Everyone had times when they were sleep deprived. Whether you’re a student studying for your finals or a new parent, not having enough sleep is something everyone can relate to. However, some people lack sleep far beyond the typical arc.
These sets of people are sleep deprived and what makes them different from everyone else is time. They’ve gone so long without adequate rest that they are experiencing long-lasting effects, like having a hangover every weekend until every day feels like a hangover.
How do you know when you’re sleep deprived? We’ve broken down the symptoms for you.
Here are seven red flags that prove you’re sleep deprived.
You Can’t Remember What You Had For Breakfast
Granted, most of us can’t remember what we had for breakfast a few days ago and maybe even today. But, the impact of sleep deprivation on memory retention is more profound than the usual arc of forgetfulness. If you’re beginning to forget things as soon as you note them or realize your memory is terrible, it could be a sign of sleep deprivation.
Over time, sleep deprivation causes significant memory loss. Sleep is a crucial part of growth and repair. When you get enough sleep, the brain synthesizes protein in the hippocampus, which controls cognitive function and memory. This protein synthesis doesn’t happen when the body is exhausted from sleeplessness.
In addition to that, sleep deprivation causes oxidative stress, which affects memory retention and the ability to learn.
So, if you’ve been increasingly forgetful these days, perhaps you need to sleep more.
You’re Racking Up Numbers On The Scale
Two things that go hand-in-glove with sleep deprivation are increased appetite and weight gain. Even if you’re functioning on little sleep, significant weight gain over a period might indicate that you’re damaging your body.
When you don’t sleep, the brain requires energy to keep working and to get it, it calls for the secretion of the hunger hormone ghrelin. This is the culprit for late-night cravings and middle-of-the-night binge eating.
Producing significant amounts of ghrelin isn’t where it ends. The body also doesn’t produce enough of the satiety hormone, leptin. These two opposing forces result in you overeating unhealthy food and snacks.
Consistent sleep deprivation makes the calories rack up, and the next thing you know, your jeans aren’t buttoning anymore.
You Look Like You’ve Gone Through The Wringer
Because you have.
Sleep deprivation shows on the skin. Asides from the perpetual eye bags that are the furthest things from attractive, you just look fatigued. In case you know what to look for, you can spot a person who isn’t getting enough rest because they look it.
Eye bags, dull skin, wrinkles, droopy corners of the mouth, saggy or puffy eyelids, puffy face, etc. These are a few symptoms of sleep deprivation that show on the skin.
Note that skincare products might marginally make you look better, but they’re only a bandaid. The solution is to fix your circadian rhythm and develop healthier sleep. You can use those common white noise apps or other sleep aid apps to help with your sleep.
You Struggle To Hold Thoughts
Mental clarity is one of the first things to go when you’re sleep deprived. Everything feels like it’s happening from a distance, and you struggle to articulate information and thoughts.
Taking decisions at work and even at home become an arduous task. Lack of sleep means your brain isn’t producing the grey matter needed for the hippocampus to function at heightened levels.
Your Clumsiness Is Past The Adorable Stage
Let’s face it. Clumsiness can be a tad adorable, but it could be a sign of sleep deprivation when you stumble into things too often.
A study in 2014 showed that severe sleep deprivation led to low reaction time and an inability to concentrate on any tasks, including motor movements. So, although you’ve seen the stairs, your brain and limbs aren’t coordinated, so by the time you’ve raised your foot, it’s too late, and you stumble over the stairs. Another sign you’re sleep deprived is being more clumsy than usual.
You Get Colds Too Often
Sleep is essential to the body’s functions. Many activities can’t happen when the body isn’t asleep. If you deprive your body of sleep, these activities won’t occur, and you might experience complications.
One of these activities is cytokine synthesis which protects the body against inflammation and other attacks. The body repairs itself when you’re asleep, so when you don’t get enough sleep, it doesn’t repair, and that compromises the body’s immune system.
A study on 164 healthy men and women in 2015 showed a connection between the number of hours they slept and their susceptibility to the common cold virus.
While you may not fall sick every two days, if you fall sick, it could take you a good while before you recover.
You’re Acting Without Thinking
Impulsive behaviour is another one of the signs of sleep deprivation. When you’re exhausted, you tend to act without thinking your actions through. What this looks like is being so irritated that you’re throwing things or shouting at the people close to you. But it doesn’t only manifest in aggressive behaviour when you’re mad.
You may also be impulsive with your spending, purchasing things you don’t necessarily need. Just like I mentioned above, you may have a bedtime eating healthy and with appropriately sized portions.
Sleep is super important – for growth, core body activities, the skin, and even the immune system. Not getting enough sleep could be compromising your body in serious ways. So, even though sleep deprivation is a staple of the hustling culture, it’s essential you get between the recommended seven and nine hours of sleep every night.