Few things feel worse than not getting enough sleep. You wake up with a day full of things to do, but no physical or mental energy to get them done. We’ve all been there, and we all hope that we never go there again.
The average adult needs at least 7 hours of sleep a night in order to fully function. Any less than that, and you won’t be your best self. The occasional bad night’s sleep won’t do any serious damage, but if you make sleeping less than 7 hours a night a habit, you risk running into a bunch of problems including weight gain, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and even depression.
You may be in denial about the amount of sleep you’re getting, and trying to convince yourself that it’s enough, so today we’re sharing the telltale signs that you’re sleep-deprived and you need to change your sleep habits ASAP.
6 Signs You Need More Sleep
1. You can’t concentrate
If you find yourself all over the place while trying to work, unable to focus on one task at a time, it may be caused by a lack of sleep. Even one night of bad sleep can cause your concentration to be less than ideal, and if that sleep deprivation continues over a period of time, your concentration suffers even more.
2. You’re bloated
Studies have shown that there is a direct correlation between a lack of sleep and gastrointestinal issues. When you don’t get enough sleep, your gut becomes inflamed, which can lead to bloating in the immediate, as well as in the long-term.
3. You have mood swings
Have you noticed that you’re often more irritable when you don’t get enough sleep? You’re not alone. Participants of a University of Pennsylvania study were only allowed 4.5 hours of sleep per night for a week, and the results showed that they were “more stressed, angry, sad, and mentally exhausted.” When the participants returned to the normal 7 or more hours of sleep per night, their moods improved.
4. You have cravings
When you don’t get enough sleep, your brain doesn’t have the energy it needs to function. So, your body reaches for that extra energy by creating food cravings. When you’re tired, your body isn’t able to properly regulate your appetite so you find yourself more hungry.
5. You fall asleep easily
Some people seem as if they got lucky and can fall asleep as soon as they close their eyes. However, it’s more likely that those who fall asleep quickly do so because they’re not getting enough sleep. If you find that taking a nap in the middle of the day is no problem for you, then chances are good you need more sleep at night.
6. You sleep in later
If you spend your week with a lack of sleep, staying up late and waking up early, by the time the weekend rolls around, you are more prone to sleeping in later. Your body takes advantage of the opportunity to catch those extra zzzs when it can, which can throw your sleep schedule for a loop when Monday comes around again.
How to Get More Sleep
Now that you know what signs to watch out for, it’s time to find a solution for your sleep problems.
Here are the best ways to get more sleep.
- Don’t drink caffeine past noon
- Start winding down for the night early
- Limit screentime before bed (try to stop looking at screens at least an hour before you plan to go to sleep)
- Relax before going to bed – meditate, take a bath, read a book, etc.
- Reduce stress