Let's face it, we're not meant for healthy living. I mean, where's the time for it all? Endless meetings, hectic workdays and innumerable errands keep us on our toes all day. And even when we're apparently resting, our brain is working on an overdrive creating to-do lists for the next day. No wonder we can't sleep at night! I know what you must be thinking - "It's a little shut-eye after all, how much harm can it do, if I miss some of it?"
A lot, actually! There's a reason why doctors and health experts insist that we give our bodies the basic 8 hours of rest. But you don't have to listen to doctors, your body alone will show signs that you need to catch up on your sleep soon. Here are 8 of those potent signs.
1. You have no handle on your emotions.
Are you erupting like Mt. Vesuvius in one moment and chuckling madly in the next? No, you're not bipolar, but you sure could do with some sleep. Studies show that people who get less than the adequate amount of sleep at night are prone to irritable behaviour, mood swings and general pessimism too.
2. You've begun to look pudgier than before.
No, it's not the slice of cake that you binged on the night before. It's the perpetual munching that you've been doing. The truth is that your hunger cannot be appeased and there's a fantastic explanation for that. Studies show that if you don't sleep enough, the amount of leptin (a hormone that curbs hunger) is lowered, giving full way for ghrelin (the hormone that makes you want to eat everything) to attack your senses. Talk about a bad combination! Now if that isn't food for thought, I don't know what is.
3. You skin is like a Jackson Pollock painting, but with acne. Lots of it.
If you wake up in the morning with a cluster of acne covering your nose, chin and cheeks, it's not just your teenage years that have come back to haunt you. It's the definitive lack of sleep that has been wreaking havoc on your skin. Poor sleeping habits can make the skin look less firm and hydrated thus more prone to breaking out.
4. Your libido is at an all time low.
You want to coochie-coo with your partner, but nothing seems to get you fired up. It's not really your partner's problem, you know! Sleep experts attribute low sex drives to the low levels of testosterone in sleep-deprived males.
5. Your decision-making skills are so off that it's not even funny anymore!
Struggling with choices on a daily basis might not sound like a big deal. But if I were to tell you that sleep deprivation causes lesser blood flow to your pre-frontal cortex (you know, the part of the brain that helps you make those "do or die" based decisions?) then maybe I will have your undivided attention. Studies show that prolonged deprivation has led to serious brain damage. Scary, isn't it?
6. You're the paragon of health. NOT!
Does it feel like every other illness is on a permanent vacation in your immune system? You tend to sail from one affliction to the other so much that you just cannot recall being healthy. Those 8 precious hours of sleep at night are crucial to your body's internal maintenance mechanism. That is when your body recovers from the wear and tear of the day and prepares itself for the next. So what happens if you don't let it have its magical recovery time? Your immune system gives up, rendering it absolutely weak against diseases.
7. Your memory isn't what it used to be. *sighs*
If you cannot remember where you last saw your phone, it's a little too premature to begin fearing it's amnesia. However, sleep deprivation might just be the root of this problem. When you deprive your brain of sleep, it grows too tired to take in important details that it needs to make a memory. Long term effects include hallucinations and significant memory impairment. Yikes!
8. You're clumsy, AF!
Tripping over things in plain sight is normal when it happens once in a while, but when you start doing it a little too often, it might be time to seek help. When you're sleep deprived, there's a lapse in your neurological functions. That means low levels of focus and lowered reaction time. So when tumbles come often and come hard, it might be time to hit the hay!
So are you seeing any of these signs? Time for you to check out how sleep deprived you really are. Use the Sleep-O-Meter at www.sleepat10.com to get your Sleep Score. Get tips on how to develop a regular sleeping pattern and make sleep your ally. Sleep better to live better!