Loss of sleep messing with your mind?
You know you're supposed to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night, but sometimes, you stay up for a night out on the town, to finish a project at work or even just to binge on Netflix. We get it. We've all been there – a late night here and there won't have any lasting effects beyond the fatigue you feel the next day. It's when you skimp on sleep night after night that it becomes a real problem. Though you may think your 5 hours a night habit is nothing to worry about, chronic sleep deprivation has been tied to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and depression.
Think about your routine the last couple of days. If you answer yes to the following you might need to rethink the amount of snooze time you’re getting:
- Unknowingly forgetting your keys, computer or other daily essentials
- Feeling overly emotional when you’re usually put together
- Recently became a night owl – sleeping 5 to 6 hours per night
If yes sprung to your mind reading these statements, it’s time to dig into your daily life and figure out how you can add hours to your sleep routine for a more productive and sane day.
5 symptoms of sleep deprivation during your day
- You act silly at breakfast
Your brain is having trouble telling you how to behave, so you're more reactive to stimuli from your surroundings. The sun seems so bright and cheerful, the coffee tastes better than normal and that cat going nuts with the empty cereal box is just hilarious.
What you can do: Without sleep, you lose the ability to regulate your emotions, which means your moods can swing from goofy to grouchy within seconds. Going back to sleep isn’t an option at this point so it’s crucial to eat a balanced, healthy breakfast and avoid caffeine. Try a delish smoothie or muffin to power up your day.
- You have trouble remembering things and making it through the door before it closes
Simple tasks, done in sequence and under a time limit, is a fine test of your motor skills and coordination – some of the first things to go when you skimp on shut-eye. In a 2010 study, researchers at the University of Arizona found that a person who has gone for even one night without sleep is about as impaired on early morning hand-eye coordination as someone who has a blood alcohol level of .10 percent, also known as legally drunk.
What you can do: Doing a quick workout, such as yoga or a short jog will release toxins from your body and get you going for the day. Exercising first thing in the morning will energize you for a productive day and prepare you for a good night’s sleep when it’s time to go back to bed.
- You’re a hot emotional mess all day
Watch out, coworkers, spouses and innocent bystanders: Weakened emotion-regulating systems may make it hard for you to control and express your feelings. For example, if someone criticizes you, it may upset you more than usual and you'll be more likely to say or do something you'll regret. Research from Harvard Medical School showed that sleep-deprived individuals appear to be more easily frustrated, intolerant, unforgiving, less caring and more self-focused than when fully rested. In other words, you're acting like a jerk.
What you can do: According to the National Sleep Foundation, “Insomnia is very common among depressed patients. Let your family and friends know how they can help and if it gets to a point where you can’t control it yourself any longer, contact a sleep doctor or professional therapist.
- Your immune system is acting up
Dear Immune System, You had one job – to keep the diseases away. If you keep getting colds and always feel like garbage, lack of sleep might be to blame. Need proof? In one study, healthy people were injected with a common cold virus. Those who slept less than 7 hours of sleep each night the week before were 3 times more likely to develop cold symptoms compared to those who slept 8 hours or more.
What you can do: Fighting off sickness is all about preparation. Try these hacks before the symptoms start to takeover:
- Enjoy a hot cup of tea before bed
- Avoid alcohol while feeling sick, especially if on antibiotics
- Stick to your nightly routine
- A second wind hits you at 9:00 pm
Do you ever tell yourself, “Tonight I’ll be in bed by 9:30 pm?” But 9:30 rolls around and you feel fine so you continue to get things done – but then end up going to bed after midnight with only 6 hours of sleep. Your body’s level of melatonin has peaked because you have been on a regular sleep schedule causing you to stay awake.
What you can do: Set a time to go to bed each night and stick to it. Remember to shut off all of your devices, set a cool temperature and turn off all the lights.
Don’t let the loss of sleep keep you down. It’s about the small victories. Strive for 7 hours of sleep tonight and work your way back into routine. You can thank us later – sweet dreams!
This blog was originally published on Restonic.com and does not provide medical advice. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on Restonic.com. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.