deprived. In fact, different studies have found that lack of sleep negatively impacts split-second decision making as well as cognitive flexibility—the ability to change your thinking based on new information.

7. You seem to be tripping over things more often.

Tripping up (or down) the stairs. Walking into a doorway. Putting a glass down on the counter—but catching the edge instead. If this happens to you often, take a look at your sleep schedule. “When you’re tired, there is a lapse in the way you neurologically function generally,” Winter says. Because you have slower reaction times, something as basic as walking up a staircase could be more of a challenge than you’d expect.

8. You’re overly emotional.

Though you might expect your emotions to become as dulled as your sense of balance and grace (see above) after sleepless nights, in fact the opposite is true. Studies show that the emotional center of your brain goes into overdrive, potentially making you overly reactive to situations that otherwise might never have bothered you. A deadline at work or even a particularly dramatic film can suddenly provoke profound anger, sadness, or anxiety. What’s more, sleep deprivation in its extreme may lead to some disturbing psychological symptoms, including paranoia, hallucinations, and disorientation. The occurrence and intensity of these reactions are often correlated with the degree to which you are sleep deprived.

Sleeping Well Is the Key to Overall Wellness

Good sleep habits are crucial to your mental and physical health. Aim for 7 or more hours a night, and create a soothing bedtime ritual, such as taking an all-natural supplement on the occasions you need it. RECHARGE HEALTH blissful sleep contains magnesium, l-theanine, valerian root extract and other organic herbs to promote a good night’s rest.

9. You’re getting sick more often.

Sleep deprivation reduces your immune system’s ability to fight off or recover from illnesses. Sleep helps regulates the immune system, and without it, your body is functioning with a deficiency. What’s worse, prolonged sleep deprivation triggers an inflammatory response. If left unchecked, it could lead to chronic inflammation, which may increase a risk of certain cancers or autoimmune diseases and rheumatoid arthritis.

10. Your vision seems off.

Skimping on sleep affects your eyesight in a bunch of ways. Lack of sleep is a common cause of eye spasms or twitches, as well as dry eye—which in turn may cause your eyes to burn and itch, and your vision to blur.

11. Your skin looks dull.

There’s a reason it’s called “beauty sleep.” Your skin restores and repairs itself while you sleep—it’s why night creams work so well. But when you’re not getting ample rest, your skin doesn’t have time to fix damaged tissues. Skin can appear drier, have a rougher texture, and can even break out in pimples or eczema. Additionally, sleep deprivation speeds up the breakdown of collagen and elastin, resulting in wrinkles and sagging skin.

12. Your body aches.

Generalized feelings of pain can result from sleep deprivation: Because you’re not sleeping well, you begin to ache, and in turn, because you ache, you can’t sleep—it’s a vicious circle. Sleep deprivation can also cause other specific symptoms, such as gastrointestinal concerns like an upset stomach or diarrhea, and is associated with fibromyalgia or chronic pain (once again, inflammation plays a part here). Though these symptoms may not be caused solely by lack of sleep, they could be unrecognized signs of sleep deprivation. If you think you may be sleep deprived, talk to your doctor or a certified sleep physician. Sleep deprivation symptoms go well beyond a few days of sluggishness. Recognizing the signs of sleep deprivation can help you avoid any serious consequences—and will prompt you to correct your sleep pattern for better overall health.