Did you know that the average adult does not get the appropriate amount of rest each night? Sure, there are a lot of reasons for this, but failing to identify and resolve the problem could lead to countless sleepless nights and a number of physical and emotional health issues. These health issues could ultimately lead to problems in your personal and professional life.
A night or two of disturbed or limited rest may not have much of an impact, but if these patterns continue, you’ll start to feel it from the inside out. Below is a closer look at signs that you’re not getting enough sleep.
Obviously, if you’re not sleeping well at night, you’re going to be tired throughout the day. You might find yourself falling asleep at the most inopportune times. Unfortunately, however, no matter how many naps you take, you still feel drained from head to toe.
Crankiness or Irritability
Lack of sleep really gets your emotions and hormones out of whack. If you’re not getting enough sleep you’ll likely have a short attention span which causes you to be cranky or irritable.
Depression or Anxiety
When you’re asleep, your body reduces the stress hormone also known as cortisol. If, however, sleep seems to evade you, then your stress levels are higher causing your body to go into fight or flight mode. Before long, you can start to feel depressed or anxious (which also makes it hard for you to go to sleep).
Sleep can also have an impact on your appetite. Studies have shown that those who get fewer than 7 hours of sleep each night are more likely to struggle with weight gain and obesity. This is because your body releases hormones that regulate your appetite. This, then, causes an increased appetite for unhealthy foods.
Weakened Immune System
If you find that you’re catching colds often or take longer to recover from common illnesses, this could be a sign that you’re not getting enough sleep. It is when you’re asleep that your body can strengthen your immune system and produce cytokines to help you fight off infections or illnesses.
What to Do About It
As you can see from above, not getting enough sleep can impact you both physically and emotionally. If you’re having trouble getting some rest, here is a bit of advice.
- Talk to Your Doctor – There are certain health conditions that can impact your ability to sleep. So, before trying anything, it is best to talk to your doctor. Explain what’s going on, ask any questions you have, and schedule lab work and screenings to rule out or get treatment for your health problems.
- Use Sleep Aids – Just as a baby might sleep better at night with the soothing sensation of their pacifier, stuffed animal, or blanket, some adults need sleep aids to fall and stay asleep. If you struggle with anxiety, a YNM blanket might help to ease your fears. If going to sleep in a quiet room is challenging, listening to white noise or soothing music might help you get the shuteye you need.
- Watch What You Eat (and Drink) – Trying to fall asleep on a full stomach is nearly impossible. Certain foods also cause digestive issues that make you uncomfortable. The same is true for drinks as beverages like coffee and caffeinated soda are stimulants that are designed to keep you awake. Try to reduce your consumption of these foods and drinks before bed and allow a few hours for everything to digest before turning in for the night.
- Reduce the Stress in Your Life – Too much stress keeps you awake. Though it can be difficult at times, it is necessary for you to reduce the stress in your life for improved sleep. Whether that means getting organized with systems and routines, enlisting the help of others to lighten your personal or professional load, or going to counseling to resolve a personal matter, it can greatly improve your chances of getting the required amount of sleep.
Getting quality sleep is imperative to your physical and emotional wellbeing. With all the problems that could arise from not getting 7-9 hours of good sleep, it is essential that you make sleep apart of your daily self-care routine. If you’re having difficulties, remember to consult your doctor and then try some of the suggestions provided above.